Don’t Get Lost in the Shuffle

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By Craig Borr, CEO Michigan Electric Cooperative Association

Six hundred pages, plus another 1,000 of supporting documents—that’s the length of the latest proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It would amend the Clean Air Act (only 465 pages) to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the power plants on which Michigan relies today.

Besides the actual rule, a lot has been written about its legality, feasibility and complexity. In fact, Michigan Rep. John Dingell, the longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives, emphatically stated several years ago that the EPA’s regulation of carbon dioxide would result in a “glorious mess”. His position, and I agree, is that Congress should determine far-reaching energy policy—not a federal agency loaded with lifetime bureaucrats.

But lost in the shuffle of these thousands of pages is the impact on people. How much will electric bills increase? Will manufacturers relocate? How many jobs will be lost? Which power plants will be forced to shut down? In Michigan, one-third of Michigan’s coal fleet will close as a result of EPA regulations. Arguably, some of those facilities need to close, as they are old and dirty.

Energy policy questions are often difficult, but they are important questions. Michigan’s electric cooperatives work hard to keep your electricity affordable and reliable. That’s why we’re asking the EPA for answers to these and many other questions.

We don’t want you to get lost in the shuffle. We put you—our members—first. We advocate for you. Our member-cooperatives see you every month paying your bill at the office. We work with you. We know when times are tough. We often live next door.

After all, you govern us. Our board members and community leaders are one and the same. We’re as local as any organization, and we like it that way.

That’s why we keep reminding the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., that the rules they write have an impact on the real world—where we live. That’s why we’re encouraging everyone to take 30 seconds to sign up at Action.coop and tell the EPA we cannot afford these regulations.

Please raise your voice. Don’t get lost in the shuffle. Together, we can tell the EPA that support for the environment and a true all-of-the-above energy policy are not mutually exclusive. Michigan’s electric cooperatives lead by example. Our members are proud to be leaders in both energy efficiency and renewable energy. We have been leaders in both of these important areas long before they were required by the Michigan Legislature. Like many of our member-consumers that make their living in the agriculture industry, electric co-ops have always been good stewards of the environment because it is the right thing to do.

Together we need to remind regulators and lawmakers that the impact the EPA’s proposed new rules could have on rural Michigan people, and others throughout our country, should be their first thought, not their last.

With over 900 electric cooperatives in the country backing us up, our voice can be heard. We have a great and positive story to tell. We can tell the story together. And it won’t even take 1,600 pages. The EPA’s public comment period is extended to Dec. 1—please take a moment to visit Action.coop today and let your voice be heard.