Jo Ann Emerson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), made the following statement regarding the President’s State of the Union speech this evening.
“Electric cooperatives advocate for a federal energy policy of reliable and affordable power while protecting health and the environment.
“The President plans to offer a vision tonight that he hopes will expand opportunity for all Americans. However, his Administration’s regulations could directly undermine this goal, especially for those living on fixed income or at lower levels of earnings.
“Specifically, the potential costs of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) greenhouse gas regulations threaten every household and business on a budget, not to mention the ability of electric cooperatives to continue providing reliable and affordable energy. These regulations hit hardest on Americans who can least afford to pay the bigger bills, lose their jobs or turn down their heat. And since electric cooperatives serve the majority of the ‘persistent poverty’ counties in the country (http://www.nreca.coop/wp-content/plugins/nreca-interactive-maps/persistent-poverty/), we take this seriously.
“Co-ops work diligently to provide affordable power in a way that best meets the needs of the local consumers who own their cooperative, including renewable resources, energy efficiency options and other tools demanded by today’s consumers. We require the freedom to pursue new technologies and innovations. The EPA’s insistence to rely on carbon dioxide capture and storage technology that isn’t ready for prime time hamstrings us in a significant way.
“Sometimes folks in Washington get lost in the policy at the expense of the people. Co-ops don’t see it that way and we’ll continue to ensure our members are heard on the affordability of energy and economic opportunity in their communities all over the country.”
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.