Empower the vision
Voting no on 2C is not just about the Xcel franchise. It is a reaffirmation of a commitment to our energy future. It is a stand that we will go forward, not backward. Forward to an exciting future that will draw on the innovations that are now entering into the marketplace and those yet to come. A future in which Boulder has 100% renewable electricity by 2030. A future that welcomes electric vehicles with supporting infrastructure within the city. A future in which electric vehicles not only transport us, but also provide storage of renewable electricity. Storage that can be used to power our homes. A future where a city-wide fiber network communicates with microgrids within the city to move electric power efficiently through its distribution grid and can re-route power when failures occur. And where rates are communicated in real time to smart appliances and charging stations to encourage consumption in times of power abundance and discourage when supplies are diminished. All operating under a local authority whose priorities are those of the community. Where there is no profit on the sale of electricity, where revenues in excess of costs are used to enhance the electrical infrastructure, subsidize energy efficiency improvements, increase renewable energy production and ensure the equitable sharing of the benefits of this enterprise among all of Boulder’s residents. All this while we, as a community, reduce our greenhouse gas production by steadily moving to electrify our transportation, our heating and our cooling systems.
That is my vision of Boulder’s energy future. That is the legacy I want us to leave to future generations of Boulder. That is why I am voting No on 2C.
Astro-turfing and Xcel
After the smokiest day in two months of smoky days, I feel compelled to introduce the reader to a new trend in public propaganda called “astro-turfing.” Astro-turfing is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participants. Supporters of Ballot Issue 2C, our community decision on whether or not to tie ourselves to Xcel for another generation, have presented our community with a classic case of astro-turfing.
There is no doubt that Xcel is the primary contributor to our climate emergency by virtue of the way it produces and sources electricity. At the same time, it is the primary benefactor of what 2C supporters’ PR agency has cleverly deemed “The Great Green Deal.” Supporters ridiculously assert that Xcel will get us to our climate goals faster. In fact, whether we’re in or out of franchise, Xcel will continue to embrace advances in renewable energy at the same plodding pace. In fact, its commitment in this franchise agreement to provide 80% GHG emission reductions by 2030 is no better than is already required by state law.
In astro-turfing, as with other propaganda techniques, one need only follow the money. In this case, it’s easy to understand that Xcel would not want to lose the over $20 million in profits it gets from Boulder annually.
The climate imperative for continuing to pursue a 100% renewable electricity future is huge and very real, and the current financial case for local power is compelling. To get the real scoop, please visit empowerourfuture.org/local-power-financial-analysis/
Roll back the astro-turf and get back to grassroots. Vote No on 2C.
On fires and water
The CalWood and the Lefthand Canyon Fires have impacted our community. I want to extend my thoughts and prayers to those who have lost their homes and have been evacuated. I also want to thank our first responders who have stepped up to keep us safe. The immediate and long-term impacts of these fires are significant. Both fires are burning close to the creeks that provide us with safe drinking water. As soon as the fires are out, we need to begin post-fire recovery work to ensure our water supplies continue to be clean and reliable.
Protecting our communities and water supplies from wildfire impacts and mitigating future fires requires funding. Today, we lack the resources at a local level to undertake many of these activities. Many disaster recovery resources are managed at a state or federal level and are meant for emergency response, not long-term resilience. However, we have an opportunity to increase local funding for the St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District that would go directly toward activities like post-wildfire recovery and pre-wildfire mitigation to protect us from future wildfires.
Ballot question 7A will fund the District’s 5-Point Water Action Plan to protect forests that are critical to water supplies, restore and maintain our creeks and safeguard our drinking water. This new funding can be used to leverage outside grants to protect our watershed. The District has and continues to protect our clean water and healthy creeks. Wildfires will never go away, but we can do more together as a community to prepare for their impacts and protect ourselves and our water supplies.
Christopher Smith, General Manager, Left Hand Water District