Northern Colorado Alliance for a Livable Future

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

Ask City Council to Stop the Sale of Small Single-use Water Bottles

Please ask your City Council member to support a measure to stop the sale of single-use water bottles under a gallon. Now is the time to reduce Single-use plastics (SUPs) here in Fort Collins! The Cities of Frisco, Breckenridge and Telluride have already done this. FoCo Trash Mob has done the research and laid the groundwork for our City Council (see all that here). Councilmembers are receptive to this idea, but they need to hear from you! Please cc us at focotrashmob@gmail.com and ask for a reply.

Contact your City Council member, and request that they support Refills NOT Landfills. Find your council member here, and feel free to use one or more of the prompts below:

  • 20 sips from a SUP water bottle takes 450 years to decompose. This is not a sustainable equation.
  • 80% of single-use plastic ends up in our landfills.
  • The World Economic Forum notes that plastic production is projected to double in the next 20 years.
  • 40% of the four billion+ pounds of plastic manufactured in the last year was for single-use plastic.
  • The American Water Works Association awarded Fort Collins as having the best water in the Rocky Mt. region and second best in the nation.
  • Bottled water is a significant waste of natural resources, as well as a contributor to climate change given the carbon impact of production and shipping.
  • In the context of the world shifting away from fossil fuels as an energy source, the oil and gas industries are looking at plastic production as their new frontier.
  • Plastic production is basically a subsidy for fracking.
  • Bottled water is NOT safer than tap water. Tap water is more regulated than bottled water as it falls under EPA guidelines.

Tell City Council not to Raise your Gas Franchise Fee!

The Fort Collins Sustainability Group (FCSG) and Community for Sustainable Energy (CforSE) are partnering together to advocate for the City of Fort Collins to adopt a methane fee structure that doesn’t impact residents and helps businesses reduce methane consumption and energy costs.

Currently, everyone in Fort Collins pays a “franchise fee” of 1.07% on their natural gas (methane) bill. This fee is collected by Xcel Energy and returned to the City to use however it pleases. City Council is currently planning to triple that fee to 3.0%, the maximum amount allowed. This fee hike does not need to be approved by voters. Council can do this on their own.

The City estimates the fee increase would bring in an additional $1.3 million per year. Council plans to use these funds to pay for designated climate initiatives. The problem is that almost anything in the City budget can be construed as having a climate impact, so funds from this fee could be diverted to other City priorities.

Fort Collins voters approved a ½% sales tax increase last November for parks and recreation, transit, and climate programs. Both the sales tax and the franchise fee are regressive: low and middle-income people will pay a larger portion of their incomes for these charges than higher income people and businesses. Council waited until after the tax passed to consider raising the fee. Would voters have approved the tax if the fee were raised first?

Fortunately, there is a better alternative to help pay for reducing pollution than increasing everyone’s heating bills. The City could instead adopt a “Large Methane User Fee” of 5% or more on methane use above a threshold that would only apply only to large commercial and industrial customers who use significant amounts of methane. Unlike the City’s proposed franchise fee increase, this type of fee is legally required to be used to the benefit of those businesses impacted. The funds could not be diverted to other City projects.

Funds raised by the Large Methane User Fee could be directed back to the businesses to help cover up front capital expenses to electrify their systems and increase efficiency.  These actions save businesses money over time, and help the City reduce pollution and meet its climate goals.

For more background on the Large Methane User Fee proposal, check out this post on the FCSG’s website.

Please write a short, personalized email to Mayor Jeni Arndt and City Council:

To: CityCouncil@fcgov.com

Cc: cforse.fred@gmail.com

Tell them that you:

  • Do NOT want to the City to increase your natural gas franchise fee,
  • And want the City to instead adopt a “Large Methane User Fee” to help businesses fund their reduction of methane use.

Say whatever else you like. Feel free to use the above talking points. Please CC us and ask for a reply.

Thank you!

Tell City Council: Climate Program Spending Should Benefit the Climate

Last November, Fort Collins approved increasing the sales tax by 0.5% to benefit climate, transit, and parks and recreation programs.  Half of the increased revenue will go to parks and recreation programs, while one quarter will go to climate and transit programs, respectively

City Council will consider how to spend the increased revenue this year at its meeting on May 7th.  Overall, the proposed climate budget offers will reduce climate pollution by less than a tenth of one percent by 2030, so they’re not exactly needle-movers.  The performance of the overall package is made worse by the inclusion of several big ticket items that will have very little impact on climate pollution, including two offers from the Parks and Recreation Department.  Those two offers – upgrading exterior lighting at recreation centers and buying electric utility carts – will cost over $1,300 per ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) reduced.  Compare that to the cost-effectiveness of proposed bicycle infrastructure improvements of less than $60 per ton of CO2 reduced.

The Parks and Recreation Department is already getting the lion’s share of the increased sales tax revenue.  If it wants new exterior lighting and electric utility carts, it should pay for those things directly instead of getting them funded through the climate program.  The new climate program revenue should not be treated as a piggy bank for other departments – least of all the Parks and Recreation Department – to use to accomplish their goals without a strong climate justification.

Please write a letter to City Councilmembers at CityCouncil@fcgov.com asking them to cut climate program budget offers that don’t cost-effectively reduce climate pollution in order to free up funds for offers that WILL have a clear climate benefit.  Short letters – like the following example – are whats needed:

Dear Mayor and Councilmembers –

New tax money approved by voters last November to benefit climate programs should be used wisely.  That revenue should not be treated as a piggy bank for other departments to get what they want absent a strong climate justification.

Please remove climate budget offers that cost an exorbitant amount per ton of climate pollution reduced such as the offers to upgrade exterior lighting at recreational facilities and buy new electric utility carts – from further consideration.  Use that money instead to fund offers that will truly help us reduce climate pollution in our community, such as more energy efficiency assistance grants and more solar at City facilities.

Sincerely,

Your Name

Your Address

For more information on the City’s interim climate budget offers, please see this post and this post on the Fort Collins Sustainability Group’s website.  The second post includes an attachment that shows the cost-effectiveness of all measures proposed that will reduce climate pollution directly.

Renew Call for Fort Collins Gaza Ceasefire Resolution

The NCALF board has renewed its call for the Fort Collins City Council to approve a Gaza ceasefire resolution, based on the killing of the World Central Kitchen aid workers earlier this month and the response by key national figures in the U.S.  We recently sent the following letter to City Council, and ask that people amplify the message.  Short e-mails to councilmembers would be helpful, as would public comment at the Council meeting on Tuesday, April 16th.  You can write to councilmembers at CityCouncil@fcgov.com.  If you are able to speak on April 16th, be sure to register here.

Thank you!

April 15th, 2024

Dear Mayor Arndt and Councilmembers Gutowsky, Pignataro, Canonico, Potyondy, Ohlson, and Francis –

The Northern Colorado Alliance for a Livable Future (NCALF) board renews its call for City Council to approve a Gaza ceasefire resolution.  We ask you to reconsider your previous decision not to move forward with such a resolution based on the following facts:

More and more national figures are recognizing the egregiousness of the IDF’s behavior in Gaza.  It is time for the Fort Collins City council to do likewise and call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire.

As others have pointed out, there is a recent precedent for the Council calling for a ceasefire in a foreign conflict: the resolution it approved on April 5th, 2022 endorsing “any and all actions encouraging a ceasefire” in Ukraine.  We note that by many measures, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is even more severe than the one in Ukraine, both in 2022 and now.  In Ukraine, approximately 31,000 soldiers and 11,000 civilians have been killed since the Russian invasion in February of 2022.  Those deaths represent 0.1% of Ukraine’s population of 41 million people.  In Gaza, over 33,000 people have been killed since the Israeli invasion in October 2023.  Those deaths represent 1.4% of Gaza’s population of 2.4 million people, or proportionally 14 times as many as have died in Ukraine.  Additionally, the majority of those killed in Gaza have been women and children.

The Fort Collins City Council must reclaim its moral voice by calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.  Failing to do so would raise serious questions about how this Council decides which people are worthy of its sympathy.

Finally, we remind this Council that it referred the question of a ceasefire resolution to the Human Relations Commission (HRC) in early February, and that the HRC unanimously recommended that City Council move forward with such a resolution.  To date, that recommendation has not even been publicly discussed by Council.  This disregard of a City commission’s work sends the wrong message to its members and to other people who either are serving or who might consider serving on a City board or commission in the future.  At least discussing the HRC’s recommendation would be an important step toward restoring the public trust that has been lost by Council over this issue.

Once again, we ask you to do what is right by discussing and approving a Gaza ceasefire resolution.  The people of Gaza have suffered far too much already.  They deserve all the sympathy and support we can offer to them in this, their darkest hour.

Sincerely,

NORTHERN COLORADO ALLIANCE FOR A LIVABLE FUTURE

Kevin Cross

Board Member

Mark Delorey

Board Member, Treasurer

Sally Dowiatt

Board Member

Sue Ellen Klein

Board Member

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

Page 1 of 4

-->