Club 20 readies for legislative trip

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Craig City Council member Ray Beck said he has been worried about the state’s approach to regulation of the energy industry.

Beck’s concerns aren’t far from those of many other area residents, he said.

With that in mind and as the county’s voting delegate in Club 20, Beck hopes to give state legislators a Moffat County perspective on energy issues when the governmental, business and civic advocacy group makes its annual legislative trip to Denver on Thursday and Friday.

“One of the things I’m going to say is, ‘Regulations are going to be regulations, and we always can’t do too much about that, although we do have a voice,’” Beck said. “I’m going to stress that we were not pleased with the process. It’s not been a process we’re accustomed to.”

Beck was referring to the passing of Colorado House Bill 10-1365, also known as the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act. The bill sought to convert several coal-fired Front Range power plants to natural gas and was introduced, passed and signed into law in 36 days.

The Colorado Mining Association recently filed a motion with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to change plans developed by Xcel Energy to comply with the bill.

“It’s been a hurried up and rushed-through type of thing, and I think they need to reexamine this and make sure that all the constituents get ample time to review the proposed legislation and have a public meeting whereby we can voice our opinions,” Beck said.

The two-day event will give Club 20 members, like Beck, the chance to discuss Western Slope views with state leaders.

Part of Thursday’s agenda is a meeting on balancing the value and cost of environmental regulation. At the meeting will be representatives from the PUC, the Air Quality Control Commission and Affordable Energy for Colorado, along with Tri-State Generation & Transmission, Xcel Energy and Western Resource Advocates.

Also on Thursday, Club 20 will have discussions with state officials, including Gov. John Hickenlooper, Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, state senate minority leader Mike Kopp, speaker of the house Frank McNulty and state house minority leader Sal Pace.

The other meetings scheduled include a look at what is ahead in the current legislative session, the state budget, getting the state “fiscally fit” and education reform. There will also be a legislative reception Thursday at the Governor’s Mansion.

Club 20 Executive Director Reeves Brown said because Club 20 represents such a broad region, there were no specific issues that the club would be addressing as a whole. He said it is up to the policy committees within the organization to decide what is most important for them.

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