Colorado

Mar 28, 2010 12:14 PM by Associated Press

Colorado gas-coal fight could preview national battle

A plan to clean up Colorado's air is pitting two powerful industries - natural gas and coal - against each other in what could be a warm-up for a national fight over confronting climate change.

The plan would require Xcel Energy Inc. to either replace several aging coal-fired power plant units with cleaner natural gas plants by 2018 or refit those smokestacks with emissions-restricting technology or other green fuels before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency imposes new air quality rules.

The coal industry is fighting back, spending nearly $2 million on advertisements highlighting warning that gas is more expensive than coal. Lobbyists and unions also argue it could cost jobs in coal mines and plants, which are more labor intensive than natural gas ones.

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