|To sustain affordable and reliable electricity for rural America, the Environmental Protection Agency must rethink its proposed greenhouse gas rule for existing power plants, cooperative leaders told the agency this week.
Representatives from Alabama’s electric cooperatives attended public hearings on the proposed “Clean Power Plan” held by the EPA in Atlanta Tuesday and Wednesday. Hearings were also held in Denver, Washington, DC and Pittsburgh.
AREA Vice President for Public Affairs Sean Strickler attended the hearings. along with public officials including Congressman Bradley Byrne, Attorney General Luther Strange, Public Service Commissioner Jeremy Oden and Blaine Galliher, legislative director for Gov. Robert Bentley. A delegation from Central Alabama Electric Cooperative attended the hearings on Wednesday.
“The big concern is affordability and especially reliability,” Strickler said. “The people we serve and that our members serve represent the least among us. They represent the people who are out there working 40-plus hours a week, just trying to get by… Sometimes the people in the state are the best people to take care of their own environment.
“Rural electric cooperatives are member owned,” he added. “They’re good stewards in their own community. What we need to tell the EPA is that we’re doing the best we possibly can to provide affordable, reliable power, and coal has got to be part of that mix. You can’t take away one of the most reliable opportunities for inexpensive reliable power. Right now around two-thirds of the power that most of our coop members receive is from coal. Imagine what it would be like if you took the biggest block of their power and replaced it with something more expensive. These people just won’t be able to afford it.”
“The EPA’s energy plan goes too far, too fast, jeopardizing the well-being of millions of American families in the process,” said John Novak, head of the environmental issues team at NRECA. “Simply put, the EPA’s proposal will trigger higher prices for many consumers and local businesses.”
EPA’s rule sets a carbon dioxide emissions reduction goal for each state that would lower national levels of the greenhouse gas by 30 percent by 2030 when compared to 2005 levels. States are expected to develop emission reductions plans subject to EPA approval. Compliance would begin in 2020, with a final compliance target set for 2030.
Public comment on the rule proposed June 2 concludes Oct. 16 and the rule is expected to be finalized next summer. Let your opinion be known at https://www.tellepa.com.
Congressman Byrne and Attorney General Strange speak about the EPA from AREA on Vimeo.