A contrast in styles: Protesting energy policies in New York, Colorado

If it seems like it was just a few months ago when Xcel Energy was asking for a nearly $160 million rate increase – and drawing polite protests like the one pictured here in downtown Denver – that’s because it was. Now the state’s largest utility is back, asking the PUC for another rate hike of nearly $180 million.

Most of that would cover the new Comanche 3 coal-fired power plant near Pueblo, but, initially at least, some of it was targeted to cover lavish board dinners and luxury spa retreats. These protests might not have been so polite had that information been a more widely disseminated last spring.

Xcel protest, Denver, 3/11/2009 (Photo: Doug Grinbergs)

Xcel protest, Denver, 3/11/2009 (Photo: Doug Grinbergs)

That’s the difference between Coloradans and, say, New Yorkers, who are always claiming we’re too damned mellow. Compare and contrast, for instance, a Glenwood Springs hearing on natural gas drilling Monday and a similar “meeting” in New York City the next day.

According to ProPublica, “it didn’t take long for a New York City public hearing on natural gas drilling to descend into near chaos. Just seconds after the first speaker took the microphone at the Department of Environmental Conservation’s hearing, a man in a suit and tie jumped onto the stage and yelled, ‘We want a statewide ban! The gas drilling is dangerous!’”

Ah, to be in a New York state of mind.

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About the Author

David O. Williams

is an award-winning reporter who has covered energy, environmental and political issues for years. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. He's founder of Real Vail
and Real Aspen.

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