Representatives from 10 electric co-ops met with the EPA and Small Business Administration (SBA) for a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) panel regarding the proposed plan for existing power plants that the EPA is developing as part of the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Co-ops reps from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Indiana, Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee, Florida and Wisconsin participated.

“While we appreciate the EPA convening the SBAR, we are concerned, like the Small Business Association, that the EPA is not providing sufficient analysis and options for small utilities,” says National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) CEO Jo Ann Emerson.

NRECA requested the SBAR panel from the onset because their member co-ops will be severely impacted by the CPP, Emerson explained. “With 21 percent of co-op owned coal power plants shut down under the proposal – according to the EPA’s own analysis – it is imperative that it help identify lower-cost alternatives for small utilities impacted by the plan. Otherwise, consumers will be forced to pay twice – once for the existing power plants and again for replacement power – and rightly have concerns about reliability, too.”

Emerson also praised legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) that would prevent the EPA from enforcing the Clean Power Plan until the courts settle expected litigation. Calling Capito’s bill “common sense legislation,” Emerson said. “We should not be required to make potentially devastating and consequential business decisions until the full and lawful considerations have been determined by the courts.”