Energy & Climate

La Plata County has an important role to play in promoting clean energy and significantly reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. For our future and our children’s future we must act now and turn our vision into reality. The oil and gas industry is a critical part of our local economy. As our gas and oil reserves decline, we must be prepared to replace the fossil fuel economy with a renewable energy economy.

If elected, one of my priorities will be to promote renewable energy and significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate change is our most urgent challenge. Science shows that greenhouse gas emissions from developing and burning fossil fuels are changing the climate. The majority of Americans link our crazy weather and record hot temperatures to climate change. Right here in La Plata County we are experiencing more wildfires, changes in snowpack, snowmelt and forest health.

Conservation and efficiency are the most effective and efficient ways we can achieve energy independence and rollback the clock on climate change today.

We need to act today to make sure that our children and grandchildren are not left with climate change impacts – a world with less water, warmer temperatures and diminished public health.

If elected, I am committed to:

  • Working with the oil and gas industry to minimize greenhouse gas emissions from the 3,400 gas wells, pipelines, and compressor facilities in the county.
  • 80% of the greenhouse gas emissions in our county come from the gas wells, associated facilities here and methane seepage from the Fruitland Coal Formation outcrop. Natural gas is mostly methane. Methane is 100 times a more warming greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Cornell University studies caution that the emissions caused during drilling, fracking and through faulty valves and leaking pipelines may be worse for the climate than coal – and call for rigorous monitoring and oversight by the responsible government agencies.
  • The industry has the technology to reduce these emissions. Methane that doesn’t escape from their gas wells and pipelines is money in the bank. It only makes sense. It makes economic sense and makes sense for us to do all we can do to protect public health and the climate.
  • Implementing recommendations from La Plata County’s Climate & Energy Action Plan (CEAP – pronounced “Keep”): Developed in 2011, this plan outlines common sense ideas for decreasing energy consumption, expanding renewable energy use and reducing greenhouse gas emissions at an achievable rate by the year 2050. The CEAP was developed by citizens and officials from La Plata County, the City of Durango and Town of Ignacio.
  • The annual cost savings of implementing CEAP recommendations need to be analyzed to demonstrate the benefit of moving forward with this plan expeditiously.

I will also work to make La Plata County a clean energy role model by:

  • advocating for state policies that increase our renewable energy standard;
  • promoting weatherization programs
  • improving energy efficiency standards in our building codes;
  • requiring new county buildings be built to green standards and updating existing county buildings to cut energy use and increase energy production;
  • supporting the development of “Solar Gardens” to generate clean energy;
  • encouraging the use of electric vehicles;
  • reducing wildfire danger through implementation of defensible space & thinning forests in La Plata County; and,
  • exploring the pros and cons of using of thinned wood for biomass energy production.

All Issue Positions and Bio in one (PDF)
Energy & Climate (PDF)