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.