On the fracking moratorium
Our elected officers have an inherent duty to protect our quality of life. Water is life. On Tuesday, July 14 at 2:30 p.m., the Board of Boulder County Commissioners (BOCC) will hold a virtual public meeting. It is to consider the current “moratorium on oil and gas development applications and seismic testing in unincorporated Boulder County.” This moratorium is set to expire on July 31. There are clear environmental reasons why the BOCC should extend this moratorium, including the pollution of water by fracking fluid.
Our nation’s laws do not do enough to protect water. Ideally, the 1972 Clean Water Act (CWA) was designed to wave stop signs and halt pollution from entering our nation’s waterways. Unfortunately, in 2005, the CWA was revised and fracking was given a yield sign to pollute. This yield sign is also known as the Halliburton Loophole. Our federal government has failed to protect its citizens from water pollution caused by fracking. We need to take local action. Will we?
The announcement for the July 14 meeting of the BOCC noted that “an oil and gas operator indicated an interest in applying for a drilling permit in Boulder County.” Why? There is currently a worldwide oil glut. If the BOCC lacks the legal authority to stop further fracking of our county, then we should rewrite the laws. We should govern ourselves under the assumption that we are a part of, not apart from, nature. We should recognize the Rights of Nature as have the Ponca Nation of Oklahoma. They are also struggling with the effects of fracking.
For too long, humans consciously disconnected from other species on this planet. Time is changing. More and more of us recognize the value of reconnecting with nature and caring for other species. Encountering a deer during a hike fills us with joy. Watching a raptor soar high in the sky fills us with respect and awe. All these moments shared with wildlife are precious and delightful. They motivate more and more of us to stand up for our wildlife friends that are victims of our human created climate crisis. But what can we do? In Colorado, we can be grateful for Governor Polis’ executive order from August 2019 calling for more habitat connectivity in Colorado. Creating wildlife corridors allows wildlife to diversify its genetic pools, to move to new, healthy and welcoming territory, and to reduce fatal vehicle encounters. It is a perfect time for citizens and state legislators to take action to secure lasting and durable policies.
What we know
Here is what we know:
We know that global warming is a pandemic we are in the midst of.
We know that fossil fuel use is the cause of global warming.
We know that it is technically and economically feasible for us as a community to run our homes, vehicles and businesses on high levels (95+%) of renewable energy (wind, solar and storage).
What is hindering us as Xcel customers in pursuit of 95+% renewable energy is the archaic system of state laws and regulations governing utilities in Colorado.
We know that home rule municipalities in Colorado, such as the City of Boulder, have the constitutional right to opt out of the state-regulated monopoly utility system to form and run their own utilities.
We know that the directors and executives of Xcel have for the last decade demonstrated their ability and willingness to exploit the legal system and the regulatory system at every turn in order slow to a crawl the City of Boulder’s exercise of our constitutional right.
We know we have to keep going.
We know we have to keep fighting for our rights.
We know we have to keep fighting for our planet.
Better Colorado energy plan
Most Boulderites agree: we want low-cost clean electricity as soon as possible. Wouldn’t it be great if a Colorado utility had a plan for 95% carbon reduction by 2030?
Such a plan may be close to fruition.
The Longmont Times-Call reported that municipal utilities, Longmont, Loveland, Fort Collins and Estes Park, served by Platte River Power Authority (PRPA), announced a plan to reduce carbon emissions by 95% by reducing coal and natural gas and increasing renewable energy to generate electricity. The plan is in response to customer demand.
According to BizWest, many northern Colorado business and community leaders expressed support for PRPA. “Moving swiftly to a clean energy economy is an essential step to strengthening local economic development and improving the quality of life in Northern Colorado for … residents and businesses.”
PRPA gathered feedback from member communities on how to transition to renewable energy (RE), then developed three concrete options to achieve its goals, comparing fuel and storage costs, emissions impacts and time frames.
Especially interesting is PRPA’s Option 2, which eliminates coal-fired generation, adds renewables and storage, keeps limited natural gas back-up, and achieves 95% non-carbon generation by 2030, with only a small rate increase. This is historic.
Meanwhile, PRPA will reach 50% non-carbon electricity this year.
Boulder has a goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2030, and currently receives about 30% renewable electricity from Xcel Colorado. Xcel has a stated goal of 80% renewable electricity by 2030, but has not shared a written plan to get there.
Boulder would like to achieve emissions reduction and clean energy goals, and harness economic benefits that will soon be available to our neighbors.
If PRPA can have a 95% carbon reduction plan for 2030, then Boulder should be able to have one too, with or without Xcel.
Democracy and the child prince
If there was doubt it must be painfully clear just what we have in the White House. It’s more than a protégé — it’s Son of Vladimir Putin. By re-tweeting the “good Democrat” phrase in his pointed condemnation of looting in Minneapolis, the self-proclaimed emperor’s clothes have all fallen off. The re-tweet showed no attribution that I know of; this guy is a national executive, so he gets attention… and feeds on it.
I’m a long-time independent voter. My hope is that somehow those of African-American (and Muslim and Hispanic) ethnicity can refuse to take the bait. Anything remotely resembling a “race war” by anyone’s definition would play into his hands too well. Discouragement and intimidation of voting on the part of these citizens is quite likely, so it might be up to just us white folks to summarily kick the spoiled obstreperous brat all the way to the Keys. Make up your own acronyms.