Electric Co-Op Leader Concerned About Impact of President's Clean Air Initiative

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Published on June 26 2013 3:14 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

In a speech yesterday at Georgetown University, President Obama announced a broad new federal mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electric power plants. 

The President will instruct federal regulators to apply the Clean Air Act to carbon dioxide issued from power plants.  This will effectively outlaw coal-burning facilities, and result in a massive new climate tax upon all consumers. Illinois’ electric cooperatives are especially concerned about the President’s proposal since rural and low-income Americans already spend disproportionately more on energy than others.

“The President’s plan will hit co-op served families and businesses in Illinois awfully hard,” said Jim Coleman, President/CEO of Shelby Electric Cooperative.  “Rural communities have been put through an economic wringer for the better part of a decade, and they’ve made incredible sacrifices. We respectfully believe now is not the time to add a new climate tax.”

The President’s climate proposal fails to take into account electric cooperatives’ existing efforts to integrate renewable energy into their power portfolios, said Coleman. In an “all of the above” energy supply approach, Coleman said electric co-ops have worked hard to diversify energy portfolios, believing that diversification lowers risk. He said co-ops are also at the forefront of energy efficiency initiatives, actively installing smart grid technology and adding the latest in efficient generation resources when needed to ensure long-term rate stability.

“Ultimately, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives are about keeping electric bills affordable and stable, and finding ways to improve our members’ quality of life,” said Coleman. “The President’s proposal will make electric power more expensive, causing our families and businesses to sacrifice on top of all the other uncertainty in our national economy.  Without question, electric bills will get bigger for the Americans who can least afford to pay them.”

Coleman said, "The electric co-ops of Illinois look forward to working with our nation’s leaders to make sure that keeping electric rates affordable for consumers is a high priority as we work to improve our nation’s energy policy."