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c o - op i s sue s S What Co-ops Want On Capitol Hill


ome 1,500 electric cooperative leaders advanced key co-op issues to members of Congress and their


staffs at Capitol Hill meetings during the 2016 NRECA Legislative Conference, held May 1-3 in Washington, D.C.


Here’s a rundown of the key “asks” for electric co-ops:


Q Join New Caucuses


NRECA Legislative Conference participants asked representatives to join two new House caucuses to help promote co-op priorities. The Rural Broadband Caucus will focus on bridging the digital divide and increasing access to affordable and reliable broadband service in rural areas. The Co-op Business Caucus will focus on promoting the co-op business model.


Q Oppose Pole Attachment Legislation


Discussion draft legislation before the House Energy and Commerce Committee would extend federal regulation of attachments to electric co-op power poles.


Co-op leaders asked their officials to maintain the federal pole attachment exemption for electric cooperatives and remove language that would increase regulation.


Q Extend Geothermal Credit


Tax credits for highly efficient geothermal heat pumps expire at the end of 2016. Kiamichi Electric Cooperative and other co-ops help their members save energy and money by promoting geothermal heat pumps.


Making geothermal more affordable also benefits the cooperatives by reducing a co-op's demand during peak usage periods. Co-ops asked lawmakers to extend the geothermal tax credit.


Some 1,500 electric cooperative leaders gathered in Washington DC for the 2016 NRECA Legislative Conference. PHOTO/LUIS GOMEZ


Q Support Coal Ash Legislation


A bill introduced by Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from reversing course on its coal ash regulations and require states to implement the EPA rule through a permitting program. Co-ops sought more Senate sponsors for S. 2446.


Q Support FEMA Reauthorization


Co-op leaders sought Senate support for H.R. 1471, a bill passed by the House that cuts red tape. FEMA's Public Assistance Program helps reduce the cost of restoring electric power to consumers after severe disasters. Without FEMA assistance, many electric cooperative consumers living in disaster-stricken areas could face significantly higher electric rates.


Q Better Land Management


Federal land management policies complicate electric co-op efforts to ensure reliable service by maintaining rights of way on or near federal property. H.R. 2358, introduced by Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., and Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., passed the House in December and would streamline the process. Co-op leaders asked senators to support the bill, the Electricity Reliability and Protection Act, as part of a final energy bill.


To learn more about the issues that affect your electric service, rates and reliability, please visit www.action.coop or www.nreca.coop.


REGISTRATION DEADLINES


Oklahoma Primary Tuesday, June 28, 2016 MAIL: Must be received by June 3 IN PERSON: June 3


General Election Tuesday, November 8, 2016 MAIL: Must be received by October 14 IN PERSON: October 14


Absentee Ballots State Primary Election Ballots must be received by June 28.


General Election Ballots must be received by November 8.


To download an absentee ballot application, find your polling location, learn about candidates, please visit vote.coop.


Light Post | may - june 2016 | 7


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