In a speech on June 25 at Georgetown University, President Obama announced a broad new federal mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electric power plants. The President will instruct federal regulators to apply the Clean Air Act to carbon dioxide issued from power plants, effectively outlawing coal-burning facilities.
While the President’s scheme will impose a massive new climate tax upon all consumers, Georgia’s electric membership cooperatives (EMCs) are especially concerned about this proposal because low-income Americans already spend disproportionately more on energy than others.
“The President’s plan will hit co-op served families and businesses in Georgia awfully hard,” said Paul Wood, President and CEO of Georgia EMC, the statewide trade association for electric co-ops. “Rural and suburban communities have been put through an economic wringer for the better part of a decade; they’ve made incredible sacrifices. What sense does it make for the President to pile on with this climate tax?”
The President’s climate tax fails to take into account electric cooperatives’ existing efforts to integrate low to zero carbon-emitting, cleaner-burning sources like renewables, natural gas, and nuclear. Co-ops are also at the forefront of energy efficiency initiatives.
“Ultimately, EMCs are about keeping electric bills affordable, providing underserved communities the power they need to improve their quality of life,” said Wood. “The President’s proposal will make electric power more expensive, causing families and businesses to sacrifice on top of all the other uncertainty in our national economy. Without question, electric bills will get bigger for the Americans who can least afford to pay them.”
If the President doesn’t see the importance of affordable electric power, Georgia’s co-ops will help bring it to his attention.”
Georgia EMC is the statewide trade association for the state’s 41 electric co-ops, Oglethorpe Power Corp. (OPC) and Georgia Transmission Corp. (GTC). Georgia’s 41 not-for-profit EMCs provide electric service to over 4.4 million Georgians across 73% of the state’s land area. OPC and GTC are the wholesale generation and transmission cooperatives, respectively, for 38 EMCs, while 3 EMCs provide electric service as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority.