[Arlington, Va.] NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson made the following statement regarding the “listening sessions” held by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on regulations to limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.
This week, the EPA held its final “listening sessions” even as it begins drafting regulations to limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. I am extremely disappointed the Agency chose not to hold a single one of its listening sessions in electric co-op service territory or other rural location, forcing our members to drive significant distances to attend and offer their views.
Not-for-profit, member-owned electric cooperatives serve 42 million Americans and cover nearly 75 percent of the nation’s land mass. The electric cooperative perspective deserves to be heard.
Regulations limiting CO2 emissions from coal-fired plants will likely have a disproportionate impact on the bills of co-op consumer-members because, for a variety of historical reasons including the Fuel Use Act, co-ops rely more heavily on coal than the broader utility sector.
Sixty percent of co-op power sales go to residential members, and the average income of co-op served households is nearly $9,000 below the U.S. average. As co-op owners, these consumers will foot the bill for any regulation that increases power costs. For all these reasons it behooves EPA—a public agency—to tour rural America and listen to co-op members as it proceeds down a path toward CO2 regulation.