The Boulder Breakup

Kate Clark (Western Colorado University, USA) and Keriann F. Conroy (Western Colorado University, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 169
EISBN13: 9781799813491|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8559-6.ch006
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The City of Boulder, Colorado has for 10 years attempted to break up with its electric utility, Xcel Energy, in favor of forming its own municipal utility. Environmental proponents of the separation argue that a democratically accountable, local utility would be better suited to achieve Boulder's ambitious environmental and climate action goals. However, other environmentalists disagree and instead argue that Xcel Energy is a willing and capable environmental partner. This case examines this conflict in order to illustrate a divide in Boulder's environmental community, which mirrors a divide in the larger environmental movement, between structural environmentalists on the one hand and neoliberal environmentalists on the other. The case offers a review of the theoretical work that informs these conflicting perspectives. Finally, it analyzes structural and neoliberal sentiments expressed in the opinion pages of the city's newspaper in order to demonstrate how they intervene and shape Colorado electricity politics.
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