Friday, May 25, 2012

When Marsha Met Craig

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Rep. Marsha Looper, House District 19, El Paso County
  • Rep. Marsha Looper

What was the cost of 2010's HB 1365, the Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act?

According to Rep. Marsha Looper, the cost was jobs.

Looper is running in a primary against House Majority Leader Amy Stephens for the seat in state House District 19. It has been a rough-and-tumble primary so far, with Looper most notably hammering away on Stephens for her sponsorship of 2011's SB 200, which established Colorado's Health Benefit Exchange.

Now, a new campaign piece is being promoted by the Looper camp.

The video below features interviews with residents of Craig, a coal community in northwest Colorado, on the affects of HB 1365. Looper opposed the bill when it was before the House — a fact that this video highlights — while Stephens was one of the bill's co-sponsors.

HB 1365 mandated new emissions restrictions, suggesting the closure of some coal-based power plants as well as shifting a significant amount of the state's power generation away from coal to natural gas.

From the bill:

All rate-regulated utilities that own or operate coal-fired electric generating units located in Colorado shall submit to the commission an emission reduction plan for emissions from those units.

...

At the utility's discretion, the plan may include some or all of the following elements:

(I) New emission control equipment for oxides of nitrogen and other pollutants;
(II) Retirement of coal-fired units, if the retired coal-fired units are replaced by natural gas-fired electric generation or other low-emitting resources ...
(III) Conversion of coal-fired generation to run on natural gas ...

On her website, Stephens defends her co-sponsorship of HB 1365 by arguing that when you consider that "the Obama EPA has shut down 14 coal plants throughout the US" and that "a number of Colorado power plants have failed EPA standards," the bill was necessary to protect Colorado from federal intervention.

From her site:

If the Colorado [sic] had not acted, their power plants would now be under the control of the Obama EPA. Or our power plants would have been shut down making us dependent on outside energy sources and loosing [sic] valueable [sic] jobs in Colorado.

Stephens supported HB 1365 so that Colorado would be in control of their own energy future and not subject to the Obama EPA. And so that energy jobs would stay in Colorado.

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