- Associated Press - Sunday, December 13, 2015

CARBONDALE, Colo. (AP) - Environmental groups in Carbondale are hoping to put a carbon fee on the ballot in April that would require residents to pay extra charges on their electric and natural gas bills, based on their energy use.

The proposal was drafted after federal and state grants for clean energy fell through. Supporters say they still want clean energy goals adopted by Garfield County local governments in 2006 to go into effect. Some people are worried it could hurt low-income residents and some families.

The goal for the next five years is to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption by 20 percent, cut petroleum use by 25 percent and produce 35 percent of the area’s electricity from renewable sources.

Erica Sparhawk, program and services coordinator for Clean Energy Economy for the Region, said the goals are realistic.

“All the local governments in the county adopted these goals, but Carbondale in particular is serious about making them happen,” she said.



Mayor Stacey Bernot said officials want to make sure it has the money to meet the goals without cutting into community services, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported (https://tinyurl.com/gq5qpob).

Organizations backing the ballot measure say the average residential fee would be $7 per month and the average commercial fee would be $30 per month. It would raise an estimated $300,000 a year.

Sparhawk said fees from business could vary, with restaurants using more energy than office buildings. She said low-income residents and families already struggling to pay their utility bills also could get assistance.

Proponents say paying more will encourage users to cut back on energy consumption, and the money could be invested in clean energy projects. Residents and business that improve energy efficiency could get rebates.

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Information from: Post Independent, https://www.postindependent.com/

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