Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fighting secrecy in government

Posted By on Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Americans For Prosperity, a conservative group, is jumping into the fray over Mayor Steve Bach's desire to cut a deal with the Sierra Club over the Martin Drake Power Plant downtown.

Colorado Springs Utilities Drake
  • Drake: Bach wants it gone.

Drake is powered by coal, and Bach's appointed city attorney, Chris Melcher, has been working out a deal whereby the city would put emissions control equipment on ice until a city study is completed next year on whether to phase out the plant and when.

Here's a previous blog about these secret talks, which includes an e-mail exchange the documents the negotiations.

Funny that Melcher sounds willing to make such a deal, considering the city hasn't in the past done so, most notably some years back with the Sierra Club sued over the Clean Water Act and the city's sewage spills into Fountain Creek.

But Bach wants Drake gone, which would make way for developers to do what they do in the lower downtown area. Drake, by the way, provides pretty cheap power, but more pollution than, say, a natural gas plant.

Anyhow, here's the AFP's shot across the bow on the eve of the Utilities Board meeting, which takes place at 1 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday) on the fifth floor of the south tower of the Plaza of the Rockies building.

The City Attorney of Colorado Springs has been holding secret negotiations with the radical Sierra Club that could impact the future of Colorado Springs Utilities and the Drake power plant downtown. I’m worried, given the secrecy that shrouds these talks, as well as the questionable motives of the environmental extremists at The Sierra Club, that any “deal” cut behind closed doors might not be in your best interests.

Why the Sierra Club? What’s being negotiated? How might it impact you as a CSU utility customer? We only know the answer to one of those questions at the moment, due to the secrecy surrounding these discussions.

The Sierra Club is involved because it has threatened to sue Colorado Springs Utilities for a laundry list of alleged regulatory violations at the downtown Drake power plant. It’s one of many cookie-cutter-style suits this extremely litigious group has going at any one time, all aimed at forcing the premature closure of perfectly good coal-fired power plants — facilities that continue to provide reliable, affordable, home-grown electricity to roughly 40 percent of Americans. The Sierra Club doesn’t care about the costs or consequences its crusade against coal imposes on local utility customers like you and me. It just wants to kill off all use of coal, period. And one of the top targets on its list seems to be the power plant (Drake) that generated 30 percent of this city’s power.

At least we know what The Sierra Club wants. The bigger mystery here is why anyone at the city and its utility would be negotiating in secret with this group of radicals, based on a mere threat to sue from a gang of environmental extortionists.

CLICK HERE to contact utility board members today to say you don’t support any “deal” that needs to be hammered out in secret.

Tell them they shouldn’t be rewarding litigious bullies like the Sierra Club or in any way be a party to the group’s extreme agenda. Sometimes fighting it out in court is preferable to cutting deals in secret.

Tell them that any decisions involving the future of the Drake power plant should be made by the citizen-owners of the utility, not by a private environmental group and a bunch of city insiders caught-up in cutting deals.

Tell them this is no way to make decisions directly impacting half a million city utility customers.

Please take a few minutes to contact city leaders right now. They will be meeting at the utility board tomorrow, Thursday, December 13, and another closed-door session is scheduled at which this is likely to be discussed.

Colorado Springs Utilities and its facilities belong to you. You have the most to lose, as a citizen-owner and a bill-payer, if elected officials make short-sighted or flawed decisions in response to intimidation tactics of green extremists.

We’ll keep you informed as events unfold.

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