Clean Air and Jobs Unite Colorado Pols

March 2010

In one of the few signs of bipartisan cooperation among lawmakers this year, the House Transportation and Energy Committee voted 10-1 to pass the so-called "Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act," which would require harmful emissions at some coal-fired power plants to be reduced by as much as 80 percent. The bill, according to Democrats and Republicans, would reduce the "brown cloud" of pollution along the Front Range, while helping to expand the less-harmful natural-gas industry and create jobs (via 9News). But not everyone is happy, including Colorado Mining Association executive director Stuart Sanderson, who sees the proposal as a clandestine deal between Governor Bill Ritter's administration, environmental groups, Xcel Energy, and natural-gas interests, according to the Denver Business Journal. "We were deliberately excluded," Sanderson says of the lawmaking preamble. He hopes to slow down the proposal, perhaps with a study, but it will be tough to alter the momentum with both political teams playing nice. Even feisty conservative state Senator Josh Penry (right), a Grand Junction Republican, appeared in a press conference with Ritter to tout the act, with The Colorado Independent noting in a headline: "Taking one for the natural-gas team: Penry backs Ritter clean air plan."