Letter: We need to plan for the future

My name is Ron Geary and I have lived in Craig for over 20 years. Like many in the Yampa Valley, we are looking at Craig’s future after the closure of our coal plants and mines. That’s why I’m writing to you today to support just transition legislation for coal communities in Colorado.

I have worked at Craig Power Station for over two decades and currently work for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Like most of us who live here, power plants and mining have allowed many of us to buy homes and raise families in a small town atmosphere. A job in factories and mines meant stability, good pay, good health benefits, and the ability to retire comfortably.

The impact goes beyond these workers and affects their families, it affects our ability to support our firefighters, schools, local restaurants, and infrastructure in the City of Craig and Moffat County. It affects us all. I don’t like the idea of ​​Craig becoming a ghost town, or worse: a tourist destination.

Working with the IBEW, I have helped negotiate several union contracts for plant closures around the West Slope and have seen the impact this has on those whose future is suddenly uncertain. Now that we know factories and mines are going to close, it’s time to start looking to the future. There are nearly 300 workers between the factories and the mines who are very skilled in what they do. Not everyone will be able to become river guides, outfitters or work in the tourism and service industry.

It is important that we begin to look to the realities of that future now and try to help our community adjust to this change. We need to help attract other heavy industries. To help workers transition to new jobs, help our community adjust to the huge impact of this closure, and hopefully find a new way to use existing infrastructure to transition to a new industry and keep hard-working, reliable jobs in our city.

I support just transition for our coal communities in Colorado. I hope to see this law passed, so we can all continue to enjoy this place we call home.

Ron Geary

Assistant Business Agent, IBEW Local 111

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