Targeting the GOP agenda and Xcel: Colorado environmental activists surf the wave of protests

Targeting the GOP agenda and Xcel: Colorado environmental activists surf the wave of protests

Read the news these days; read about protests. Over the past weekend, Colorado environmental activists joined the movement by taking their long list of frustrations to the government’s steps in three rallies in Denver and Boulder.

On Friday, protesters rallied on the West Steps of the Capitol to decry first Black Hills Energy and more recently, Xcel Energy’s decision to reduce solar subsidies and freeze its Solar Rewards program ahead of schedule. Clean energy industry advocates say Xcel’s decision could destabilize the burgeoning solar energy market in Colorado and cost thousands of jobs.

According to Colorado Solar Industries Association(COSEIA), Colorado now holds second place in the U.S. for solar jobs per capita, with 5,300 solar jobs and over 400 solar businesses. If the PUC approves Xcel’s decision, up to 3,000 of these jobs may disappear.

At a separate two-day rally in Boulder and Denver over the weekend, 1Sky organized demonstrations of support for the Clean Air Act.

“We’re calling on our leaders to stand up to the influence of polluters who are putting profits over public health and our kid’s futures and honoring leaders who are being clean energy champions,” said Micah Parkin, Regional Organizer of 1Sky. “With the millions of dollars flowing from corporate polluters to Congress right now – we need them more than ever to publicly fight to get President Obama and leaders in Congress to side with the health and safety of Colorado’s families rather than with special interests.”

Colorado has elected many environmentally sympathetic lawmakers into the U.S. Congress with 1Sky claiming Senators Bennett and Udall and Representatives DeGette, Perlmutter and Polis as allies in the fight to maintain federal environmental regulations.

Congressman Jared Polis provided a statement read at the Boulder rally. “There’s a lot going on in politics right now: government shutdowns, budget showdowns, democratic revolutions around the world, union-busting in Wisconsin. But very little matters as much as what you’ve chosen to remind us about: Our air, and our climate, all at great risk.”

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Taran Volckhausen

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