Mar 16, 2010 5:33 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Power plant bill passes first test at Capitol

Bipartisan legislation requiring Xcel Energy to cut emission at some of its coal-fired power plants has passed its first test at the Capitol.

The House Transportation and Energy Committee voted 10-1 to endorse the bill Tuesday.

It would require Xcel as well as Black Hills Corp. to cut emissions by at least 70 to 80 percent and give priority to replacing coal-fired plants with gas-powered ones.

Gov. Bill Ritter said it would reduce the "brown cloud" of pollution over the Front Range, provide clearer views in Rocky Mountain National Park, cut mercury emissions and jump-start the state's natural gas industry.

However, the coal industry says it could lead to layoffs in Colorado mines and raise electricity prices.


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