Category Archives: National

Tell the Bureau of Land Management to Stop the Coal Giveaway!

12 pm to 4 pm
Listening Session from 1 pm to 3 pm
Arrive at Noon to Signup and Enjoy Lunch
Marriott Denver West 
1717 Denver West Drive, Golden, CO 80401

In recent years, the Bureau of Land Management has “leased” a ton of coal in Colorado for the price of a gumball – 25 cents ! How can we halt climate change until we stop giving away coal on our public lands?

Join Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, and other advocates as we tell the Bureau of Land Management to stop giving away coal on our public lands!

We need you to show up in person and tell BLM to:

  • Stop giving away our coal at subsidized prices.
  • Give American taxpayers a fair share of revenue from coal mined on public lands to support local education and infrastructure.
  • Include on a price on carbon in the cost of coal mined on public lands!
  • Keep it in the ground!

This is a rare opportunity to give direct feedback to the federal government on rules that haven’t changed in decades – don’t miss it!

Rural Colorado Leads the Charge for Energy Freedom

On June 25th the Denver Post reported on a huge victory for energy freedom and rural renewable power on the Western Slope of Colorado. We’ll explain what happened – and why is it so exciting.

Delta-Montrose Electric Association (Delta-Montrose), a rural electric co-operative serving 35,000 customers, sought to purchase cheap, reliable and renewable power from a small hydroelectric dam on an irrigation canal in Montrose.  That seems simple enough – provide your customers with affordable, clean power that’s right in your backyard – why not? What was standing in Delta-Montrose’s way?

Seems simple enough – provide your customers with affordable, clean power that’s right in your backyard – why not?

What stood in Delta-Montrose’s way was a contract with its wholesale power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmissionrestricting their freedom to access clean energy. Delta-Montrose buys power from the large utility Tri-State and then sells that power to its members. Tri-State’s contract confined Delta-Montrose, and the 44 other rural electric co-ops it serves, to buying  95% of their electricity from Tri-State. Even if affordable renewables were available literally right next door, these rural electric utilities couldn’t buy them.

What stood in Delta-Montrose’s way was a contract with its electric power supplier restricting their freedom to access clean energy.

So Delta-Montrose took Tri-State to court – administrative court: the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Delta-Montrose argued that federal law, the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), allowed – even compelled – them  to purchase power from the dam. You see, PURPA was written to encourage exactly the kind of power the dam provided: affordable, renewable power from a small facility.  Last week, FERC agreed, stating plainly in its decision that “the mandate of PURPA to encourage… small power production,” like the dam on the irrigation canal, “supersede[s] contractual restrictions on a utility’s ability to obtain energy” from small renewable producers.

In other words, rural co-ops must be free to power themselves with the energy resources right in their backyards, no matter what contractual obligations they might have. Freedom to access local renewables trumps other concerns, opening up a new market for clean energy.

Rural co-ops must be free to power themselves with the energy resources right in their backyards.

The implications of this ruling – and the fact that it lines up congruently with FERC’s previous decisions – are enormous for energy freedom and rural co-operatives across the West.  Whether it is hydro, wind, or solar, rural areas are home to tremendous renewable resources. They should be free to make the most of them. It is energizing to see federal regulators acknowledging and protecting that right.

Will this decision empower communities across the West to throw off their contractual shackles and to repower their communities with clean, affordable energy?  Stay tuned, and we’ll see on which energy sources the West is run.

Geology and Markets, not EPA, Waging War on Coal

With the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules limiting carbon pollution from the nation’s electricity sector, you’ve no doubt been hearing a lot of industry outrage about “Obama’s War on Coal.”

Don’t believe it.

Despite the passionate rhetoric from both sides of the climate divide, the proposed rules are very moderate — almost remedial.  The rules grade the states on a curve, giving each a tailored emissions target meant to be attainable without undue hardship.  For states that have already taken action to curb greenhouse gasses, and have more reductions in the works, they will be easy to meet.  California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado, are all several steps ahead of the proposed federal requirements — former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter told Colorado Public Radio that he expects the state to meet the proposed federal emissions target for 2030 in 2020, a decade ahead of schedule.  This isn’t to say that Colorado has particularly clean power — our state has the 10th most carbon intensive electricity in the country, with about 63% of it coming from coal — but we’ve at least started the work of transitioning.

Furthermore, many heavily coal dependent states that have so far chosen to ignore the imperatives of climate change (e.g. Wyoming, West Virginia, Kentucky) must only attain single-digit percentage reductions, and would be permitted to remain largely coal dependent all the way up to 2030.  Roger Pielke Jr. and others have pointed out that in isolation, the new rules would be expected to reduce the amount of coal we burn by only about 15%, relative to 2012 by 2020.  By 2030, we might see an 18% reduction in coal use compared to 2012.  Especially when you compare these numbers to the 25% reduction in coal use that took place between 2005 and 2012, and the far more aggressive climate goals that even Republicans were advocating for just two presidential elections ago, it becomes hard to paint the regulations as extreme.  Instead, they look more like a binding codification of plans that already exist on the ground, and a gentle kick in the pants for regulatory laggards to get on board with at least a very basic level of emissions mitigation.

So, in isolation, there’s a limited amount to get either excited or angry about here.  Thankfully, the EPA’s rules will not be operating in isolation!

Continue reading Geology and Markets, not EPA, Waging War on Coal

Citizen Power Training with special guest Great March for Climate Action

 Take action to fix the deficient energy market.

Tuesday June 17th, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Central Presbyterian Church
1660 Sherman St., Denver, CO 80203

Register Here

community training picture

How do community members change energy policies in our state? What can we learn from the Great March for Climate Action? How can we use our solidarity to move state legislators in the fight for sustainability?

Clean Energy Action is bringing together Denver community members, students and the Great March for Climate Change Action to use our momentum for climate action to demand energy policy improvements from our state legislators. This two-hour training will teach attendees the steps to setting up meetings with their state legislators, give participants the opportunity to organize groups for future visits, and allow participants to sign up for legislative visits on the spot.

Join fellow community members, Clean Energy Action and guest speakers from the Great March for Climate Action in an evening of action, empowerment, and community. Learn how to speak truth to power and demand changes to our deficient energy market.

Colorado_State_Capitol_Building_Denver_Colorado

Training

This evening of action will feature the national activists from the Great March for Climate Action on their last day in Denver. They will discuss the power of community activism for climate action, and they will share their goals as they march across the country demanding action for the climate and sustainability.

Once we are inspired, we will move into an educational component about where we fit in the legislative process as community members. Next, we will practice the most valuable component of creating change: sharing our stories. After we have established what makes us powerful as citizens, we will divide into groups based on districts and create a script for meetings with our legislators. Finally, we will end with the opportunity to sign up to meet with legislators and we’ll write letters to the editor of the Denver Post or other news source about our demands for improvements to our energy economy.

Don’t miss this opportunity to stand in solidarity as community members, call on your legislators to create policy improvements to an energy market that is overdue for change, and be inspired by activists that are traversing the country to demand solutions for our climate and create sustainability.

Logistics

Food will be provided at the beginning of the training. The space is wheelchair accessible. For other ability and language needs, please contact Katie Raitz at (719)640-5803 or katie.raitz@gmail.com Gender-neutral restrooms. We are unable to provide childcare for this event. Non-voting age youth are welcome to attend.

Sign up on the Eventbrite page, and include your zip code so that we can place you in a group with similar constituents. You don’t need to bring a ticket, we’ll have your name at registration. The event will be in the basement of the Church, and there will be signs. Metered parking can be found around the church and there is a lot across the street. The Church is accessible via RTD public transportation.

EPA Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards

Comment Period Extended Until May 9th, 2014

Coloradans approve of new GHG regulations. Help us show the EPA this is true Comment Now

The EPA is in the final stage of rulemaking on how they will regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new electric generation plants, including coal, natural gas, petroleum coke, and other fossil fuels. There have been over 2.5 million comments on the proposed rule, so get your voice heard and tell the EPA to ensure that the GHG emission standards are strict and properly reflect the negative health and climate impacts.

Summary of the Major Provisions of the Proposed Rules:

This action proposes a standard of performance for utility boilers and IGCC units based on partial implementation of carbon capture and storage (CCS) as the BSER. The proposed emission limit for those sources is 1,100 lb CO2/MWh. This action also proposes standards of performance for natural gas-fired stationary combustion turbines based on modern, efficient natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) technology as the BSER. The proposed emission limits for those sources are 1,000 lb CO2/MWh for larger units and 1,100 lb CO2/MWh for smaller units. At this time, the EPA is not proposing standards of performance for modified or reconstructed sources.

For more information on the proposed rule.