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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

April 19, 2010

David Graham-Caso
213-387-6528 x214

Gov. Ritter Signs Bill to Move Colorado Beyond Coal
Clean Air, Clean Jobs Bill “a Model for State Legislatures Across the Country”

(DENVER, CO) – The Sierra Club today celebrated the approval of the landmark “Clean Air, Clean Jobs” bill.  House Bill 1365, signed into law by Governor Bill Ritter Jr. this morning, will significantly improve air quality in Colorado by converting several outdated coal-fired power plants in Colorado’s Front Range to cleaner energy sources.  Coal-fired power is one of the dirtiest and most dangerous sources of energy available today and bill addresses those problems while creating sustainable family-wage careers.

“This is an important step toward securing the clean energy economy that will power the future of our country,” said Roger Singer, Regional Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.  “This bill is proof we can create good jobs through the development of the same clean energy technologies that will transition our country away from coal.  This bill will hopefully serve as a model for state legislatures across the country to create jobs by taking on the serious problems presented by coal-fired power.”

The Clean Air, Clean Jobs bill is the result of an agreement reached by Governor Ritter, Xcel Energy and other local stakeholders to create jobs and significantly improve Colorado’s air quality.  One of the greatest threats to air quality in Colorado is the emission of nitrogen oxide (NOx) from coal-fired power plants.  The Clean Air, Clean Jobs bill will reduce NOx emissions by 80% by 2017 by transitioning away from coal-fired power to cleaner sources of energy.  Cleaner sources of energy won’t just reduce pollution; they will create new green jobs in the design and construction trades and in plant operations.

“Thanks to Governor Ritter’s efforts and the strong bi-partisan support of state legislators working with utilities and conservation groups, Coloradans will be able to breathe a little easier,” said Singer.  “Coal pollution is extremely dangerous, both to human health and to the environment.  This legislation will help move Colorado away from a reliance on coal.”

According to a recent report issued by Physicians for Social Responsibility, coal pollutants affect all major body organ systems and contribute to four of the five leading causes of death in the United States.  In addition, coal pollutants are the principle culprits in the smog and haze which mar otherwise pristine landscapes across the country.

The Clean Air, Clean Jobs bill signing comes just after the state set the second highest renewable energy state standard in the nation.  Earlier this year, the Colorado legislature and Governor Ritter approved an increase in the state’s renewable portfolio standard for investor-owned electric utilities from 20% to 30% by 2020.  

“From solar to wind and biomass, there is incredible potential for renewable energy resources available in Colorado,” said Singer.  “We can create good jobs and get power from safer and healthier sources at the same time.  The Sierra Club is excited that Colorado has the leaders that the state will need to help achieve this important objective.”

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