Kentucky’s member-owned electric cooperatives commend the action taken Tuesday by the U.S. Supreme Court to suspend the implementation of new, harmful federal regulations of electric power plants. The EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP) threatens the affordability and reliability of electricity for the 1.5 million Kentuckians served by cooperatives.
“The high court’s halt of the regulation comes at a critical time,” said Chris Perry, president and CEO of the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives. “Without this stay, co-ops would have been forced to take expensive and irreversible actions to comply with the rule.”
The EPA plan targets coal, the main source of Kentucky’s electricity, in new and aggressive limits on carbon emissions. About 90 percent of electricity generated in Kentucky is by coal fired power plants. The CPP fundamentally changes how electricity is generated, distributed and consumed in the United States.
Because the time frame of the EPA’s rule is inconsistent with the time needed to build alternative energy sources, the rule’s implementation would increase the likelihood of increased costs and potential reliability problems in Kentucky. Co-op members would also be on the hook for the debt of prematurely retired coal-fired plants as non-producing stranded assets
KAEC applauds the leadership of several Kentuckians who have played key roles in the issue. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has steadfastly and effectively voiced his objections to the rule. Governor Matt Bevin is striking a responsible balance, challenging the EPA rule’s legality while seeking an extension until implementation is effective. And, both former Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and current Attorney General Andy Beshear have provided solid legal arguments against the heavy-handed regulations. Conway initially filed suit against the EPA, while Beshear has continued the challenge with 28 other states.
KAEC, its 26 member cooperatives and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association are actively working to communicate the consequences as the courts continue to contemplate the regulations.