Mar 032009
Authors: Matt Minich

Local activist Eric Sutherland announced Tuesday that he will drop his candidacy in the race for mayor.

“I didn’t see it advancing the issues I wanted to advance,” said Sutherland, who is a well-known advocate for efficient and sustainable energy practices in Fort Collins.

Sutherland said that he was not receiving the support he expected from the local environmental community.

When he announced he would run for mayor in February, Sutherland said that one of his major reasons for running was to gain a seat on the Poudre River Power Authority Board of Directors.

The PRPA is a municipally owned power company that serves Estes Park, Longmont and Loveland as well as Fort Collins. The mayor of each city sits on the Board of Directors.

Sutherland is known in Fort Collins city government as an opponent of the city’s green purchasing program, which encourages businesses, as well as students in CSU dormitories, to purchase renewable energy “credits,” which Sutherland says do “virtually nothing” to support actual efforts toward sustainable energy.

Sutherland said that he will look into other ways to bring energy efficiency issues to the forefront in Fort Collins, where he said he feels citizens have been “green-washed” into believing the community is far more environmentally friendly than it is in practice.

Mayor Doug Hutchinson, the current vice-chairman of the PRPA’s board of directors and Sutherland’s opponent in the race, said he feels that Fort Collins is a leader in green energy policy.

The mayor cited the use of mercury scrubbers to reduce emissions from local coal power plants and multi-million dollar investments in wind power as evidence that the PRPA has made a sincere effort to work toward sustainable energy practices.

Hutchinson is now opposed only by Tom Griggs, an associate professor at the University of Northern Colorado, for the position. Sutherland said that he will not endorse either candidate and has not decided who he will be voting for in the elections on April 7.

City council elections beat writer Matt Minich can be reached at

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