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Paid for and authorized by Wallach for Council

Boulder, Colorado

The Environment & Municipalization

We must continue our efforts to combat the effects of climate change. We should implement a policy that all new construction should be net zero with respect to energy use. We should encourage development adhering to passive house principles and encourage adaptive reuse, rather than demolition, of existing structures.

Municipalization of our electric utility (Local Electric Utility Development) has been supported and authorized by votes of the people of Boulder several different times. Our citizens have clearly stated that they want to see this process carried through to conclusion, where they can see the actual cost to implement municipalization, and then vote as to whether to proceed. Elections have consequences, and multiple votes by the voters of Boulder must be respected. A new initiative has been approved for circulation in 2020, whose purpose is to nullify that mandate and cancel all efforts to proceed with municipalization. Boulder has voted too many times to move forward on municipalization to justify another referendum, and I do not support it. I believe municipalization will be the most consequential single action we can take to meet our climate action goals, and I trust the people of Boulder to make the proper final decision when they have all the information before them. We must continue on the path we are on.

To be clear, I have not always been a supporter of the muni. As recently as a couple of years ago I was deeply skeptical about our ability to carry off this project, or the benefits it would bring to Boulder. But here is what I have learned since then:

 

  • The sense of urgency over the impacts of climate change has grown, as we have seen its real-time effects in terms of storms, fires, drought and temperature increases.

 

  • I learned more about the unsatisfactory record of Xcel in transitioning to renewable sources of energy and the leisurely timetable (2050!) on which they plan to do it. And that is merely a projection, an unenforceable promise that can be abandoned at any time.

 

  • And I have learned that progressive, environmentally conscious Colorado has a greater degree of reliance on coal for its energy (currently 54%) than 38 of the 50 states. That is not a typo: we rank 39th among the states in the percentage of energy we derive from coal. Even Iowa puts us to shame in their utilization of wind power. We are behind the curve, and behind the times.

 

Remember, we are not exactly inventing the wheel here. More than 25 other Colorado communities own their own electric utilities, including Lyons, Ft. Collins, Estes, Aspen and Colorado Springs. And municipally owned utilities have a record of greater reliability and lower rates than investor owned utilities.

 

We need a new direction, and that is why I now support the muni.

It almost goes without saying that there is no place for fracking in the community of Boulder. Every effort must be made to support our City and County officials in their efforts to protect our communities from this type of development. Other communities in the state may feel differently, but in Boulder there is a consensus that fracking is dangerous to health, dangerous to our environment, and does not belong here.