Go to www.action.coop and make your concerns known

On Monday, June 2, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached a milestone in the CO2 debate when they issued proposed rules for limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. During the next 120 days, the EPA will accept comments on the draft rules from industry, the environmental community, and folks like you and me. They will then take the next year to evaluate and respond to those comments before issuing a final set of regulations by June of 2015.

The final rules may or may not look much like the initial draft, but there will undoubtedly be changes between now and final passage. Since it’s not likely Congress will be able to act, it will be up to us to make sure the EPA knows how we feel. If you haven’t already done so, please take just a few minutes and go to www.action.coop and let the EPA know you don’t want new regulations that will force an increase in the cost of electricity and erode the reliability of our power supply.

I’ve written articles before about EPA regulations and their approach to reducing carbon. If you have read any of these articles, you might assume that I’m not concerned about the environment. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Whether our electricity is generated from coal, natural gas or wind turbines, we take our responsibility seriously to provide reliable and affordable electricity while doing our best to protect the environment.

What concerns me more than the current state of climate change is EPA’s approach to regulate a solution in an inefficient and ineffective way that will change little more than the cost of your electric bill. At Nodak, our first priority is the safety of our employees and the public. It always will be. Close behind safety comes reliability and price – two things that the EPA’s new rules could affect greatly.

It’s early in the process, and much work will be needed to wade through the 1,600-page proposed rule. It’s very complex, but it will dictate how we operate our electric system and how we use electricity for the next 16 years and beyond.

What we do know, is that it places different CO2 reduction goals on each state based on a formula meant to identify each state’s ability to reduce its carbon intensity. It then leaves it up to each state to determine how it will meet these new thresholds. With each state having the flexibility to develop their own plans, carbon taxes to renewable portfolio standards and everything in between will be discussed and considered as part of this local solution.

What this means for Nodak and its members is that we all need to be prepared to spend a lot of time talking with our state legislators and regulators in the coming years. For now though, the best thing we can do is to go to www.action.coop and express our concern directly to the EPA. The EPA is trying to remove coal from our power supply, and we need to make sure they know we don’t want that to happen.