Governor: Colorado on right path for energy economy

COLORADO - Governor Bill Ritter says Colorado is on the right path to develop its energy economy.

Ritter said he and other Western governors agree that job creation, energy issues, wildlife protection and climate change are related and that the states need to work together.

"Colorado is on the right path, the path of protecting our natural resources," Ritter said by phone from Park City, Utah, where a three-day meeting of the Western Governors' Association is wrapping up.

"It really ensures we have health and safe and clean communities," he said.

Ritter said one big issue still unresolved is the placement of transmission lines to get renewable energy from solar and wind farms to consumers.

In a recently released report, the Western Governors' Association, which represents 19 Western states and American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, identified 54 "energy hubs," areas with renewable energy potential across the Western U.S. and Canada.

Delivering the kinds of power loads those areas might generate will require an upgrade in the existing transmission system and the likely need for creating new transmission corridors, while protecting the environment.

The Obama administration and Western governors signed a signed a memorandum of understanding to protect important wildlife habitat in the West during energy development.

Ritter said he also expressed support to the Environmental Protection Agency for its attempts to get an appeals board to allow the agency to reconsider an air permit issued last year for a planned coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation in northwestern New Mexico.

Regional EPA officials want to reconsider the parts of the permit for the $3 billion Desert Rock Energy Project that were appealed by the state of New Mexico and environmentalists.

The appeal cited concerns about air quality, carbon dioxide emissions and violations of the Endangered Species Act.

Ritter said pollution from the plant threatens air quality in the Four Corners region and should be reviewed.



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