Denver EPA meeting Tues and Wed already full with speakers

With its first-ever plan to reduce carbon emissions through power plants, the Environmental Protection Agency’s nationwide public hearings this week are expected to be jam-packed, especially in Denver where environmentalists and energy groups alike have signed on to comment at the event.

In Denver, the EPA anticipates 1,600 people will comment Tuesday and Wednesday during the meeting at the Region 8 building at 1595 Wynkoop St. in LoDo. Three other cities — Washington D.C., Atlanta and Pittsburgh — will also host meetings. According to the EPA, Denver, Atlanta and Washington are already full and will allow no further people to comment.

The Clean Power Plan, announced in June, would limit carbon emissions substantially by 2030. To achieve this goal, the EPA is planning to work closely with states, which all have different energy policies.

According to the plan released by the EPA, Colorado will be expected to lower CO2 output by about 35 percent to 1,108 pounds of carbon in 2030, compared to levels in 2005.

Many in Colorado believe the state is already on track to reach this mark because of past clean air initiatives passed by the state and because of local support. According to Kim Stephens, from Environment Colorado, the EPA plan is building off of nearly 10 years of work in Colorado towards clean energy.

“We really applaud the EPA for responding by reining in unlimited carbon pollution,” Stephens said.

Others in more rural communities however, see the proposal as a detriment that could hinder small economies that are dependent on power plants and carbon emitting energy.

Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid, who worked at a coal-fired power plant in Craig for over 30 years, said that the proposal would have lasting effects on the local economy in part because power plants and coal mines pay the most tax money to Moffat County and in other surrounding areas such as Routt County.

“(There) would be dire consequences economically for northwest Colorado if the regulations go through for existing power plants,” said Kinkaid who will be speaking at the Denver event at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Kinkaid expects over 100 people from Moffat County to attend the event on Tuesday, and also participate in a pro-coal rally later in the day. in Lincoln park. The rally will be co-hosted by Americans For Prosperity.

Besides energy supporters, many environmental groups will be represented at the event. According to the Sierra Club, speakers from non-profits, businesses and environmental groups from Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana and Arizona will attend.

Earlier in the summer many pushed to have the EPA host the meetings somewhere the proposal would have a substantial impact. Kinkaid led the front to have the meetings hosted in Moffat County by getting support from U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton and Senators Udall and Bennet to write letters to the EPA asking them for a change of venue.

However, the EPA decided to hold two days of meetings instead, Kinkaid said.

[Photo of Martin Drake coal-fired power plant in Colorado Springs in 2011 by Clark via Flickr/Creative Commons license.]


  1. Here’s the comment I’m presenting tonight:

    EPA Testimony
    Jeff Neuman-Lee
    July 29, 2014

    My name is Jeff Neuman-Lee. I am a resident of Denver, Colorado and a pastor in the faith of Jesus Christ.

    As a document that addresses the real, physical reality of our greenhouse gas pollution, the EPA paper proposing standards for the reduction of electrical generation is a failure. The EPA goal of nationally reducing those CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030 gambles with our actual world climate situation. If these goals are fully enacted as stated, without radical improvement, there is great possibility that we doom our children to a hot, chaotic, global-civilization-threatening climate.
    Where does this 30% reduction number come from? That 30% is the number which may, in combination with other White House actions such as changes to the mileage of cars help the United States reduce its greenhouse gases by 17% by 2020 as the President promised in 2009. But where does that 17% number come from? As far as I can see it is a number based simplistically on what CO2 might do on its own without regard to other systemic multiplier effects. This supposes the adequacy of a trajectory toward a world-wide 80% reduction of CO2 by 2050.
    These numbers are highly risky. We are betting that we know more than we do. They might be too aggressive, but with the climate changes we have so far experienced, it seems that they frivolously gamble with our future.
    At the same time, the document doubles down on the greenhouse gas advantages of natural gas. However, the advantages of burning natural gas over burning coal, while well documented, may be utterly negated by fugitive methane.
    At the same time, the 17% by 2020 goal neglects the several pressures that are now put upon our oceans by the continued release of greenhouse gas.
    NREL has demonstrated that using current technology we can move to an 80% reduction of greenhouse gases in our electrical generation. Since the technology is now at hand, the time-line becomes one not of development, but of speed of deployment. With new technologies arriving with regularity, and the costs of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions decreasing, in some cases even below the subsidized rates of the fossil fuels they are replacing, deployment will be initially disruptive, but wealth enhancing for generations to come.
    While nothing is sure, we should aggressively work with current and new technology to end the use of fossil fuels for the generation of electricity by 2030. Let me reiterate: that’s 100% by 2030. As more and more of our transportation sector is fueled by electricity, that sector also will become more green. There would be hurdles, of course, but with such an aggressive goal, we will move farther and first to create the new energy technology. We can do this, we are the United States of America.

    What political mechanism should be used to make the real necessary changes?
    Given our cultural DNA, the government sets a course and creates space for the markets to do their thing. The best way to do that is to institute a tax on greenhouse gases, ramping up to include all of their costs to society.
    At the same time it has been demonstrated that the subsidies for fossil fuels dwarf the subsidies for the cleaner, more efficient energies. EPA should recommend that all Federal subsidies should be stopped for fossil fuels.
    EPA should mandate that states plan to end their use of fossil fuels by 2050.
    The reality is that fossil fuels are poison, we have put enough into our world system, any extra simply leads to increased tragedy for future generations. EPA is there to protect our health and the health of the environment, it must act far more firmly than it has.

    Now, as a pastor I need to speak to the many people who claim to follow Jesus the Christ as their Lord. Jesus calls us to love our neighbor, even our enemy. This love is not simply sentimental, neither is it simply spiritual with a mutual hope for life after death. It is a real, concrete love— love based in reality.
    To deny the climate change science out of hand—without really testing it—to call it a conspiracy, is paranoid delusion and, as such, not of the God of truth. Denialism creates a false us against them, when really we are all in this together.
    Which is it? Will we followers of Jesus the Christ hand our children a stone or a fish?

    Jeff Neuman-Lee

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