New EPA Effluent Guidelines another Blow to Affordable Rural Power

(ARLINGTON, VA) — America’s not-for-profit, member-owned electric cooperatives are deeply disappointed by new standards for handling the by-products from electric steam power plants. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) had urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to re-consider the cost-effectiveness of the rule on small entities. Smaller power plants like those operated by co-ops should have been able to negotiate cost-effective “best professional judgment” limits with their respective state permit writers.

NRECA senior vice-president for governmental affairs, Kirk Johnson, issued the following statement on the rule finalized today:

“As local, member-owned businesses, electric co-ops and their member-owners value and deserve a healthy environment. However, the economic challenges many of our rural member-owners face underscore the importance of cost-effective regulations.

NRECA and others had identified significant errors in the data the EPA used to support the proposed rule, yet the Agency appears wedded to the initial proposal. We are dismayed by the lack of rigor and by the lack of consideration given to cost, a burden that will ultimately be felt by co-op consumer-members.”

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.