The National Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives is working with a dynamic new executive, Jo Ann Emerson, a former Missouri U.S. Representative of the 8th District, in the southeast and south central part of the state.
The first Republican woman elected from Missouri, Ms. Emerson knows her way around Washington, D.C.: her father, A. B. Herman was executive director of the Republication National Committee and she married the late Rep. Bill Emerson, succeeding him in the 8th District when he passed from cancer.
She is an excellent choice to replace the former long-time NRECA executive director Glenn English, who retired after serving in that position since 1994.
She has dubbed rural electric co-op members “Co-op Nation.” It is in that spirit she has challenged the state electric cooperative organizations and the local distribution networks to weigh in on proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules for power plants. NRECA is looking for a million signatures.
Co-ops want the EPA to use an “all of the above” energy strategy that includes coal.
But the EPA has been directed to enforce limits on CO2, which could effectively ban future coal-fired power plants as at present there is no technology that can make coal as clean as required.
The electric utilities and others have been researching technologies to reduce or capture power plant CO2 emissions, called carbon capture and sequestration, or CCS. CCS would capture emissions and transport the captured and compressed CO2 to be stored in underground rock formations, at least a mile below the surface.
To date, the technology hasn’t been used commercially, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that engineers estimate that CCS technology would increase by 75 percent the cost of producing electricity and storing CO2.
For Platte-Clay members there are three main issues:
1. Currently Missouri enjoys some of the lowest electricity rates in the U.S. If new CCS regulations are in place, rates could rise.
2. Coal is a plentiful, domestic and cheap resource. Co-ops believe coal should be included in the nation’s energy mix, along with other power sources, including renewables—an “all of the above” approach.
3. The demand for energy is slowing, in part because of the slow economy and in part because of many individual energy efficiency measures. As a result, the overall power plant emissions have slowed.
To make it easier for both co-op members and NRECA to respond to issues affecting the industry, the trade association has set up an online registration form which will allow the organization to send messages on your behalf on this and any future issues.
This quick response database will help NRECA target our senators and representative and show support or concern on electric industry issues. To include your name in the database, go to www.action.coop and fill in the blanks in the online form.
For those who prefer to work with paper, Platte-Clay has forms at both offices (15055 Bethel Road, Platte City and 1000 W. Hwy. 92, Kearney) and co-op employees will enter your name in the database.
For more information, please visit