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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
“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,
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.