Embrace change – vote Mannix

To the editor,

A little over a century ago an orphan from Bologna, Italy, came to America to mine coal in western Pennsylvania. Mining coal was an opportunity for a better life for him and his family but it was also his death sentence. That man, Emilio Crini, was my grandfather. He worked

40 years in the mines before dying of congestive heart failure resulting from “black lung” disease. He had no formal education, and I never heard him speak a word in English but his guidance to his children was simply “el mundo cambio” – the world changes. And change it has. Coal, which powered the industrial revolution of the last century, has been surpassed by gas as the fossil fuel of choice for energy production.

Once again, we are witnessing change. The generation of electricity is moving beyond fossil fuels despite the subsidies that the industry enjoys. Wholesale costs of renewable electricity are now below that of electricity generated from fossil fuels. Renewables will be even cheaper in the future. The electric generation industry is in transition. Unfortunately, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is not a part of that because it relies on its coal-fired power plants for generation of electricity.

Regrettably, in July 2007, the LPEA Board entered into a long-term contract (expiring Dec. 31, 2050) that makes all of us underwriters of Tri-State’s unwise business decisions. That contract forces LPEA to purchase 95 percent of our power from Tri-State regardless of its means of electric generation or the price per kilowatt hour we are required to pay. There is nothing in that contract requiring Tri-State to benchmark its energy price to market rates or to prevent Tri-State from raising the prices it charges LPEA members.

If Tri-State is not going to change with the rest of the industry, it’s time for LPEA to find a way to lower its members’ electricity costs. The election of a LPEA Board of Directors with this vision is the key to such change. Ballots for the Board of Directors elections were sent to members and must be returned by May 1.

Jeff Mannix is running for the LPEA Board in District 2. Jeff is a cattleman with a unique vision for LPEA’s future that will benefit both ranchers and the rest of LPEA’s members. He would like to see more energy generation here on underused ranchlands. Doing so will provide a variety of opportunities for the local economic by way of jobs, income and lower electricity costs.

Mannix knows that the world changes and that energy generation is rapidly changing. Jeff knows that LPEA needs to take a long view of the situation we find ourselves in and to move toward a future that can ensure lower costs for its members. If we do not make the most of this opportunity, we will be held captive by Tri-State for 311⁄2 more years. Please take a couple of minutes to vote Mannix onto the LPEA Board for District 2.

– Eugene Creany, Durango