Colorado reaction to Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’ is swift, passionate

Colorado reaction to Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’ is swift, passionate

Cathy Proctor
Denver Business Journal
August 3, 2015

President Barack Obama’s “Clean Power Plan” — designed to slash the nation’s carbon dioxide production by 32 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels — drew responses from across the spectrum in Colorado.

Colorado Senate President Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, said that the Senate Republicans were “disappointed” in the rules and pledged that his Republican colleagues in the Senate would propose a bill in January 2016 that requires the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to hold public on the state’s compliance plan.

Cadman said he’ll also seek to have the commission approve the state’s plan “before any state agency adopts rules to implement this costly electric power generation mandate in Colorado.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Bob Keefe, the executive director of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) — a national community of business leaders — said the now final rule is “the most significant environmental policy we’ve seen in recent years, and also a huge catalyst for economic growth.”

The Denver Business Journal’s story about the plan is here.

Read on for a roundup of what folks around the state are saying:


Colorado Senate President Bill Cadma n (R-Colorado Springs):

“Senate Republicans are disappointed by the EPA rules rolled out today by the Obama administration. I can promise that Senate Republicans will offer legislation in January to require full PUC public hearings and PUC approval before any state agency adopts rules to implement this costly electric power generation mandate in Colorado. This President continues to show complete disdain for Congress with another end-run around the legislative process. The liberal extremists are conspiring with the White House to eviscerate federalism, the separation of powers and state’s rights.”

Jill Ryan, Eagle County Commissioner

“Ski resorts are already feeling the impacts of a warmer climate on the length and quality of ski seasons, and climate change could threaten their very existence. It doesn’t take much to undermine our tourism economy. Only a 1 percent dip in tourists to Colorado ski resorts would cost more than $375 million and 4,500 jobs.

The Clean Power Plan represents an opportunity for Colorado to craft a plan to continue its leadership in reducing carbon emissions. It is a necessary but flexible step to effectively address climate change and keep visitors from across the world coming to Colorado for world-class skiing.”


Chris Brown, President of Vestas-American Wind Technology, Inc.

“The Clean Power Plan is a significant step in the right direction. It’s not something that will alter our market potential in the short run but if the plan is adopted, it will create a more stable U.S. market for renewable energy in the long run. …

The Clean Power Plan is definitely achievable, and wind energy is the quickest and most cost effective way for states to meet the reductions. Wind is already helping states meet their clean energy needs and can do more while creating new jobs and benefiting local economies. More wind can be integrated into the grid reliably; many states and regions are adding large quantities of wind to the electricity mix while maintaining grid stability.”


Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy Inc.

“Implementing clean energy is familiar ground for Xcel Energy. We have worked for years with our states to increase the use of renewable resources, to help customers save energy and to modernize and retire our coal plants – all at a reasonable cost. This approach has put our company on a sound course to achieve a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide by 2020.

“We appreciate the EPA’s willingness to work with stakeholders in developing this groundbreaking and complex set of regulations. It will take time to thoroughly review and assess the full impact of the rules. While we expect the Clean Power Plan does not provide everything we hoped for in terms of fully recognizing the early actions of proactive states and utilities, Xcel Energy is ready to move ahead. We look forward to working with our states in the best interest of our customers, ensuring we continue to meet their expectations for clean, reliable and affordable power.”

Joel Serface, managing director of Brightman Energy, a renewable energy development company.

“The Clean Power Plan is a huge opportunity for Colorado’s economy. By tackling the rising economic costs of climate change, we can modernize our energy infrastructure, stimulate innovation and help create thousands of good, new Colorado jobs in high-growth sectors like wind and solar.”

State Sen. John B. Cooke (R-Weld County):

“The Governor needs to commit himself to a true public process, including a rigorous review by the people’s representatives in the Colorado General Assembly, before giving a green light to Colorado’s implementation of this new federal mandate. These rules are being challenged in federal court by sixteen states, and I hope that Colorado’s Attorney General will join that lawsuit now that the EPA rules are final. The fact is, the Clean Air Act passed by Congress does not authorize these costly dictates, and there is a good chance the US Supreme Court will block these rules for that reason.”


Kim Tyrrell, Air Quality Programs Manager, American Lung Association in Colorado

“Nationwide, the Clean Power Plan will prevent up to 90,000 asthma attacks and 3,600 premature deaths each year starting in 2030. That’s important for Colorado’s more than 135,790 children with asthma who face greater health risks from air pollution and climate change.

Undeniable evidence tells us that our warming climate threatens public health and safety. Right here in Colorado, we see the impacts firsthand: in our air quality, where our ozone is worse than it should be; where we have more particle pollution from more wildfires and drought; and where we face more extreme weather events, including heat waves and flooding.”

Jonathan Lockwood, executive director for Advancing Colorado, which advocates for free markets

“This very strict, and extreme, so-called power plan is dirty, expensive and unnecessary. What we are seeing is a job-killing ideological push that will increase energy costs on Colorado families. This is a costly crusade that hurts our families and communities, and we need to speak out against politicians like Sen. Michael Bennet and Gov. John Hickenlooper who praise and bow down to this plan.”

Rebecca Cantwell, Executive Director, Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association

“Colorado’s solar industry looks forward to playing a leading role in achieving Clean Power Plan targets while driving down the long-term cost of power, increasing reliability and providing thousands of jobs across our state.”