Colorado Weighs Reducing Power Plant Pollution

By Tripp Baltz

Aug. 26 — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) is considering issuing an executive order that would set a reduction target for greenhouse gases from power plants of 35 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels.

“Without increasing costs, are there ways to have cleaner electricity?” Hickenlooper said Aug. 26 to a gathering of oil and natural gas industry executives at the Rocky Mountain Energy Summit in Denver. “With innovation in the energy sector, is there a way we can continue to push ourselves and have cleaner air, cleaner water?”

A draft version of the five-page executive order was obtained by news organizations Aug. 25. Hickenlooper, who has yet to finalize the draft, said an executive order “lays out a vision” adding, “We would still have to go through a rulemaking. There has to be legislation. There still has to be a process.”

‘Smoke and Mirrors.'

Some environmentalists criticized the reduction goal for not being aggressive enough. A comment on a social media site for Clean Energy Action, which has promoted the advancement of the far-reaching international clean energy targets, said Hickenlooper's plan was “smoke and mirrors.”

However, some state lawmakers praised the plan.

State Senate Minority Leader Sen. Lucia Guzman (D) said that “by setting tangible goals and target dates to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the next few decades, with a keen eye on keeping energy affordable, Colorado can remain ahead of the curve and continue to serve as a leader other states look to.”

“The future of our state depends on it,” said House Majority Leader Rep. Crisanta Duran (D).

‘Everything at Risk.'

“Our Colorado way of life is more than clean air and mountain vistas,” said House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D). “It’s an economy that’s strengthened by every employer who comes here to adopt our Colorado way of life and every tourist who comes here to enjoy it for a few days or weeks.

“We put everything at risk if in winter our ski season gets shorter, and in spring our snowmelt fails to fill the reservoirs, and in summer our forests burn, and in autumn our topsoil gets blown into Kansas.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Tripp Baltz in Denver at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at

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