(ORLEANS) - In a speech Tuesday 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 emitted by power plants, effectively outlawing coal-burning facilities.
While the President's proposal will impose a massive new climate tax upon all consumers, Orange County REMC is especially concerned because cooperatives are member-owned and share costs among fewer consumers.
According to REMC General Manager/CEO Dan Arnold, "REMC's must already charge rates that are higher than some utilities because of the nature of their service area and substantially lower consumer density. If we now must replace low cost coal generated power supply with higher priced electricity our rates will "necessarily skyrocket" as the President said in an earlier speech. The impact on our member's ability to pay their bills and REMC's efforts to bring jobs and new commercial loads to the area will be devastating. Any policy change impacting affordable energy has a disproportionate impact on REMC members and economic development activities in the community."
"The plan the President outlined today is nothing more than the implementation of Cap and Trade through administrative action. Through our grassroots efforts in 2009, Indiana's electric cooperatives successfully fought legislative enactment of this policy in Congress," said Scott Bowers, Vice President of Government Relations for Indiana Statewide Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives. "Indiana's electric cooperatives stand with the majority of Indiana's congressional delegation in support of reasonable and responsible environmental regulation. Unfortunately, the President's proposal is neither reasonable nor responsible. We welcome the opportunity to work with our delegation to oppose the President's proposal and its adverse impacts on energy affordability and reliability."
In a letter written June 13, 2013 to President Obama, Senator Dan Coats, Senator Joe Donnelly and Representatives Susan Brooks, Larry Bucshon, Luke Messer, Todd Rokita, Marlin Stutzman, Jackie Walorski and Todd Young requested the President reject proposed EPA carbon dioxide standards, a key component of the proposal the President outlined today.
The President's climate tax fails to take into account electric cooperatives existing efforts to integrate renewable energy into our power portfolios. More than 13 percent of the power co-ops generate nationally comes from renewable sources. Co-ops are also at the forefront of energy efficiency initiatives; reducing the need to build expensive new power plants.
Orange County REMC is a member owned cooperative serving about 8,000 electric loads in Orange and parts of four surrounding counties. Indianapolis-based Indiana Statewide Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives represents 39 electric distribution cooperatives that serve 1.3 million Hoosiers in 89 of the state's 92 counties.
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