My current home of Durango, CO is in most ways an idyllic place. Mountains, sunshine, good food and drink, excellent outdoor recreation opportunities, and an overall warm community feel. But with that small, rural Colorado town feel comes the inevitable politics of rural Colorado, and so it goes with our local rural electric cooperative, La Plata Electric Association (LPEA), whose board consists mostly of ranchers with waxed mustaches and cowboy hats (read: it’s the Cheney energy policy booster club).
Jeff Berman is the outstanding exception to this rule. He is, as far as I know, the only LPEA board member prepared to do more than just talk about transforming the Durango region’s electric supply from one of coal coal and more coal to something – anything – cleaner. Come to think of it, he may actually be the only board member who even wants to talk about these issues, since he frequently is unable to have his motions seconded when attempting to raise such controversial topics as climate change and feed-in tariffs.
Recently, Jeff launched his own blog, the Energy Critic. It should be required reading for LPEA ratepayers, as it details the myriad ways in which LPEA has misled the public and greenwashed its image. For those outside the Durango community, the blog is still interesting as a microcosm of the kinds of clean energy battles that are being waged across the country by people like Jeff who simply want their governments to behave rationally in the face of devastating environmental, economic, and political pressures surrounding energy.