Pushing the gas pedal

Like Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, we’re encouraged by the proposal announced last week by Gov. Bill Ritter that would promote the use of Colorado’s natural gas to reduce Front Range air pollution.

Penry made it clear he is awaiting further details before announcing whether he will support the proposal, and that’s understandable. But what has been released to date is promising.

The proposed legislation would require Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest electricity retailer, to either close a number of coal-fired electric generating plants on the Front Range or convert them to natural gas by 2017. The aim is to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions and other pollutants that contribute to Front Range haze and impact places such as Rocky Mountain National Park.

The conversion to natural gas generation could provide a substantial expansion of the market for natural gas produced here.

We hope when further details of the plan are released and the legislation is introduced, they will generate broad public and political support and the measure can move forward with few obstacles.


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