Ski town newspaper scoffs at Clean Power Plan

The three coal-burning units at Craig Station constitute the second-largest source of electricity in Colorado. Photo/Allen Best

The three coal-burning units at Craig Station constitute the second-largest source of electricity in Colorado. Photo/Allen Best

Ski town newspaper scoffs at Obama plan to reduce air pollution

Too costly for Colorado, says Steamboat Today

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – Can a ski town also be a coal town? They don’t usually come together, but they do in Steamboat Springs, a place that calls itself Ski Town USA.

Steamboat can best be understood as an island in a valley that has three coal mines, two power plants, and a railroad that hauls coal to distant markets. If you see no evidence of coal within Steamboat itself, you don’t have to study the Routt County property tax base very far to find a major coal-mining company, Peabody.

Coal companies, of course, don’t like the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, and neither does the Steamboat Pilot & Today. The newspaper, in an editorial on Halloween, said the “cost is too great, the rewards are too few, and there’s a very real chance the action may not even be legal.”

The latter echoes the argument of Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, a Republican who has sided with attorney generals in 25 other states in seeking to overturn the Obama administration’s effort to shift electrical production from carbon-intensive fuels. They claim that the plan exceeds permitted authority in the Clean Air Act.

The Steamboat newspaper goes beyond the legal question and essentially echoes the point of view of the coal industry. It cites an argument that boosting renewables will “amount to a quadrupling of consumer energy costs through the next 15 years, in many cases…”

The newspaper adds that the “benefits of implementing the Clean Power Plan are minuscule, at best,” in terms of reducing the rise in global temperatures. As such, said the newspaper, the principal value of the plan is to “set an example for the world and hope the world follows.”

Not good enough, said the newspaper, to justify the cost.

There has been some pushback from the community. Sarah Jones, who directs the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, identified a whole host of reasons why the local coal mines have not been doing so well. Rather than fight the Clean Power Plan, she wrote in a letter published in Steamboat Today, the better question is how to prepare for an economy that is less dependent on coal production.

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About Allen Best

Allen Best is a Colorado-based journalist. He publishes a subscription-based e-zine called Mountain Town News, portions of which are published on the website of the same name, and also writes for a variety of newspapers and magazines.
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2 Responses to Ski town newspaper scoffs at Clean Power Plan

  1. paul says:

    Jihadi Journalism against the unbelievers.

  2. Clinging to carbon is among the strongest remaining instincts of a time gone by. The magnitude of financial damage that the Ski /Tourism Industries risks as a result of Climate Change should tip these carbon-billies in the opposite direction. I wonder if it was this tough to replace whale oil with coal?

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