Clean energy is an upfront topic on many politicians’ lists. Ambitious production goals for alternative energy flood political news and are on the forefront of campaign platforms. Colorado’s own lawmakers upped the state’s goal for renewable energy to 30 percent by 2020 and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff promises 50 percent by 2030. But when action begins, clean energy is met with a slew of passionate resistance founded in green and personal livelihood concerns.
Telluride is the location for a proposed new uranium mill. Not only does the mill follow the alternative energy push, it would provide new jobs and possibly resuscitation of neighboring towns. Yet, the proposal doesn’t sound so sweet to some neighbors and green advocates.
“Do you have the courage to protect people like me?” says businessman Dan Chancellor, who lives 60 miles west of the proposed Piñon Ridge uranium mill near Naturita. Chancellor is not the only concerned nearby resident and its not just for the uranium mill. Similar concerns are a pattern of most new safe energy projects, from solar to wind energy and most other alternative proposals.
Karen Alderman Harbert, president and chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institutte for 21st Century Energy recently surveyed all the U.S. energy projects seeking licensing and sitting approval and found 380 stalled or canceled “as a result of the abuse of the environmental permitting process.”
In addition to environmental concerns, neighboring residents such as Chancellor, organize together to express compelling concerns about their views, their air and their quality of life. Lawsuits can fallow and lately the opinion of residents falls into “Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone” according to the Denver Post.
Although not all projects are delayed, the passionate views of a select few individuals are certainly creating difficult barriers for the alternative energy goals. Efforts are being made, but the opposition is just as strong.