In November, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) ruled that several coal and gas plants must be retired no later than Dec. 28, 2028 — earlier than the initially planned date. According to EPA calculations, early retirement of the Craig 3, Nixon, and Rawhide coal plants could equal taking 1.3 million cars off the road for an entire year in terms of carbon reduction. If these three units, along with coal plants Hayden 1 and 2, were retired early, Coloradans could save approximately $68 million, and reduce nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide emissions.

While this ruling was a grand success for Colorado communities, public lands, and air, coal utilities have already successfully worked to stop it. On Dec. 16, the AQCC voted to reverse its decision to retire three coal plants by 2028; the AQCC also voted to reverse a November request to the Air Pollution Control Division to shutter the Hayden coal units 1 and 2 by 2028. Xcel Energy, Tri-State G&T, Colorado Springs Utilities, and Platte River Power Authority are primarily responsible for the AQCC’s reversal.

After a summer of record-breaking wildfires, Coloradans understand the dire threat of air pollution and climate change. As a young student concerned deeply for the future, I encourage you to contact the AQCC and let them know your support for retiring coal plants by 2028. Colorado can no longer lag in its efforts to move away from coal, and utilities only make the transition to clean energy proceed slower.

Soleil Gaylord