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COM M E NTARY Cooperatives support local economies


Chris Meyers General Manager, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


here is little argument that from their humble beginnings electric cooperatives have helped enhance the quality of life ex- perience in rural and suburban areas, not only in Oklahoma, but nationwide. But it’s not just the di- rect benefi ts of having


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electricity that cooperatives provide. One other such positive enhancement is the eco- nomic impact an electric cooperative has on the area it provides service in or around. Communities are strengthened by the presence of an electric co- operative, as are the many homes, businesses or in- dustrial parks that may be served by the local co-op. On page six of this edition of Oklahoma Living is


a feature article about careers in the rural electric business enterprise. In these recessionary times, electric co-ops are often the bright spots in local economies because they offer diverse, yet stable job opportunities.


And, as we all know, jobs support local econo- mies. In many cases, jobs at a local co-op are among the best that can be found in a community. Nationally, over 42 million people are served by electric cooperatives. Nearly 80 percent of the coun- ties across the United States have electric co-op ser-


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J. Chris Cariker President,


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


ast month, I in- troduced Okla- homa Living read- ers to “The Big Five,” a list of active regu- latory policies being considered by the En- vironmental Protection Agency (EPA). If fully implemented, these regulations could raise your cost for electricity. On June 21, 2010, the EPA proposed federal


regulations for managing Coal Combustion Residu- als, or ‘CCRs.’


CCRs, commonly known as coal ash, are materi- als produced when coal is burned to produce elec- tricity. Approximately 45 percent of overall electric utility CCRs are used beneficially. For example, CCRs can be used in making gypsum (wallboard) and concrete. The rest are disposed of in surface im- poundments and landfi lls.


CCRs are considered to be four distinct materials:


fl y ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, and fl ue gas desul- furization (FGD) materials.


On four prior occasions – most recently under the Clinton Administration in 2000 – the EPA de- termined that CCRs do not warrant regulation as hazardous. EPA found hazardous regulation would


4 OKLAHOMA LIVING


vice and infrastructure within them. In Oklahoma, electric cooperatives are the only utility entity that has infrastructure in all 77 counties, and the only collective entity that provides gross receipts taxes to all 527 school districts across the state. Here are a few other statistics about the 30 mem- ber-systems that comprise the Oklahoma Associa-


tion of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC): ✓ They collectively employ more than 2,500 full-


time employees, and many part-time employees; ✓ Their total annual payroll exceeds $163 million; ✓ They have more than 745,000 total services in


place; ✓ Collectively, they have built and maintain more


than 114,675 miles of electric distribution line, and operate more than 6,665 miles of high-voltage


transmission line; ✓ OAEC member-systems (28 distribution and two generation-transmission cooperatives) have in- vested more than $4.8 billion in electric utility plant located in rural and suburban areas. This includes electric generation, transmission, distribution, communication and fi ber optic facilities. The average electric cooperative has 48 employ- ees, with the largest single group usually being highly skilled and trained line workers, followed by professional engineering and operations staff, and administrative personnel.


Electric co-ops are indeed powering the needs of a new generation, and they continue to improve the quality of life for the people and communities they serve. OL


Second of “Big Five” EPA regulations: Coal ash disposal


be environmentally counterproductive because it would stigmatize CCRs and impede its benefi cial


use. Where we stand: ✓ The National Rural Electric Cooperative Asso- ciation (NRECA) fi led comments with EPA oppos- ing the agency’s proposed hazardous designation for CCRs. Comments included specifi c examples of how companies and communities would be nega- tively impacted by a hazardous designation. NRECA holds that EPA can best maintain a responsible, bal- anced approach to CCR regulation by strengthen- ing impoundment safety standards while retaining the current Subtitle D, non-hazardous designation


for CCRs under federal law. ✓ NRECA launched an aggressive grassroots cam- paign through the Take Action Network generating comments from cooperative members to EPA op-


posing designating CCRs as hazardous. ✓ The U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Power Subcommittee recently approved a bill, H.R. 2401, which would require analysis of the cumula- tive and incremental impacts of certain EPA rules and actions on fossil-fi red generation. The Trans- parency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act (TRAIN Act) was introduced by Reps. John Sullivan, R-OK, and Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and would establish a cabinet-level committee to ex- amine the impact of such EPA rules. The full House Energy and Commerce Committee marked up the bill in mid-July. OL


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


Chris Meyers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .General Manager J. Chris Cariker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . President Glenn Propps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Vice-President Joe Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Secretary-Treasurer


Staff


Sid Sperry . . . . . . . . . . . . Director of PR & Communications sksperry@oaec.coop


Anna Politano . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Managing Editor editor@ok-living.coop


Larry Skoch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Advertising Manager lskoch@ok-living.coop


Christy Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Offi ce Manager cjohnson@oaec.coop


Emilia Buchanan . . . . . . . . . . . . Communications Assistant ebuchanan@oaec.coop


Hayley Imel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Intern intern@ok-living.coop


Editorial, Advertising and General Offi ces


P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309 Phone (405) 478-1455 Oklahoma Living online: www.ok-living.coop


Subscriptions


$3.12 per year for rural electric cooperative members. $6.00 per year for non-members.


Cooperative Members: Report change of address to your local rural electric cooperative.


Non-Cooperative Members: Send address changes to Oklahoma Living, P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309.


Oklahoma Living (ISSN 1064-8968), USPS 407-040, is published monthly for consumer-members of Oklahoma’s rural electric cooperatives by the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives, 2325 E. I-44 Service Road, P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309.


Circulation this issue: 316,853. Periodical postage paid at Stillwater, Oklahoma.


The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives is a statewide service organization for the following electric cooperatives: Alfalfa, Arkansas Valley, Caddo, Canadian Valley, Central Rural, Choctaw, Cimarron, Cookson Hills, Cotton, East Central Oklahoma, Harmon, Indian, KAMO Power, Kay, Kiamichi, Kiwash, Lake Region, Northeast Oklahoma, Northfork, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Ozarks, People’s, Red River Valley, Rural, Southeastern, Southwest Rural, Tri-County, Verdigris Valley, and Western Farmers Electric Cooperative.


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Bureau of Circulations


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