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Rep. Jordan calls Clean Power Plan burdensome regulatory attack

Congressman Jim Jordan (Ohio Dist. 4) said President Obama’s called President Obama’s and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan a “burdensome regulatory attack on coal and an attack on the cost of energy.”

Watch Congressman Jordan and LMRE General Manager Markus Bryant comments from the Sept. 2 Co-op Owners for Political Action breakfast.

Jordan, who represents Huron County and parts of Lorain County in LMRE’s service area, addressed about 80 members and guests of LMRE’s Co-op Owners for Political Action at The Lodge, New Russia Township’s new meeting hall on Sept. 2.

Co-op Owners I the local membership arm of ACRE, or the Action Committee of Rural Electrification, the national political action committee for 900 electric cooperatives nationwide.

Jordan shares LMRE’s service area with Congressman Bob Gibbs (Ohio Dist. 7), who represents about 80 percent of LMRE’s service area, and Congressman Jim Renacci, (Ohio Dist. 16) who covers a portion of southern Medina County.

Jordan commended LMRE members for sending messages in 2008 to Congress to  help defeat cap and trade legislation designed to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired facilities. And in 2014, LMRE Secretary Jim McConnell said LMRE members sent 4, 200 messages to Washington asking the EPA to withdraw their effort to limit carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants and to develop rules that are affordable and reliable.

“Ohio sent 120,000 messages and LMRE members sent more than 4,200 messages. Only one other cooperative sent more and they have 100,000 more members than we do,” McConnell said.

Jordan urged members to continue the campaign. “Now we have the EPA trying to do the same thing through the regulatory process.  We have our work cut out for us, but I know you’re up to the challenge and we’ll so just keep fighting. These folks have this animosity for coal, gas and oil and taking it out with these emission standards.”

Jordan said he recently toured Israel and heard from several leaders it is critical that America remain strong.

“They said the best way your country can help our country is for America to stay strong. When you’re strong, were safer. When you’re strong, we’re better,”

“The truth is that doesn’t apply just to the state of Israel, but the entire world,” Jordan said. “When America leads the world is a safer and better place.

“The simple fact is, you can’t lead militarily, and you can’t lead diplomatically, if you first don’t lead economically. And you can’t lead economically if you don’t have readily available energy at an affordable cost. It is a fundamental building block of a strong economy and therefore a strong country. And this attack on coal that we see from this administration, specifically from the EPA, is going to undermine all that.”

In his opening remarks, General Manager Markus Bryant said Buckeye Power, the Ohio cooperatives wholesale power supplier, has spent over $1 billion on pollution control equipment at its coal-fired plants.

“That has resulted in the average member’s bill going up about $20 a month. An average member uses between 1,000 to 1,200 kilowatt hours. The good news is we have some of the cleanest coal-burning plants in the world. We currently meet all of the EPA environmental regulations including the new mercury rule, which the courts have just recently thrown back for reconsideration by the EPA.

Bryant said the Ohio cooperatives oppose President Obama’s greenhouse gas regulations from an affordability standpoint. He said the average member’s monthly bill will increase $40 to $50 more per month if the regulations are imposed.

“We believe these regulations will degrade the reliability of our electric system. Back in the winter of 2014 we came very close to having a blackout in our region with that polar vortex.”

He said some coal plants have been shut down because it was not cost effective to install emission controls. “They were shut down prematurely, leaving us with less reliability. Fortunately the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stepped in and kept some of them operating in order to ensure reliability. 

 “This regulation really won’t accomplish much other than raising our bills. Even by the EPA’s own methodology, by 2050, it will reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by less than one percent globally, global temperatures by less than .016 Fahrenheit and limit sea level rise by 1/100th of an inch, which is the thickness of three pieces of paper.  It’s a lot of all pain and no gain.
“We call this on a war on coal because the real purpose of these regulations we believe is to shut down coal plants and limit the use of our abundant and most economical fuel in this country. It also sets up a Soviet-style command and control government-regulated system for the electric industry. It is in direct opposition to the current structure of the industry, which Congress set up 15-20 years ago for a deregulated, wholesale power market. How all this is going to work out is anybody’s guess.

“The end result of Obama’s war on coal is actually a war on the poor, the elderly on fixed incomes and our working people struggling to pay their electric bills. We currently have over 15 percent of members that cannot pay their bills on time and that’s with the current rates. To put another $40 to $50 a month on their backs we’re talking literally in some cases people having to choose between their grocery bill or their electric bill.   

Enrollment in LMRE’s Co-op Owners group has grown to about 350 members, which is the fifth largest in Ohio and one of the largest groups in the country. Ohio has the largest membership among states with electric cooperatives with about 5,600 enrolled. All nine LMRE board members are members of ACRE, Most LMRE members have $2.08 applied to bill to cover the $25 annual membership fee.

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