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Commentary Clean Air Act a poor way to regulate greenhouse gases O


Chris Meyers General Manager, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


n June 25, 2013, President Obama laid out his plan to deal with cli-


mate change. He directed the EPA to use the Clean Air Act to regulate green- house gases like carbon di- oxide emitted from existing electric power plants. This


approach is currently being taken for new pow- er plants and has met many challenges. Legal battle after legal battle, rules are far from being fi nalized. Regulating existing plants will be even more litigious.


The electric power industry takes issue with this problematic approach and the environmental com- munity should as well. It’s bureaucratic, costly, and mostly yields attorney fees. To be fair, the Clean Air Act has been effective in dealing with pollutants —but not greenhouse gases. U.S. Rep. John Dingle, one of the Act’s principal authors, famously said using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases would result in a “glorious mess.” He was right. Congress, the President, and industry should begin with a clean sheet of paper and fi nd workable and affordable solutions.


In the United States, carbon dioxide emissions


are currently at 1992 levels. Why the decrease? There has been a shift from the burning of coal as a fuel to the new abundant and affordable natural gas supply. Also, gains in lighting efficiency, HVAC, refrigerators and other appliances have held demand for energy down. Bigger, more effi - cient, and more cost effective renewable energy sources like wind and solar continue to be added to the grid as a part of the supply. What a Clean Air Act regulatory approach will do for certain is increase electric rates. Sure, higher cost energy is motivation to conserve, but how about those who can’t? Low-cost energy drives our economy. Why should we increase costs to manu- facturers of goods and services—and more impor- tantly—to those consumers on fi xed incomes whose options are limited and can least afford it? We should instead be focused on real gains in technol- ogy and effi ciency.


Electric co-ops have been leaders in the imple- mentation of smart grid technology and the use of demand response programs. We have embraced renewable energy supplies. We have long supported legislation in Congress that encourages federal in- centives for energy effi ciency programs. Let’s focus on solutions that reduce greenhouse gases and also help consumers rather than a messy, costly, regula- tory approach.


A ‘Culture of Safety’ starts in the board room W


Joe Harris President, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


hat is the high- est priority at every electric cooperative?


Safety. It is the fi rst and unques- tionable priority in our busi- ness. Distribution system electricity levels are inher- ently deadly. Every day at


every cooperative, men and women put themselves in harm’s way, working with thousands of volts of electricity while conducting their daily responsibil- ity of keeping your lights on. Our co-ops have a wonderful safety record be- cause of the dedication our workers have to a cul- ture of safety that starts not with the crews themselves, but within each cooperative’s Board Room. Creating a culture of safety—and living it— comes from the attitude and emphasis placed on safety by each Board member who embraces and promotes it. The “safety culture” of the Board must be refl ected by management and by all employees


of the cooperative. There is simply no job so im- portant that we don’t take time to do it safely. We have great training programs at both the local and state levels that assist us in developing and pro- moting a safety culture. The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives provides these job training and safety programs because your local directors who serve on the Statewide Board provide the re- sources and directives that mandate it be done. Again, these training programs and resources come from the progressive culture of Board members who emphasize safety on a statewide basis. The point I’m trying to make is that while each employee, supervisor, line superintendent or man- ager is held responsible for the day-to-day safe op- erations of your cooperative, it is the culture and emphasis on safety from local Boards of Directors that starts the process. We do a good job with this in Oklahoma, and I know each member of our co- op family expects us to do our work safely. To me, it’s a “safe day” when each employee re- turns safely home to their family every night.


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


Chris Meyers, General Manager Joe Harris, President


Jimmy Taylor, Vice-President Kendall Beck, Secretary Gary McCune, 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


Kirbi Bailey, Accountant/Offi ce Manager Asst. kbailey@oaec.coop


Hayley Leatherwood, Multimedia Specialist hleatherwood@ok-living.coop


Kaylan Watkins, Intern intern@oaec.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: 316,912


Periodical postage paid at Oklahoma City, 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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