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A critical time for Kentucky

Cooperatives address energy concerns and prepare for political transition

October has become my favorite month of the year. It is a time of year that marks a transition for me personally. It is when I put up the golf clubs and begin to focus on other interests such as football. Fall is when I relish watching the leaves change color and going to the local high school football games.

Just as October represents a transition from summer to winter, this year October will be a busy political year. In August, the EPA published the final rule for limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing electric power plants, called the Clean Power Plan. This rule may be the most far-reaching environmental regulation ever and the impact on Kentucky will be substantial.

The cooperatives of Kentucky are making sure that their voices are heard concerning these regulations. On September 22, the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives, along with your electric cooperative management and board members, hosted a discussion on industry issues with the two gubernatorial candidates, Matt Bevin and Jack Conway. The candidates were asked about pressing energy issues: EPA regulations, coal plant closures, compliance with the new Clean Power Plan, and the impact on Kentucky’s economy. To read detailed responses from each candidate, turn to page 16.

Kentucky is in a precarious position as a result of the new rule. First, the final rule requires Kentucky to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions rate by 41 percent. When discussing this reduction with industry experts, it is extremely hard to see how we can meet this reduction without additional plant closures and construction of new, lower emitting sources.

In essence, this is similar to abandoning the house you live in that you have a mortgage on, and building a new one with a second mortgage. It is not hard to determine that this will most certainly increase your costs for owning a house.

These concerns were discussed with our candidates for governor. This is a critical time for Kentucky and it is important for our leaders to understand the potential impacts. We believe that when the new governor is sworn in, there is little time to waste. The proposed deadline for the state to submit an initial or complete plan to the EPA is September 6, 2016.

The new governor, the state of Kentucky, and the cooperatives are in transition and facing unprecedented change.

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