Sarah Jones: Disagree with editorial | SteamboatToday.com

Sarah Jones: Disagree with editorial

I am writing to voice my disappointment in your opinion piece published Saturday, "Our View: Clean Power Plan bad deal for state."

The Clean Energy Plan represents one external factor that could impact our local coal production and power plants. Other external factors include the price of natural gas and other alternative energy generation, the divestiture from fossil fuels in some of the world's largest pension funds (CalPERS for example) and the current slowdown in China's demand for coal.

To have the editorial board mimic the Colorado Attorney General's opinion is disappointing. Instead of complaining about one external factor that, along with others, our community has little control of, it would be more productive for the board to ask — what we are going to do about it?

With the question, "What are we going to do about it?" I am not asking how we are going to fight the Clean Energy Plan (or the production of natural gas and solar, divestments or the Chinese economy). I am asking how we are going to prepare for an economy that is less dependent on coal production.

As home and business owners, we prepare by controlling our utility cost — through energy conservation and increased efficiency. And as a community, we prepare by asking our leaders — our elected officials, our Chamber and Economic Development Council, our school districts, our local colleges and even our newspaper editorial board, to start the conversation.

What are we going to do about it? How will the reduction in coal production impact our local economy and services provided with their property taxes? What other industries can we bring to Northwest Colorado to provide jobs and diversify our economic base? What education and trainings are needed for those who might lose their jobs?

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For the sake of our community and the economic viability of Northwest Colorado, I hope we have time before all of these factors reduce coal production further. But to focus on criticizing external factors is a distraction and a disappointment.

It is time to focus on what we can control and start our long-term planning accordingly.

Sarah Jones

Yampa Valley Sustainability Council

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