Colorado Governor Signs Clean Energy Legislation

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Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter has signed into law H.B.1365, the Colorado Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act. The bill's main sponsors were Reps. Judy Solano (D-Brighton) and Ellen Roberts (R-Durango) and Sens. Bruce Whitehead (D-Hesperus) and Josh Penry (R-Grand Junction).

The law requires local utility Xcel to cut nitrous oxide emissions by up to 80% from several Front Range coal plants by the end of 2017. Xcel will work with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to submit a plan to the Public Utilities Commission by Aug. 15, detailing how it will retire or retrofit 900 MW of coal-fired capacity. Xcel will give primary consideration to replacing or re-powering those plants with renewable energy, natural gas, energy-efficiency measures and other cleaner energy sources.

The federal Clean Air Act requires Colorado to submit a plan to address regional haze by early next year, or the Environmental Protection Agency will write its own plan for the state. The Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act will allow investor-owned utilities like Xcel Energy to help craft their own plans for how to meet new regional haze guidelines, as well as new mandates for ozone, mercury and carbon dioxide in one comprehensive analysis that will minimize costs and maximize emissions reductions, the governor's office says.

Several environmental organizations also were involved in advancing the act, including Environmental Defense, Western Resource Advocates and Environment Colorado.

SOURCE: Office of Gov. Bill Ritter

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