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Climate-Change Plan Will Harm Rural America


announced a series of actions to combat climate change. For electric co-ops, the outline hammered one point that has us ready to do battle: reducing the volume of greenhouse gases-primarily carbon dioxide-emitted from fossil fuel-burning power plants, both new and existing. To that end, the President has instructed


the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate carbon emissions under the federal Clean Air Act, a law last updated in 1990 that contains not a single line mentioning carbon dioxide. Under the sweeping mandate set forth, the White House risks shuttering the nation’s entire coal fleet—roughly 37 percent of generation capacity—and driving up electric bills for all consumers. NRECA and its member cooperatives


In late June, President Obama


Industrial Fuel Use Act of 1978, which prohibited burning natural gas to generate electricity. To meet growing demand for power, utilities were forced to choose either coal or nuclear power facilities. For electric co-ops the timing couldn’t


have been worse. Te measure kicked in just as generation and transmission co-ops (G&Ts) were in the middle of a major power plant building cycle. In the end, many found themselves shiſting generation strategies midstream an expensive proposition—and either partnering with investor-owned utilities in nuclear reactors or constructing state-of-the-art


with scrubbers and other pollution control technologies. Tanks to the Fuel Use Act, power costs


oppose using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases and will engage the administration at every turn to inject common sense back into policy discussions. Whether you agree with the President’s


global warming or not, the basic fact is that short of closing all coal-fired power plants there are no economically viable tools currently available to accomplish his goals. 68200 For several years, electric co-ops have


underlying concerns about coal stations equipped


soared, and with them, cooperative electric bills. Realizing its mistake, Congress repealed the act in 1987. Yet because of the legislation, many electric cooperatives became deeply invested in coal. Today, coal accounts for about 74 percent of the power produced by G&Ts and 55 percent of all electric cooperative electricity requirements. Just like 35 years ago, the President’s


warned the Obama administration that employing the Clean Air Act to curb power plant carbon dioxide emissions is badly misguided. Without significant modifications, co-ops feel the President’s proposal will jack up electric bills for those who can least afford it—our consumer- members. Rural residents already spend a greater


chunk of their income on energy than those in urban communities. One of our first missions as not-for-profit electric co- ops remains keeping rates affordable, an important consideration since household income in our service territories runs 11 percent lower than the national average and one person in six served by a co-op lives in poverty. Forcing electric co-ops to shut down


Practice and teach safety with power tools


call for action has co-ops once again faced with shiſting fuels—in this case, choosing natural gas or renewables over coal. However, in regions without access to natural gas pipelines, changing from coal to natural gas isn’t feasible. On the renewables front, co-ops have emerged as leaders, adding “clean and green” power systems where it makes economic sense— such as solar photovoltaic arrays in the Southwest and wind farms across the Great Plains and Midwest. But the sun doesn’t always shine


coal plants and switch to other fuels amounts to levying a punitive, regressive tax on rural America. History shows us this bad idea was tried once before, with bad results. In the late 1970s policymakers were


concerned the U.S. would soon run out of natural gas, the main energy source for heating and cooking in many parts of our land. Congress’s solution to the issue was passing the ill-conceived Powerplant and


(clouds) and the wind doesn’t always blow, especially during periods of peak demand on hot, humid summer weekday aſternoons or cold winter mornings below minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit when power is needed most. Keeping the lights on 24 hours a day, seven days a week requires traditional baseload generation—namely coal, nuclear, and hydro—as well as a full mix of fuels. Te National Rural Electric Cooperative


Tools with Care Before you fire up that power tool for your next do-it-yourself home project, remember that these electrical devices must be treated with care. Even though many tools are equipped with safety mechanisms, it’s still important to heed precautions. When using power tools, keep in mind these tips from the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) : l Do not carry tools by their


cords. l Pull the cord out of the outlet by the plug, not by pulling on the cord. l Do not use in wet or damp job sites, unless the tool is specifically approved for those conditions. Store them in a dry place when not being used. l While carrying a tool, do not touch the switch or trigger that operates it to avoid accidental starts. l Ensure your work area is


Association, on behalf of America’s electric cooperatives, will continue to urge the President and his administration to work with co-ops on a real “all-of-the-above” energy strategy to keep electric bills affordable for rural Americans. —NRECA


well-lit. l Unplug tools when cleaning or fixing, while changing other parts of the tool such as blades or bits, and when not in use. l Ensure that all extension cords are not worn or frayed. l Wear proper clothing – no ties, jewelry, or other loose items that could get caught. Whether you’re on the job or working at home, staying safe around power tools is a must. Following a few rules could mean the difference between a successful project and an accident.” Source:


U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration


Treat Power


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