Building more just, healthy relationships between people and establishing a more sustainable dynamic with the Earth

Author: Kevin Cross Page 1 of 3

Brave Sponsors of the Oil and Gas Phase Out and Clean-Up Bill Need to Feel the Love!

Senator Jaquez Lewis and Senator Priola need to be buoyed up after SB 159 (the Oil and Gas Phase Out and Clean Up Bill) was voted down in committee on March 28th. They are taking a lot of heat from this, both from constituents and colleagues who were against the bill. One Senator said during the hearing that sponsoring this bill was a career-ending move and other committee members tried to paint them as ignorant and foolish. They are getting harshly critical messages for running this bill from some of their constituents.

Now is the time to thank them. They are truly heroes for running this bill. It’s sad that it takes so much political courage to propose science-based policies to protect people and planet but that’s where we are. We need to show them again what strong public support there is for this bill. We need to outnumber the industry voices again. We need to have their back because they had ours, and we need to ensure other legislators won’t be scared off from running bold bills.

We outnumbered industry in the hearing and now we need to outnumber them in the post-hearing feedback. We can turn this setback into a future success, but only if legislators know there is massive support for it.

Please write to them and thank them, especially if you are their constituent, but even if you are not. Senator Sonya Jaquez Lewis, District 17 (Boulder, Broomfield, Weld, email sonya.jaquez.lewis.senate@coleg.gov), and Senator Kevin Priola, District 13 (Adams, Weld, email kevin.priola.senate@coleg.gov). Tell them you support the bill and appreciate their leadership in running it.

Thanks for supporting strong climate legislation!

Tell Colorado Legislators to Support a Bill to Phase out New Permits for Oil and Gas!

Show our legislators there is a groundswell of support for this bill – requiring phase out of new permits for oil and gas and ensuring operators — not taxpayers — pay for cleanup. To help, please call and write your legislators and attend townhalls. Everything you need to know including talking points are here in the Phase Out & Clean Up Toolkit, linked here.

Contact Heidi Leathwood or Kate Merlin for more information. To receive updates about townhalls, contact Bobbie Moonie.

Join us at City Council to Support a Ceasefire in Gaza Now!

On Tuesday, February 6th at 6:00, the Northern Colorado Liberation Coalition will be presenting a resolution to the Fort Collins City Council calling for:

• An immediate, permanent ceasefire in Gaza and occupied West Bank;

• Immediate, unhindered humanitarian aid into Gaza; and

• The release of all hostages and arbitrarily detained Palestinian citizens.

Hundreds of locally elected officials and dozens of cities around the country have passed resolutions supporting a permanent ceasefire. It’s time for Fort Collins to do the same!   Your attendance shows Council members that Fort Collins cares. 

Sign up to testify in person (available 2/1) at  https://www.fcgov.com/council/councilcomments.

The City Council meeting will be held at 300 Laport Avenue in Fort Collins.

For more information on resolution, talking points, ways to participate, how to promote the event, see the toolkit here.

Contact Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper to Support S. Res. 504 Holding the U.S. and Israel Accountable

Introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders, Senate Resolution 504 would require the State Department to investigate and report on potential human rights violations committed by Israel, focusing on the role that U.S.-supplied weapons have played in civilian deaths and injuries, in violation of international law (https://vermontbiz.com/news/2024/january/14/sanders-offers-resolution-israel-and-gaza-under-502bc).  Please do this TODAY; the vote is scheduled for Tuesday, January 16th.

The resolution was introduced under Section 502B(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act which prohibits the U.S. from providing weapons or other forms of support for countries committing gross violations of human rights or war crimes.  If Congress passes the resolution, the State Department is required to investigate potential violations and provide a report within 30 days. If it fails to provide it in that time, all security assistance to that country must be halted until the report is submitted. Presidential veto is not allowed under the Act.

U.S. complicity in Israel’s human rights violations have been widely debated.  On December 5th, Amnesty International issued a report which claimed that U.S.-made military equipment used in two airstrikes killed 43 civilians, decimating two families in Gaza.  According to the report, remnants of U.S.-made JDAMs, a kit that converts unguided bombs into GPS-guided weapons, were found at the sites of both strikes.  Codes found on fragments of the kits link to them to Boeing.  “It’s a safe assumption to say that US weapons are being used extensively in the current Israeli operations in Gaza,” says Elias Yousif, an expert in U.S. arms transfers at the Stimson Center (https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2023/12/israel-opt-us-made-munitions-killed-43-civilians-in-two-documented-israeli-air-strikes-in-gaza-new-investigation/).

Approval of this resolution presents Congress with the opportunity to restrict or end military assistance for the Gaza war, could serve as a key leverage point in negotiations with Israel, and can establish a precedent to prioritize human rights and adherence to international law.  Contact Senator Bennett and Hickenlooper and tell them to vote YES on S. Res. 504.

Sen. Bennett: 

email: https://www.bennet.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/write-to-michael

Phone: DC: (202) 224-5852; FC: (970) 224-2200

Sen. Hickenlooper:

email: https://www.hickenlooper.senate.gov/email-john/

Phone: DC: (202)224-5941; Denver (303) 244-1628

Tell the PRPA Board: Include Renewables and Storage in Their Request for Proposals!

The Platte River Power Authority (PRPA) will be issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) sometime next year for firm, “dispatchable” capacity to make sure they can keep the lights on in Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont, and Loveland after they close the Rawhide coal-fired power plant at the end of 2029.  Right now, they’re only giving serious consideration to a fracked gas-fired power plant to provide that generating capacity, with vague promises about being able to operate it someday using “Renewable Natural Gas” or Hydrogen.

Cost estimates for the fracked gas-fired plant range from $240 Million to $300 Million.  Those estimates do not include the costs of upgrading the plant to run on Hydrogen, and it’s doubtful that enough Renewable Natural Gas could be found to operate the new plant without putting more carbon into the atmosphere.  The fracked gas plant threatens to saddle rate payers in Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont, and Loveland with high electricity costs far into the future, while putting the PRPA’s goal of 100% non-carbon electricity – originally established for 2030 – out of reach.

The Fort Collins Sustainability Group (FCSG) believes that there are likely less expensive, more climate-friendly approaches to providing firm, dispatchable power to the four cities served by PRPA than building a new fracked gas plant.  We are urging the PRPA to issue an “All-source RFP” for firm, dispatchable capacity that would allow bids for wind, solar, batteries, and other combinations of resources that might better meet our needs.

Please send an e-message to PRPA board members using this “one-click link” asking them to support a resolution calling for an “All-source RFP” at the upcoming PRPA board meeting on December 7th.  Please personalize the message if you have the time, and thank you!

Tell the PRPA Board: No Decisions on a New Gas Plant Without Detailed Study and Review

Platte River Power Authority (PRPA), the electric utility that serves Fort Collins, Longmont, Loveland, and Estes Park, is proposing a board resolution that would fast-track the construction of a new 200 MW, $239 Million gas-fired power plant to come online in 2028.  Just 5 years ago, in 2018, PRPA adopted a goal of 100% non-carbon electricity by 2030, and we need the board to make sure its decisions don’t compromise that goal or result in unnecessary rate increases.

PRPA is supposed to make big decisions like these through long-term energy planning processes called “Integrated Resource Plans” or IRPs.  By effectively deciding to build a new gas plant outside of the IRP process, PRPA is skirting public accountability and community member input.

The next IRP is due in mid-2024.  The board should respect PRPA’s process by waiting for the IRP to be completed and demanding that it be reviewed by outside expert organizations such as the CSU Energy Institute and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) before making any major investment decisions on “dispatchable capacity” such as gas plants.

Please send a short message to PRPA board members asking them to oppose Board Resolution No. 11-23 (see page 77-78) in its current form.  Please do this by the end of the day on Wednesday, October 25th so that they will have the opportunity to read it before their meeting on October 26th.  Messages to all board members should be sent to boardsecretary@prpa.org.  A sample e-message is provided below.  Please personalize it if you have the time, but if you don’t, just copy, paste add your name and address, and send.  Thanks!

Dear PRPA Board Chair Bergsten and Directors Arndt, Peck, Marsh, Koenig, Minor, Hornbacher, and Gertig:

I am deeply troubled that that PRPA Management is asking you to approve that they “proactively develop the dispatchable capacity necessary to protect system reliability and financial sustainability” prior to completing the 2024 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).  Resolution 11-23 makes clear that Management’s intention is to proceed with a new fracked gas/methane power plant in the near future.  Such a plant would cost at least $239 Million.  The PRPA should not make such a large investment decision without a more thorough vetting of alternatives than has been done to date.

The IRP should be completed, and subjected to outside review by expert agencies such as the CSU Energy Institute and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.  PRPA has one of the most ambitious non-carbon goals in the nation, and it makes sense for it to avail itself of these resources in order to achieve a non-carbon electricity supply as close to 2030 as possible, at the lowest possible cost to ratepayers.

Please exercise your oversight authority on behalf of both the PRPA and the ratepayers in Fort Collins, Longmont, Loveland, and Estes Park.  No new power plant should be developed before the 2024 IRP has been completed and thoroughly reviewed.

Sincerely,

Your Name

Your Address

Add your Voice in Support of  H. Res. 786 – Calling for Immediate De-escalation and Cease-fire in Israel and Occupied Palestine

From MoveOn Civic Action: “The recent violence against civilians by Hamas and the military response led by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has already killed over 3,300 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis, and wounded thousands more, with hundreds of people held hostage and hundreds more missing.

If you’re heartbroken, you are not alone. We can hold space in our hearts to mourn these deaths, while also calling on U.S. policymakers to use their power to do everything they can to stop all further loss of innocent lives, no matter the identity.”

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Missouri), joined by 14 morally courageous representatives,  has introduced the Ceasefire Now Resolution  (HR 786) urging President Biden to push for and facilitate a ceasefire and deescalation of the conflict and promptly send and facilitate the entry of humanitarian assistance into Gaza. 

 “War and retaliatory violence do not achieve accountability or justice; they only lead to more death and human suffering,” Bush added. “The United States bears a unique responsibility to exhaust every diplomatic tool at our disposal to prevent mass atrocities and save lives. We can’t bomb our way to peace, equality, and freedom. With thousands of lives lost and millions more at stake, we need a ceasefire now.”

Click here to sign the petition to demand that everything possible be done to stop all loss of innocent lives.  (petition from MoveOn Civic Action)

Vote in Upcoming Fort Collins Municipal Elections; NCALF “Voters Guide”

Ballots for the Fort Collins municipal elections will be mailed to people the week of October 16th.  Fort Collins residents will be voting for Mayor and for council district seats 2, 4, and 6.  They will also be voting on several ballot questions, including two that would increase taxes to pay for city services.

As a 501(c)3 organization, NCALF cannot endorse or oppose candidates for City Council, but we have gathered candidate responses to a questionnaire we circulated in September and October. Additionally, we have taken a position on one of the two tax questions.  Candidate questionnaire results and our position on the tax question are provided below.

Questionnaire Results – Mayoral Race

Questionnaire Results – Council District 2

Questionnaire Results – Council District 4

Questionnaire Results – Council District 6

City Initiated Ballot Issue 1: NCALF SUPPORTS.  A “yes” vote would increase the sales tax rate 0.5% to fund parks and recreation facilities, the climate program, and the transit program.  The City estimates that a family of four would see their sales taxes increase by an average of $156 per year.  NCALF notes that this tax increase would not fully fund the City’s climate or transit programs, and advocates that additional “polluter pays” taxes be developed later to help pay for these programs.

City Initiated Ballot Issue 2:   NCALF was unable to develop a consensus position on this issue.  A “yes” vote would increase the property tax rate by 3 mills to increase funding for City affordable housing initiatives.  We do note that Coloradans voted to dedicate 0.1% of income tax revenue to affordable housing programs by approving Proposition 123 in 2022.

Ask our PRPA Board Members: Is a New Fracked Gas Plant Really Necessary?

The Platte River Power Authority (PRPA) provides electricity to Fort Collins, Longmont, Loveland, and Estes Park.  PRPA made headlines in 2018 when it committed to achieving a 100% fossil fuel-free resource mix by 2030.  Now, PRPA management wants to build a new fracked gas/methane power plant that would remain in operation for decades.

Our two PRPA board members – Mayor Jeni Arndt and Utilities Director Kendall Minor – need to ask PRPA management some hard questions before considering approval of any new fossil fuel-based power plant at this stage of the climate crisis.  Please send Arndt and Minor an e-message to express your desire for answers to those questions.  Their e-addresses are jarndt@fcgov.com and kminor@fcgov.com, respectively.  You can use the sample e-message below, or write your own.  Please send your message by Wednesday, September 27th, which is the day before the next PRPA board meeting.

Dear Mayor Arndt and Utilities Director Minor –

I am deeply troubled that PRPA management is asking you to approve moving forward with developing a new fracked gas/methane plant before even completing its 2024 Integrated Resource Plan.

The climate crisis is upon us.  PRPA has a goal of 100% non-carbon electricity by 2030, and U.N. Secretary General has called on all developed countries to achieve this goal by 2035.  Given these facts, it is of the utmost importance to understand why PRPA wants to rush to build a new methane plant that would remain in operation for decades.

Before considering approval of any new fossil fuel plant, you should ask PRPA management the following questions, and insist on clear, well documented answers:

  1. Why can’t the PRPA’s existing methane turbines be used to meet the demand for electricity when wind, solar, and hydropower resources aren’t sufficient to meet that demand?
  2. Why can’t the existing coal plant – which will be shut down at the end of 2029 – be reconfigured to run on methane when wind, solar, and hydropower resources aren’t sufficient to meet system demands?
  3. Has the PRPA considered installing long-duration batteries such as those being installed by Xcel in order to bridge any gaps in generation capacity? If not, why not?
  4. Distributed energy resources – such as solar panels and batteries – can be aggregated to form a “virtual power plant.”  Were distributed energy resources fully accounted for in developing the recommendation for a new methane power plant? If not, why not?
  5. The draft resolution you will consider this Thursday refers to “green hydrogen.”  Although green hydrogen is a zero-carbon fuel, how much of it could realistically be used in the proposed new methane plant?
  6. The draft resolution you will consider this Thursday also refers to “renewable natural gas.”  Although renewable natural gas is a low-carbon fuel, how much of it could realistically be used in the proposed new methane plant?
  7. What was the bidding process for hiring Black and Veatch, a corporation that installs methane power plants, to study the need for more generating capacity? Will Black and Veatch be barred from bidding on designing and building the new power plant?

Given the urgency of the climate crisis, it’s critical that no stone be left unturned to ensure that there is truly no alternative to building a new fossil-fuel generating plant that will remain in service for decades.  I look forward to hearing back from you with answers from PRPA management to the above questions.

Sincerely,

Your name

Your address

Note: For more information on the proposed methane power plant, see pages 188-191 of the meeting packet for the September 28th PRPA board meeting.

Your Help Needed to Phase Out New Fracking Permits by 2030

The coalition “Safe and Healthy Colorado” is attempting to place an initiative on the 2024 state ballot that would phase out all new fracking permits by 2030.  This is an “all hands on deck” effort for those in Colorado who want to do their part to avert climate catastrophe.  If that includes you, please consider doing the following three things:

  1. Learn all about the initiative and pledge to sign the petition to get it on the ballot here.  Please note that petition signature gathering will begin in early 2024.
  2. If you can contribute now toward the legal costs needed to get the ballot language approved, please click here.
  3. Signature-gathering will not begin until Safe and Healthy Colorado has received $1.5 million in pledges toward the campaign.  If you can make such a pledge – to be paid once the $1.5 million has been raised – please click here.

Thank you for your support for this critical effort!

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