Aspen Supports the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan Proposal City Official Testifies on Federal Legislation in Denver

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

Aspen Supports the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan Proposal  

City Official Testifies on Federal Legislation in Denver

 

Contact: Ashley Perl, Climate Action Manager, City of Aspen, 970-429-1798 or ashley.perl@cityofapsen.com

 

Aspen, Colorado – July 30, 2014 In a rare opportunity in Colorado, Canary Initiative staff travelled to Denver this week to provide testimony on a proposed federal environmental law.  Chris Menges, Data and Research Project Planner of the City of Aspen’s Canary Initiative, spoke at a public hearing held at the U.S. EPA’s Region 8 Building on behalf of the City of Aspen in support of the organization’s Clean Power Plan.  As a part of the Clean Air Act, this proposed law would enact the first ever carbon pollution standards for America’s power plants. Denver is just one of four cities across the country where the EPA is seeking testimony. This was a crucial opportunity for Aspen to show its leadership and support for this legislation. Should the rule be finalized, it will impact the City’s ability to meet its climate change mitigation goals with more federal support. The proposed regulations call on power plants to cut carbon emissions a national average of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

 

The City of Aspen and Mayor Steve Skadron are in favor of the proposal because it is the most meaningful climate protection legislation to be presented in half a decade.

 

“In Aspen, we understand that our tourism dependent economy relies directly on stable climate conditions,” said Aspen Mayor, Steven Skadron.If the impacts that we are seeing in Colorado – like reduced snowpack and streamflows and more frequent and intense drought and wildfires – continue on the current path, our quality of life and economic viability will be challenged. Aspen’s support for the implementation of the Clean Power Plan is a request to the EPA to help safeguard our economy and way of life as a mountain community.

 

Aspen’s testimony supported the Clean Power Plan as a flexible and achievable strategy, which will allow states to create plans that work best for them.

 

“The Clean Air Act’s flexible state-by-state approach has been used repeatedly and successfully to reduce various air pollutants associated with power sector emissions and has generated tremendous public health benefits.” said Chris Menges, Data and Research Project Planner of the City of Aspen Canary Initiative. 

 

Based on the City’s assessment, Colorado’s 2030 target of 35% CO2 reduction is not only achievable, but may prove to be modest. If Colorado continues to increase renewable energy production and energy efficiency at current rates, the state could likely surpass this goal.

 

“For example, the Community Office for Resource Efficiency developed the Energy Smart Colorado program and worked in Pitkin and two other counties where energy efficiency in participating homes increased by an average of 10% between 2011 and 2013,” explained Chris Menges, Data and Research Project Planner of the City of Aspen Canary Initiative. 

 

Because of this, experts serving the Roaring Fork region view the proposed increases in energy efficiency as exceed-able. Likewise, Aspen’s experience with renewable energy indicates that the Clean Power Plan is achievable and could benefit residents.

 

In 2004, in the absence of Federal action, Aspen’s City Council adopted greenhouse gas reduction goals of 30% below 2004 levels by the year 2020 and 80% below those levels by 2050. By working to achieve these reduction goals, the City of Aspen has shown that lofty renewable energy targets are attainable and beneficial. Currently, Aspen’s municipal electric utility, Aspen Electric, provides approximately 80% renewable energy to customers, yet has the seventh lowest residential electricity rates (amongst municipal utilities) in the state. Aspen Electric’s rates are also lower than those of most Colorado cooperatives and investor owned utilities. Investments in renewable energy production and energy efficiency by former and current City leaders have not only benefitted the environment, they have also insulated the city against the volatilities of fossil-fuel markets and prices.

 

“While the actions Aspen has taken toward meeting our own greenhouse gas reduction goals have improved quality of life for residents and visitors, we know they are not enough to address global climate change, we need Federal action,” remarked Aspen Mayor, Steve Skadron.

 

The EPA is accepting comments through October 16, 2014, and plans to finalize the rule on June 1, 2015. 

 

For more information on the new power plant emission standards by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, visit http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/clean-power-plan-proposed-rule.

 

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Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2014