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HB10-1365: How News Orgs Covered Signing Of Natural-Gas Bill

Gov. Bill Ritter signed HB10-1365 on Monday. Here’s how news organzations covered the bill signing.

The Durango Herald: Flanked by two Southwest Colorado legislators, Gov. Bill Ritter on Monday signed into law a bill that could trade coal power plants for natural gas-powered ones.
In a morning ceremony in front of the Capitol, Ritter signed House Bill 1365, by Rep. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, and Sen. Bruce Whitehead, D-Hesperus. The other sponsors were Rep. Judy Solano, D-Brighton, and Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction. Ritter’s office hatched the plan, along with Front Range utility Xcel Energy. “It’s the crescendo of all we’ve done, the capstone of all we’ve done,” said Ritter, who has made clean energy his signature issue.

The Denver Post: (Ritter) He was surrounded by the unlikely parties that had banded together to pass House Bill 1365. “This is clearly a diverse, partisan — excuse me, bipartisan group of people,” Ritter said, paused and laughed. “My one chance to say ‘bipartisan’ and I blew it.” The bill sailed through the legislature in 17 days despite stiff opposition from the coal industry and its allies. “The naysayers said there was no way environmentalists, gas companies and a giant utility company could work together,” Ritter said. “The naysayers said there was no way a Republican like Josh Penry and a Democrat like Bill Ritter could work on something so progressive.

Craig Daily Press: There was little celebration among coal miners in Craig. Michael Kirby, an electrician at Colowyo Coal Co., said if he could have been at the bill signing, he would have given Ritter “an earful.” “Not only are you going to cut out jobs instantly when you pass a bill like that, but I don’t think they actually researched what it takes to convert these power plants,” Kirby said. “The cost is going to come right down to who is going to pay for it, which is going to be the consumer. “It’s a lose-lose battle.”

KDVR: Supporters of this bill tried to lay down a plan to improve air quality standards ahead of looming federal mandates. “It lets us get ahead of the federal government before they impose a one-size-fits-all federal mandate on the state of Colorado,” Ritter said. But opponents have said that supporters made too much of the EPA threat in order to grease the rails for a heavily lobbied bill that gives natural gas an obvious and unfair over coal.

KUNC: Colorado’s natural gas industry got a boost this week when Governor Bill Ritter signed a key piece of legislation that will force the state’s largest utility to retrofit several coal plants into cleaner burning natural gas facilities. The bill is dubbed as the Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act, but not everyone thinks it will lead to either.

Associated Press: Colorado is pushing its largest utility toward using more natural gas to cut power plant emissions in the Denver area under a new law backed by environmentalists and the gas industry.
Gov. Bill Ritter signed the bill into law Monday while surrounded by representatives of the unlikely alliance who now hope to persuade other states or even Congress to rely more on natural gas to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases. Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy Inc. also backed the new law, which lawmakers rushed to pass to head off expected stricter federal emissions rules and to boost natural gas drilling. The coal industry, which spent nearly $2 million opposing Colorado’s legislation, called the law a gas giveaway and said it would cost hundreds of jobs in mines, on the railroads that move the coal, and at coal-power plants, which are more labor intensive than gas-fired ones.

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