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Tough new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules limiting mercury, lead and other toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants were met with widespread praise from previously demoralized environmental groups on Wednesday.
Last session, arguably the most critical piece of environmental legislation passed by Colorado lawmakers was the landmark Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act, which mandated the shuttering of several Front Range coal-fired power plants and conversion of others to natural gas or renewable energy sources. This session, the legislature just completed the final step in implementing the law that was so bitterly opposed by Colorado’s coal industry last year.
Colorado’s coal industry is on fire lately, going after natural gas producers with gusto in the wake of last year’s controversial Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act, which requires Xcel Energy to convert several coal-fired power plants on Colorado’s Front Range over to natural gas or alternative fuel sources such as wind and solar.
Democrats differ widely on whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should be able to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as a form of air pollution under the Clean Air Act, and the rift seems to be mostly geographical and based on how much coal a state contains.