Headlines March 18, 2022
Colorado PUC approves Xcel Energy Rate Increase – Two More Increases Pending
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a $182 million rate hike on Wednesday for electric customers of Xcel Energy, the state’s largest utility.
Residential customers of the utility will see their bills go up by $5.24 a month or a 6.4% increase starting in April.
According to the Colorado Sun, the commission’s acceptance of the rate increase stems from negotiations that included participation from the Colorado Utility Consumer Advocate and Energy Outreach Colorado, a nonprofit organization that assists low-income households pay their utility bills.
The utility has also filed for a natural gas rate increase and a temporary rate increase to recoup $550 million in costs caused by a February 2021 severe winter storm.
The Colorado Sun reports the three rate cases combined could raise an average Xcel utility bill to just over $16 by the end of this year.
Clear Creek County Commissioners Approve A Name Change For Mount Evans
On Tuesday, Commissioners in Clear Creek County voted in favor of renaming Mount Evans to Mount Blue Sky.
The original name for the mountain came from John Evans, who was the second Governor of the territory of Colorado. As Governor, Evans allowed the murder of over 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho people during the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864.
In order to honor the Cheyenne and Arapaho people, petitioners selected Mount Blue Sky, which is both the name of a Cheyenne renewal of life ceremony and another name for the Arapaho tribe. The Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes and the Wilderness Society submitted a petition with this name change.
Rocky Mountain PBS reports that the vote taken by Clear Creek County commissioners is the first step in the renaming process. Following this initial vote, the state naming board, Governor Jared Polis, and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names will need to approve the proposal in order for the name change to become official.
Advocacy Groups Appeal Court Decision Dropping Their Suit Challenging Trail Connection To Rocky Flats
Local groups Physicians for Social Responsibility Colorado, the Environmental Information Network, and biologist Harvey Nichols announced yesterday they have filed an appeal on a lower court decision that dismissed their lawsuit challenging Boulder’s funding of an underpass trail connection to Rocky Flats.
The groups claim that the Boulder City Council should have considered alternatives and held a public hearing before funding a trail connection to Rocky Flats, a former nuclear weapon site, which they say will endanger the public.
According to the groups’ press release, the lower court dismissed the lawsuit because the plaintiffs did not show sufficient connection to and harm from the action challenged and did not have jurisdiction to sue the Boulder City Council.
The plaintiffs argue Boulder’s actions denied them access to crucial information about potential dangers and that the plaintiffs have legal standing as some members live close to Rocky Flats.
Teachers From A Colorado Charter School Network Rally In Support Of Union
A group of about 30 educators and community members rallied outside of the New America School’s Lakewood campus Wednesday evening calling for board members to recognize the union they have been working to form since October 2020.
Demonstrators told The Colorado Sun that the union would ensure teachers have more say over pay, learning and working conditions, and grievances. According to demonstrators, the network of three metro area charter schools has been unresponsive to the union.
After meeting in a closed executive session on Wednesday, board members said they would decide whether to recognize the union by April.
If the union formation succeeds, it would be the first of its kind for charter schools in Colorado.
New America School, which Gov. Jared Polis helped form in 2004, is a network of three charter schools serving around 530 students, many of whom are recent immigrants or non-traditional students. The charter employs 65 employees and operates campuses in Aurora, Lakewood and Thorton.
Longmont Citizen Group Sues Over Costco
Residents and Workers for a Safe Longmont sued Longmont City Council this week over the conditional approval of a development catered to the retail giant Costco.
Jon Kanas, a member of the group suing Longmont, told the Longmont Leader that the city bypassed usual development safeguards to lure the retail giant and gave away citizen tax dollars unnecessarily. The lawsuit alleges that Longmont’s economy does not warrant the project’s incentives or size.
The group is also claiming the city granted the project without proper review and the site plan and that it violates code requirements. City officials and Costco declined to comment on the lawsuit.