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Power to the people

More than 700 people attended Mountain View Electric Association’s annual meeting June 11 at Falcon High School. Guests enjoyed a free beef barbecue dinner, entertainment and door prizes. Jim Herron, MVEA general manager, encouraged all who attended to complete postcards for “Our Energy, Our Future,” a grassroots campaign to communicate rural America’s electricity challenges to Congress. The cards will be forwarded to Congress.Herron also talked about pending climate-change legislation in Washington D.C., which he believes could increase electricity costs. “(According to) the first-guess estimates we were able to come up with, it looks like the electric bills in Colorado will see an increase of anywhere from 20 to 50 percent if this legislation is enacted,” he said.”The Speaker of the House has informed the committee members (and) the committee chairs that she wants to see a bill on the floor of the House by June 22. They want to have this voted on and out of the House before the summer break, which would be about June 27.” Herron said he feels Congress is rushing into this legislation, which is about 900 pages, he added.The Environmental Protection Agency is also moving to address climate change, Herron said. “As a result of a 2007 Supreme Court decision, (EPA) is going to get involved in the process,” he said. “Basically, they have already issued the beginnings of regulation and they plan to have that enacted. If Congress is too slow, they said they probably would have some kind of regulation on the books by the year 2011.” The EPA regulations would be “an expensive option,” he added.President Obama is anxious to see action on climate change as well, Herron said. “President Obama said he is willing to put together some kind of cap-and-trade program and he did put something like that in his budget,” he said. “He said it would roll out about 2012. And the best-guess estimates, and this is pretty much publicized, is that it would generate about $80 billion in new taxes every year. We’ve heard a lot about billions and trillions – you hear that in the news – but you take $80 billion taxes in a year and divide it by the number of people in the United States, and it comes out to about $20 a month for every man, woman and child in the United States.”Herron also said that Congress will not equitably distribute the allocations for cap-and-trade. “Under the current proposal … the state of Colorado would be at a 50 percent level,” he said. “So, what that means is the state of California, where the speaker, Pelosi, and Waxman, the chairman of the committee (energy and commerce) this bill came out of, would receive 100 percent of their allowances. Colorado would receive only 50 percent, meaning we would have to go to the market the first year and buy 50 percent of the allowances. We feel this is a very unacceptable proposal for Colorado and would be very expensive for the citizens of Colorado.”Joe Martin, president of the MVEA board of directors, spoke on MVEA’s new green building in Falcon and provided information about Tri-State Generation and Transmission, the source of MVEA electricity. Martin discussed Tri-State’s long-term plans and its participation in the Holcomb project, an initiative to bring a new coal-burning plant to Holcomb, Kan.”You may have heard that recently an agreement has been signed by the governor of Kansas and Sunflower Electric, which is a G and T (generation and transmission organization) in Hays, Kan.,” Martin said. “No permit has been issued yet, but this compromise calls for some follow up in being able to move forward with the affirmative process and to build one generation station up to 895 megawatts, a super-critical, coal-powered plant at Holcomb Station. This project has a long way to go, but it is a positive step and it’s part of that overall, long-range plan that Tri-State is addressing currently.”In other action at the annual meeting, Joe Martin, District 1 (Limon); Milton Mathis, District 4 (Calhan/Peyton); and Barry Springer, District 6 (Black Forest) were elected to the board.

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