'Inside the TCMA' featured Article
 There’s Something in the Air in Washington
   Clifford Smith  |  November 21, 2014

The TCMA is a member of the Partnership for a Better Energy Future (PBEF) which has released a poll* showing that the Environ-mental Protection Agency is out of sync with voters across the country. According to a national survey of 1,340 likely voters and 11 statewide surveys of likely voters conducted earlier this month by Paragon Insights, a majority of voters believe the United States cannot afford new costs and potential job losses resulting from the EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations.

Additionally, before Congress recessed on September 19, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced legislation to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing regulations to set the ground-level ozone standard at an unprecedented low level.

The measure, The Clean Air, Strong Economies (CASE) Act would require the agency to focus on getting counties that have not yet complied with current smog standards to demonstrate attainment before moving on to set a new standard. Currently, 221 counties in 27 states are considered in non-attainment with the current 75 ppb standard.

Essentially, the bill would block EPA from lowering the current standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) until 85% of the current non-attainment counties achieve compliance with the existing standard. It also would require EPA to consider the costs and feasibility of the lower standard, which currently it does not consider.

Finally, the bill would prohibit EPA from using unreliable modeling to expand non-attainment areas to hundreds of rural counties that otherwise would not be impacted by the expensive regulation.

An interesting final note comes from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) which released a graphic highlighting the complexity of regulating the generation of electricity under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan.

“The EPA’s proposal implements a convoluted new maze of government hoops and red tape for consumers, utility providers, state legislatures and regulators to decipher,” said Jo Ann Emerson, NRECA CEO. “More than any other law on the books, the EPA’s proposal will dictate exactly how American families and businesses use electricity. These new layers of bureaucratic red tape jeopardize the ability of electric co-ops to provide afford-able, reliable electricity to our more than 42 million members across the country.”

The EPA proposal requires every state to file compliance plans to achieve specific emissions targets. As illustrated, state compliance plans will involve many more regulators, legislators, and regulated entities than any other environmental regulation to date.

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 provides service to 42 million people in 47 states. *

*Referenced from the Texas Association of Business.