The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Sept. 16 that it will extend the public comment period for its proposed Clean Power Plan by 45 days (from Oct. 16 to Dec. 1). Released in June, the Plan aims to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants.

“These proposed regulations are some of the most complex and far-reaching ever written,” explains Jo Ann Emerson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). “Electric co-ops welcome the extension of the comment period to allow for more analysis of their impact on affordability and reliability.” It provides electric co-ops the opportunity to offer more informed and specific feedback to the EPA before the final rule is announced.

The agency has seen a “strong amount of interest” in its Clean Power Plan and, therefore, aims to give more time for stakeholders to speak, said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, in a Huffington Post article. To date, the EPA has received over 750,000 comments and held public hearings in July.

The EPA’s announcement comes after 53 U.S. Senators sent the agency a joint letter requesting a 60-day extension for comments. Despite the extension, McCabe said, the EPA still expects to finalize the new rules by President Barack Obama’s June 2015 deadline.

The Nov-Dec issue of Michigan Country Lines magazine will carry an editorial to co-op member-consumers about how the proposed EPA regulations will increase electric rates and have serious consequences, including loss of jobs, in local communities.

All co-op members, directors, employees and associate members are encouraged to visit where they can quickly send an email asking the EPA to stop implementing costly new regulations and keep electricity affordable and reliable for American families and businesses.