Waters right choice for District 3

To the editor,
Bill Waters is the right person for LPEA’s District 3 Board seat. Bill, a Durango native and successful businessman, is experienced, rational and will make sound decisions. Bill understands the value of renewables and the need to protect our environment, but he also understands the need for balance and diversity of generating options to assure maximum reliability and affordability.

If you attend LPEA monthly Board meetings, you may see Bill’s opponent, Jeff Berman, as disruptive. In contrast, Bill is team oriented and constructive. Jeff in a recent letter to LPEA District 3 voters says 90 percent of your energy comes from coal. Not true. Tri State’s February data shows that 69 percent came from coal.  Nineteen percent came from renewables. Generation from renewables has been 24 percent or higher in previous months.

Jeff says renewables are often cheaper than fossil fuels and result in only 1 percent higher rates.  Not true. The latest U.S. Energy Information Administration outlook for electricity rates in 2018 shows fossil fuels are less expensive – natural gas at 6.5¢/kWh and coal at 10¢/kWh. By comparison, solar PV is 14.4¢/kWh, solar thermal is 26.1¢/kWh, wind is 8.6¢/kWh, and geothermal is 9¢/kWh. Solar PV in 2018, even with four more years of innovation, is projected to be 120 percent more expensive than natural gas and 44 percent more expensive than coal.

We need to move forward with renewables, but with an honest, accurate and realistic understanding of their costs and how they affect rates. Jeff’s role in energy efficiency programs? Most were under way before he arrived. His criticism of fellow Board members as being old guard conservatives? Is he referring to the organic farmers and ranchers on the LPEA Board – all hard-working, successful businessmen who respect the environment and are good stewards of their land?4

Jeff’s failed sunflower business cost taxpayers and local investors millions. Bill Waters’ respect for earth and environment equates to his love and respect for his community. You will never see Bill sitting out his Pledge of Allegiance to his country. This may be the most important election in LPEA history. Please vote for Bill Waters.
– Dave Nulton, Durango

Joe Wheeling is vital to LPEA

To the editor,
I would like to point out some facts that are extremely important for everyone to know in advance of the coming LPEA elections.  Joe Wheeling is more than a local director, he is LPEA’s representative to Tri-State Generation and Transmission – the electricity generation company with which LPEA has a long-term (35-year) wholesale power contract to purchase power for all members. If he leaves the LPEA Board, it would take years to get someone up to speed to replace him not only at LPEA, but more importantly at Tri-State. I suppose his opponent is a nice person, but if members want what is best for LPEA, they would not be trying to replace Joe.

Tri-State is made up of 44 co-ops. It supplies LPEA with 95 percent of our electricity. LPEA purchases all its electricity, it does not produce any. About 70 percent of LPEA’s electricity expense goes to Tri-State so you can see the decisions made at Tri-State have a huge impact on rates. The 44 co-ops that make up Tri-State are very diverse in size and makeup. And just to set the record straight, as is noted in Tri-State’s audited financial statements, 23 percent of its electricity production portfolio is renewable generation – and they’re working to increase that.    

Not everyone has the ability to understand the complexities of operating a multi-billion (with a B) dollar company. If Joe was defeated in the LPEA election, it would have a huge impact on LPEA. Joe serves on the Executive Committee at Tri-State. It took a long time for him to build the trust from that board to the point that they knew he had the knowledge and experience to serve in that position.

I hope everyone can understand how important Joe Wheeling is to LPEA. Ballots will be mailed May 1. Please mail yours in and show your support for Joe Wheeling.

This is my sole opinion and is in no way meant to  insinuate the LPEA Board as a whole has endorsed this letter.
– Davin Montoya, Hesperus

Berman is state’s energy future

Dear Editor:
I was alarmed to read in recent letters to the editor the attacks on 10-year LPEA Board member Jeff Berman.  Jeff is an expert in his position and a dedicated member of the LPEA Board who works hard for his community. He should be re-elected to the Board for District 3 when ballots are mailed the first week of May.

As an electrical engineer, Jeff is one of the most professionally qualified members of the LPEA Board. His training and experience in the solar industry are invaluable assets to the Board and our community, not a conflict of interest as Jeff’s opponents on the Board have insinuated. No doubt, if an LPEA candidate were a former coal-fired power plant engineer, supporters of coal power would view that as an asset to the LPEA Board. Jeff is an advocate for renewable energy, in part, because those resources are the future of electricity generation in Colorado. We need Board members who can help position LPEA for the future of energy, and no current member is more qualified than Jeff Berman.

The attacks on Jeff, including the insinuation that he is conflicted by involvement in the solar energy industry, are not about Jeff’s record or qualifications. By any measure, he is supremely qualified and highly engaged in his position on the LPEA Board. Instead, the attacks are more about his opponents’ unwillingness to support the inevitable move away from dirty, outdated coal energy toward cleaner, local energy sources. Re-electing Jeff Berman to the LPEA Board is the best way to show that our community supports that clean future, not the dirty past.
– Sincerely, Susan Coulter

Thumbs up to river clean up

To the Telegraph Staff,
I am a member of the (newly found) Water Justice Project, which collaborated with the FLC Environmental Center on the third annual Animas River cleanup. On Sat., April 19, a group of 35 from the college and town community got together and collected 1,000 pounds of trash (half a ton!) between the High School and Dog Park. This does not include a couch, wooden pallets, metal scraps and even a corroded water heater.

I was hoping this feat could be mentioned in the “Thumbs Up!” section, as it will remind our fellow town folk to pack out their trash as they fish, tube, raft or enjoy the river banks, especially as summer draws near.
– Maram Ashe, Durango