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News briefs – August, 2009

Who’s your cooperative hero?

Send us your energy saving tip

Guest Opinion: Help for college costs

U.S. House passes bill hammering Kentucky on global warming

Who’s your cooperative hero?

Locally owned electric co-op roots run deep in communities all across Kentucky. A new Kentucky Living column beginning in October each month will highlight a co-op member who has gone above and beyond to make a difference in their community.

You can help choose who appears in that column.

The man, woman, or child you suggest should be:
* A member of a local electric co-op in Kentucky.
* Someone who has used their time and talents to make a positive difference in their community.

To suggest a person to be featured in the Cooperative Hero column, go to Who’s your Cooperative Hero?

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Send us your energy saving tip

In our November issue, we’re kicking off our new Kentucky Living Energy Savings Guide. And you can be part of it.

In 300 words or less, tell us the following:
* What have you done to make your home more energy efficient?
* How much did it cost?
* How much have you saved?
* Would you recommend it to other readers?

We’ll print five of the best tips in our November issue, and each of the submissions will receive a plug-in, motion sensitive LED Lighting Package from the Datexx line of Sentina Green Home lighting solutions.

To suggest a person to be featured in the Cooperative Hero column, go to Who’s your Cooperative Hero??

To submit online, go to and fill in the form with your 300-word description in the “Questions, comments” box. Be sure to say “Energy Tip” in the “Article” box.

Or, you can mail your submission to Energy Saving Tip, Kentucky Living, P.O. Box 32170, Louisville, KY 40232. Be sure to include your name, address, phone number, and name of your electric co-op.

Submissions must be postmarked no later than September 1.

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Guest Opinion: Help for college costs
by Sam Stephens

Paying for college tuition today is a challenge.

For many families of students going to Kentucky colleges and universities, the struggle to finance tuition costs can become a virtual nightmare and an end to future education. Sources of available funds vary from Federal Pell Grants, student loan programs, institutional financial aid through corporate and private gifts, and the many nonprofit foundations that provide scholarships for students attending private as well as public supported colleges and universities.

Exact data of nonprofit foundation funding of college tuition is not readily available. Information from the Kentucky State Data Center, University of Louisville, would indicate that the percentage could range as much as 24 percent for other grants: public 2 year–6.9 percent, public 4 year–7 percent, and private–10.89 percent. This includes nonprofits, employer funded, and other.

The 20 private colleges that make up the independent college system in Kentucky are effectively represented by the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities–AIKCU, which has a long history of providing affordable access to higher education. By keeping tuition costs low–one-third lower than the national independent college average and by providing generous institutional financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships–they have provided more than $147 million in 2005-2006. While only 4 percent of Kentucky’s total post-secondary spending goes to students attending Kentucky’s independent colleges and universities (there is no direct support for Kentucky’s independent campuses), well over 20 percent of the state’s bachelor degrees are produced each year by the independents.

Several nonprofit organizations provide significant contributions toward the financing of many Kentucky students that might otherwise not be able to go to college. A relative newcomer, the Happy Chandler Scholarship Foundation was formed in 1992 by a loyal group of close friends who wanted to honor A.B. “Happy” Chandler–a two-time Kentucky governor and National Baseball commissioner–and his love for the Commonwealth by establishing a scholarship program for Kentucky students to attend college in Kentucky.

Since the founding, more than $600,000 has gone to fund scholarships to students from more than 30 counties throughout Kentucky. These graduates are now serving across Kentucky in many productive ways as teachers, scientists, architects, doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, and other professions, proving that the investment has been well worth it. To learn more about the Happy Chandler Foundation, go to the Web site:

Sam Stephens is president of the Happy Chandler Scholarship Foundation, and vice president for sales and marketing for The Clark Group, a publishing company in Lexington. He was the editor-in-chief of the 2006 Premier Edition of Clark’s Kentucky Almanac and Book of Facts.

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U.S. House passes bill hammering Kentucky on global warming
by Paul Wesslund

The U.S. House of Representatives this summer approved a plan to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas by raising your electric bill at least 25 percent over the next 10 years.

The next stop for the controversial bill, which passed the House on a close 219 to 212 vote, is the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future.

The bill aims to slow global warming by limiting emissions of carbon dioxide, a so-called greenhouse gas that has been blamed for trapping heat in the atmosphere. Among the sources of carbon dioxide emissions is the burning of fossil fuels, like coal, oil, and natural gas.

The plan would raise the cost of all those fuels, affecting agriculture, manufacturing, and construction. Electric utilities have voiced special objections because coal-fired power plants produce half the electricity in the United States.

Kentucky electricity users would be hit especially hard, since coal produces nearly all the electricity used in the state.

The main feature of the House plan would set up a complicated “cap and tradï” system that would set a limit, or cap, on carbon dioxide emissions. Those caps would be phased in, reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and 83 percent by mid-century.

The “trade” part would allow a business to exceed the caps, if they traded that excess with another business that was emitting less than the allowable limit.

A related idea worked in the 1980s to reduce other forms of industrial emissions. Under that plan, utilities and other industries could earn pollution credits by reducing emissions below specified levels, then sell those credits to others unable to meet the target levels.

Kentucky electric co-op leaders say that an emission trading system may not work as well with carbon dioxide emissions. They point out that the technology to reduce other forms of pollution was expensive, but had already been developed. Much of the technology for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is still in the experimental stage.

Other critics of the cap and trade plan say it will require setting up a risky, Wall Street-style carbon credit exchange that could be extremely difficult to regulate.

The Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives, representing 26 consumer-owned utilities in the state, opposed the bill.

KAEC noted that Kentucky would be one of the most hard-hit states.

Ron Sheets, KAEC president, said the bill “would dramatically increase electricity costs for Kentucky homes, farms, and businesses.”

Analysts expect the Senate to begin considering the bill in September. To register your opinion on the bill with your federal legislators, Senator Jim Bunning or Senator Mitch McConnell, go to and click on Contact Your Legislators. To refer to the bill covered in this article, it’s known as the “Waxman-Markey” bill (it was introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman of California and Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts), and goes by the number H.R. 2454.

How they voted
Here is how members of the Kentucky delegation voted June 26 on H.R. 2454, the Waxman-Markey bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by raising prices on carbon fuels through a “cap-and-trade” system.

    • Ben Chandler


    • Geoff Davis


    • Brett Guthrie


    • Hal Rogers


    • Ed Whitfield


    • John Yarmuth


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