Put VCP into Action to Help Stop the EPA Power Plant Rule


Steve Freese
President and CEO

In last month’s WECN column I introduced you to an NRECA advocacy program for electric cooperative consumer members, like yourself, called Voices for Cooperative Power. This is an effective online or mobile tool that you can use to get good information or connect quickly to your elected officials to voice your opinion on important energy issues. Last month was the introduction. This month is the call to action!

You may recall in June’s column that I mentioned the need for an advocacy program because we are quickly experiencing some significant reliability concerns when it comes to the creation of baseload power and the transition to a less carbon-dense future. Baseload power refers to the minimum amount of electric power needed to be supplied at any given time to the electric grid, whose stability and reliability are currently being threatened by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new Power Plant Rule released in May.

Price Electric Cooperative President and CEO Jeff Olson discussed the Voices for Cooperative Power initiative at the co-op’s recent annual meeting.

The EPA’s new rule to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new natural gas and existing coal power plants creates a regulatory scheme by the EPA that is “unlawful, unrealistic, and unachievable,” according to Jim Matheson, CEO of NRECA. “It undermines electric reliability and poses grave consequences for an already stressed electric grid.” Electric cooperatives believe the consequences of this rule to the reliability of the grid are so detrimental that the NRECA is leading a federal lawsuit against the EPA to have the rule thrown out.

This is where you come in. Along with NRECA’s lawsuit against the EPA, nearly 200 congressional members of the House of Representatives and the Senate have introduced identical joint resolutions (House Joint Resolution 163 and Senate Joint Resolution 92) to officially push back against the recently finalized EPA regulations using the Congressional Review Act to review, and potentially vote down, the Power Plant Rule.

Scan this code with your smartphone camera or go to www.voicesforcooperativepower.com to contact your elected officials.

Wisconsin congressional members who signed on as original sponsors of the resolutions are Derrick Van Orden (R-3), Scott Fitzgerald (R-5), Glenn Grothman (R-6), and Tom Tiffany (R-7). If you have not registered for Voices for Cooperative Power yet, please use the QR code on this page to learn more about the rule. You’ll also find information on how you can reach out to the above-mentioned House members to thank them for supporting the resolutions. Additionally, I urge you to also use VCP to reach out to the remaining members of Wisconsin’s delegation—Reps. Bryan Steil (R-1), Mark Pocan (D-2), and Gwen Moore (D-4), and Sens. Ron Johnson (R) and Tammy Baldwin (D)—and ask them to please sign on as a co-sponsor of HJR 163 and SJR 92.

Longtime readers of this magazine know that we don’t do call-to-action messaging all that often, so the fact that I’m asking you to engage in this topic indicates how important it is to maintain reliability of the grid and to keep your electrical power affordable. With your help, we can push back against this bad energy policy and continue on a less carbon-dense path that is reasonable, responsible, and achievable.