What to say to the EPA
By Paul Wesslund from August 2014 Issue
Why co-ops are concerned about greenhouse gas rules, and how you can weigh in
June 2 was to be a huge day for Kentucky.
That's the day the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-burning power plants.
That's a big deal for a state that gets nearly all of its electricity from those coal plants, and a coal industry that provides about 12,000 good-paying jobs.
As it turns out, June 2 was not the end of the story. It was one of many milestones in the incredibly difficult process of figuring out how our nation will power its homes and businesses.
A lesser-known milestone came on June 18, when the proposed rules were published in the Federal Register, beginning a 120-day comment period. That's more than twice the amount of time normally given for comment periods.
Kentucky's electric co-ops have been strongly involved in the discussion over these proposed rules, and would like you to help. They've made it especially easy for you to send your comments, working with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. You can go online to Action.coop to fill out a form that will get your comments delivered to the EPA.
Kentucky's electric co-ops think the EPA proposals miss the mark in several ways:
• The U.S. needs to use all the forms of energy available—renewable energy, coal, nuclear, hydro, and natural gas. The EPA proposals could have the effect of virtually eliminating coal from that list.
• The EPA's proposals would raise the cost of electricity.
• The EPA's proposals threaten the reliability of electricity. Since coal generates such a large share of the electricity in Kentucky and the nation, restrictions on coal could affect the nation's availability of power.
• Consideration should be given to states like Kentucky where coal is such an important part of the economy.
• An unaccountable federal agency like the EPA should not be imposing rules with such profound effects. Elected officials in Congress are more appropriate representatives to balance protection of energy, the environment, and the economy.
Kentucky's electric co-ops understand the importance of using all forms of energy—they are pioneers in developing renewable energy and any Kentucky electric co-op member can buy electricity generated from green fuel sources. Coal also needs to be one of those options to keep your electricity reliable and affordable.