On behalf of the city of Aspen’s Canary Initiative, a local official spoke in Denver on Wednesday in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, a proposal that would outline carbon-reducing strategies for each state under the Clean Air Act.
Focused mainly on coal-fired power plants, the plan would give each state different targets based on what the EPA believes can be reasonably accomplished. For example, the highest target would be in Washington, a state that would be asked to achieve 65 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions between 2005 and 2030. The lowest target would be 9 percent in North Dakota, while the Colorado target would be 35 percent.
“We’re lending Aspen’s name where appropriate on things that matter,” Ashley Perl, Aspen’s Climate Action manager, said of the decision to send Canary Initiative official Chris Menges to Denver.
“In Aspen, we understand that our tourism-dependent economy relies directly on stable climate conditions,” Mayor Steven Skadron said in a statement. “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.”
If approved, the law will not go into effect until 2015, a year in which the city has the stated goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy for all municipal operations.
Perl said the EPA measure would not affect the city’s goal, but it would affect how the state regulates Aspen’s other two utility providers, Source Gas and Holy Cross Electric.
“It helps us as a community to know that even though we can only control Aspen Electric, Holy Cross and Source Gas are greening up their energy, and it helps us achieve our goals,” Perl said.
Fort Collins, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., also commented on the EPA’s proposal. For Colorado, Menges called the 2030 target of 35 percent “quite modest.”
“If the state’s renewables and efficiency deployment continued growing at current rates, we could likely surpass this goal,” he said.
The EPA is accepting comments through Oct. 16 and plans to finalize the rule on June 1.