Lending our voice, and hoping others will do the same

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Ten hour days. Five minute slots.  Four cities. Two person panels.

As part of their public comment process, EPA is holding a series of listening sessions focused on their proposed rule for reducing carbon emissions at existing power plants. Each ten-hour day is structured to call two individuals, referred to as panels, to the table at a time, with each person getting up to five minutes to share their comments.  These sessions are being held the week of July 28 in Washington, DC, Atlanta, Denver and Pittsburgh.

On July 29th, Dear Schramm testified at the EPA Public Comments Hearing in Washington, DC. Dear’s approach focused on the science, technical and legal challenges posed by the language in the current EPA proposal for existing power plants, and even illustrated how the Clean Power Plan interrelates with other proposals EPA currently has on the table.

Compared to the extensive number of speakers from the Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation and other anti-coal groups, the approach and detailed facts included in her testimony were in stark contrast to the majority of comments made during the morning session. California Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, Governor Jack Markell of Delaware, California Congresswoman Anna Eshoo all spoke in support of EPA and the plan.

The vast majority of the morning was filled with speakers supporting EPA, but Wabash Valley wasn’t the only utility in the room.   NRECA’s John Novak, head of the environmental issues team and Fred Palmer, senior vice president of government relations for Peabody Energy, spoke out against the plan.  Both cited the punishing economic effects, lack of material benefit and stranded assets that would result from implementation of the plan.

While stressing the importance of affordability and having time to adequately prepare, Dear emphasized that Wabash Valley Power is committed to a clean energy future.  Her explanation of steps the G&T has taken, without state mandates, led to many nodding heads in the room that hosted EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s unveiling of the Clean Power Plan just last month.

In addition to the public testimony, Wabash Valley will file technical comments well in advance of the October deadline.

Have you shared YOUR voice yet? Electric cooperative members are encouraged to visit www.action.coop and complete the simple online card.  Even if you signed up back in the winter or spring, this is a new issue, and the signature counts have been re-set to zero.

We know our collective voice is likely to be softer than that of many other special interest groups, but it’s important to show EPA that there are many sides, or voices, to this issue. We hope you’ll join us by lending your voice to the cause.