Leading climate scientists are telling us the biggest thing we can do to avert climate catastrophe is to not build any more coal plants and to start retiring existing coal plants. Are we listening? Xcel has built, and wants to fire up, a new 750 MW coal plant (Comanche 3) in Pueblo, and wants to continue burning coal at their Valmont power plant in Boulder. It’s time for some accountability.
Locally, City Council needs to provide some level of public oversight to the secret franchise negotiations with Xcel so the citizens of Boulder can be assured their future isn’t being negotiated away behind closed doors. Then Xcel needs to be told that either they eliminate the coal burning at Valmont or we won’t renew our contract with them (meaning we shelve the franchise negotiations and reexamine municipalization).
On the state level, no one questions Governor Ritter’s support of the renewable energy industry, but no one questions his support of the coal industry, either. Colorado today generates over 70% of its electricity from coal, and wants to add more. Is the Governor’s climate action plan the answer? It has the anemic goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020 (when what we need are 80% cuts by 2020). It also embraces the dirty lie of “clean coal.” This is not climate leadership. It is an abrogation of his responsibility to protect the future generations of this state. Governors regularly declare “states of emergency” for hurricanes and wildfires. How about for what is fueling those hurricanes and wildfires?
Governor Ritter can show he gets it by immediately calling for a statewide moratorium on new coal-fired power plants, starting with Xcel’s Comanche 3. City Council can show they get it by holding the line against Xcel on Valmont.