Gail SchwartzAttention Gail Schwartz: The coal industry in Colorado was dealt a nasty blow and it’s not just the fault of the marketplace and natural gas, but government over-regulation and your buddies at WildEarth Guardians.

The coal-fired Nucla Station owned by Tri-State and Generation Transmission Association will shut down for good in 2022 and Craig Station’s Unit 1 will shutter in 2025. Hundreds of jobs will be lost.

Tri-State CEO Mike McInnes held a community meeting in Craig last week to address local concerns about this agreement reached with WildEarth Guardians as well as state and federal regulators.

McInnes said the goal in negotiating the agreement was to provide Craig and Moffat County with ample time to plan for the retirement and transition.

“My main focus was to try and extend, to the extent possible, the amount of time that both our employees and you as a community would have to make that transition,” he said.

In her debate with U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton at Club 20 last week, Schwartz tried to defend her record against the coal industry by blaming others:

“The war on coal is natural gas, and it’s the marketplace,” Schwartz told The Durango Herald before the debate.

But this battle was primarily lost due to the Colorado Visibility and Regional Haze State Implementation Plan — government regulations that proved too costly for Tri-State to implement. So the result was to shut down the coal-powered plants.

“It was a hard decision to make,” McInnes said. “We have been upgrading the unit, we have been making it more efficient each year.”

McInnes said Tri-State could not overcome the obstacles facing Unit 1, but it had not turned its back on coal.

“We will be supportive of the coal industry,” he said. “We will be fighting against unneeded regulation — all in an effort to deliver reliable and affordable power to our members.”

To aid in the fight against over-regulation and in favor of keeping jobs and the lights on, vote Republican this November, especially for Scott Tipton.