Bill to stall closure of Xcel coal-fired power plant fizzles late in session

Lawmakers earlier this week pulled the plug on a bill aimed at stalling the closure of Xcel Energy’s aging and inefficient Cameo Station coal-fired power plant east of Grand Junction.

House Bill 1282, introduced late in the legislative session that ended Wednesday night, was sponsored by Rep. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, Rep. Laura Bradford, R-Collbran, and Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction. The Grand Junction area lawmakers were trying to buy time till a new coal mine could come online to save about 100 mining and trucking jobs, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

An Xcel Energy official told the Colorado Independent last week it was too late to keep the plant open given staffing and budgeting constraints. Expansion of the McClane Canyon Mine that supplies coal to Cameo has been held up during environmental review by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

“There’s nobody that’s said, ‘No, we don’t want to help. No, we don’t want to save these jobs,’” King told the Sentinel. “Whether it’s the governor’s office or Xcel or the mine company or the trucking company, everybody wants to find a solution. Legislation just isn’t it.”

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