At 10 a.m. today, Gov. Bill Ritter, Don Elliman, director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, and other officials will be announcing a major expansion of Denmark-based Vestas’ manufacturing operations in Colorado. Vestas currently produces giant wind blades at a 650-employee facility in Windsor.
WHO: Gov. Ritter, Economic Development Director Don Elliman and others.
WHAT: Press conference to announce more than 1,000 new Vestas jobs at new facilities in Colorado.
WHERE: West Foyer, State Capitol.
WHEN: 10 a.m. today (Friday, Aug. 15, 2008).
Gov. Bill Ritter issued the following statement criticizing today’s auctioning of more than 55,000 acres on the Roan Plateau by the Bush Administration’s Bureau of Land Management:
“For more than a year, the oil and gas industry and some politicians have claimed that a Roan Plateau lease sale would generate proceeds of up to $2 billion. Today, we learned just how wrong and over-exaggerated those claims were.
“Today is a sad day for Colorado. It’s a missed opportunity – one we will never get back, one that falls squarely on the shoulders of the Bush Administration, which is rushing through bad fiscal policy in its waning days. The BLM’s decision to lease the entire top of the Roan Plateau all at once has severely shortchanged Colorado citizens. The federal government has done a tremendous disservice to our state and to every Western Slope community impacted by drilling.
“It’s a missed opportunity to help local communities address impacts to roads, schools, water supplies and essential services. It’s a missed opportunity for Colorado universities and Colorado college students. It’s a missed opportunity for every community trying to create sustainable economies and sustainable futures for their children, residents and local businesses.
“Late last year, my Administration proposed a phased leasing strategy that would have maximized the value of the natural-gas resource beneath the Roan over a longer period of time. We reiterated the phased leasing approach in a protest filed with the BLM last month. We warned that an all-at-once lease sale would result in vastly undervalued bids. Unfortunately, those predictions turned out to be true.
“Phased leasing would have resulted in substantially higher bids for two reasons. First, phased leasing would have allowed the state to receive higher revenues as the price of natural gas increased. Second, phased leasing would have allowed each ridge to recognize its present value, without the deep discount we saw today reflecting the fact that certain parcels will not be developed for many years to come.
“I remain committed to responsible energy development in Colorado. We are doing our part, and we will continue to do our part to supplyAmerica‘s energy needs. By the end of this year, we will have issued more than 7,000 new drilling permits, compared with 1,000 issued in 1999. But the fact remains — today’s auction was anything but responsible.”
Gov. Ritter will hold a news conference at 3:30 p.m. today in the West Foyer of the State Capitol to discuss this morning’s Roan Plateau lease sale.
WHAT: Roan Plateau news conference
WHO: Gov. Ritter and Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Harris Sherman
WHEN: 3:30 p.m. today (Thursday, Aug. 14, 2008)
WHERE: West Foyer, State Capitol
Gov. Bill Ritter and a bipartisan group of political and businesses officials joined former three-term Gov. Roy Romer today to launch the “Ed in ’08/Strong American Schools” initiative in Colorado, challenging the nation’s leaders to make education reform a top priority this election year.
Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien, former Gov. Richard Lamm, former U.S. Sen. and University of Colorado President Hank Brown, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper , state Sens. Nancy Spence and Chris Romer, state Rep. Rob Witwer, the Colorado State Board of Education and Education Commissioner Dwight Jones were among those who gathered on the West Steps of the State Capitol to kick off the public awareness campaign.
The Strong American Schools campaign – chaired by former Gov. Romer, who also served as superintendent of the Los Angeles UnifiedSchool District – urges the nation’s leaders to embrace three common sense solutions to education reform: rigorous standards, effective teachers in every classroom, and more time and support for student learning.
“Every leader understands the urgent need for public education reform,” Gov. Ritter said. “We need a thoughtful debate from our nation’s leaders about how we can provide every student in Colorado, and across America, with the opportunity to attend a world-class school. Education is just as important as decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, addressing the skyrocketing costs of health care and dealing with climate change. It is time that all of America‘s leaders make education a top domestic priority.”
In Denver, a mere 46 percent of ninth-graders will graduate from high school on time. And across Colorado, those who do graduate from high school are often unprepared for the rigors of college. Nearly one-third of college freshmen in Colorado require remedial training.
“In addition to the thousands of students who won’t graduate from high school next spring, thousands more will graduate unprepared for life after high school,” Romer said. “They will not be ready for work, and they will not be ready for life. Being above average is not good enough, especially when standards in America‘s schools are well below the average academic standards in other industrialized countries.”
“Join us and take action to improve our schools,” said Lamm. “A strong Colorado depends on strong public schools. And, a strongAmerica depends on well-educated students and high-performing schools. We should strive for gold when it comes to our schools, the same way we strive for gold medals at the Olympics.”
“As the former President of the University of Colorado, I think it is vital that we prepare American youth for the unique challenges facing them in college and in an increasingly global economy,” said Brown. “America‘s college completion rate is deplorably low. Only about half of students who enroll in four-year colleges after high school manage to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years. And, more than one-third of college freshmen have to take remedial classes to learn what they should have learned in high school. We must make it a priority to ensure that Colorado students receive a world-class public education.”
“Charles Dickens wrote that we should fear the boy named Ignorance because on his brow is written doom,” Lt. Gov. O’Brien said. “If we can’t erase that doom through our education system, I fear for our country’s future.”
Gov. Bill Ritter issued the following statement today regarding the death of 107-year-old Rockmount Ranch Wear founder Jack A. Weil:
“Jack A. Weil was a legendary Coloradan and a pioneering Denver businessman. He set up shop in Lower Downtown when it was mostly a warehouse district. He was wise enough to keep Rockmount right where it is, through the hard times, and today the business attracts customers from around the world. Colorado will miss him dearly, but thanks to his family and Rockmount’s unique Western fashions, his legacy will live on for at least another 107 years.”
Gov. Ritter will join former Gov. Romers and Lamm as they endorse and launch the “Strong American Schools” campaign in Colorado
. Also taking part in the kick-off news conference will be former U.S. Sen. and University of Colorado President Hank Brown
and state Sen. Nancy Spence.
Strong American Schools is a bipartisan national awareness campaign that is urging leaders around the country to embrace three common-sense solutions to education reform: rigorous standards, effective teachers in every classroom, and more time and support for student learning.
Romer, who served three terms as Colorado governor and as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, is national chairman of Strong American Schools.
Location: West Steps, State Capitol.