(INDIANAPOLIS) - Indiana's association of electric cooperatives announced opposition and a call to reconsider the recently released regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that dramatically threaten the low-cost electric rates Hoosiers have relied upon for their homes and businesses.
"We are disappointed to see this move away from the all-of-the-above energy strategy, but more than that, we are concerned about the impact this will have for our member-owners. The regulations proposed by the EPA will inevitably raise electricity costs," said Rick Coons, CEO of Indiana Statewide Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives. "Rising costs could affect our major industrial and commercial customers around the state, and Indiana's economic viability and competitiveness would be unfairly harmed by the new regulations if we are unable to provide affordable electricity."
The EPA is preparing to open a 60-day comment period for feedback on proposed regulations setting stringent limits on carbon emissions from future coal plants.
For several years, electric cooperatives nationwide have investigated carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a way to reduce carbon emissions.
However, the technology has not been proven financially feasible. A 2012 Congressional Budget Office report estimated CCS would increase the cost of producing electricity from coal-based plants by 75 percent.
This increased cost of production will significantly impact electricity affordability in Indiana. Currently, 83 percent of all electricity produced in Indiana is generated from coal. In addition to drastically higher electric bills, the state's economy will be harmed as well.
More than 29,000 Hoosiers go to work each day to a job related to producing energy from coal. Those jobs are responsible for higher household earnings for many Indiana families and contribute to higher economic output for our state.
The EPA's new regulations could result in the loss of thousands of jobs, both in coal generation and from businesses attracted to Indiana because of its competitive electricity rates. These rates have attracted electricity intensive industries such as steel, aluminum, foundries and car manufacturers.
"A responsible energy policy framework along with a focus on new, proven technology and energy conservation can mitigate the burden of rising costs," said Coons. "Indiana's electric cooperatives are urging the EPA to focus on working with - not against - co-ops as we continue to reduce power plant carbon emissions, increase efficiency and develop affordable new technology to improve the environment and the quality of life for future generations of Hoosiers."
An "all-of-the-above policy" will keep Indiana's economy strong. Visit www.action.coop to leave your comments encouraging the EPA to stick by its "All-Of-The-Above" promise.
Indiana's electric cooperatives provides electric power to more than 1.3 million Hoosiers in 89 of Indiana's 92 counties, making them collectively Indiana's second-largest electricity provider.
For more information on Indiana Statewide and its members, visit www.isa.coop.
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