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EPA regulation could cost 1.4 million jobs

At a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee in March, Mike Carey, Ohio Coal Association President, said the EPA has not performed a comprehensive economic analysis of its numerous green house gas regulations. He said a recent analysis by the American Council for Capital Formation concluded that uncertainty caused by EPA’s green house gas regulations could, by 2014, result in the loss of $25-75 billion in investment in the economy and that this could result in the loss of 476,000-1.4 million jobs.

Carey said, “Without legislation to stop the USEPA from regulating greenhouse gases, we will see over 77 percent of all coal mining jobs in America disappear by 2030, per three independent studies. Electricity prices will increase, and our manufacturing base will continue its migration to other parts of the world.”

Carey said energy solutions are clearly on the minds of all Americans as we observe the unsettling developments in the Middle East. “We must adamantly oppose the Obama USEPA’s trying to impose regulations after they have failed to legislatively pass a fatally flawed cap and trade program,” he said.


Hopkins testifies before Congressional committee on EPA regulation impact

In February, Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-19) invited Leonard Hopkins, the Fuel Procurement and Compliance Manager of Southern Illinois Power Cooperative based in rural Marion, to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy. Shimkus is chairman of that subcommittee.

“We want to discuss how government regulations hurt the economy and cause job losses and higher prices for consumers,” Shimkus said. “We did not ever hold the EPA accountable in the last Congress for the actions they take that are harmful.”

At the hearing entitled, “Environmental Regulations, the Economy and Jobs,” held on February 15, Hopkins said proposed coal combustion residue regulation was a serious threat to the cost of power and that it would virtually destroy the industries and jobs that recycle the coal ash by products.

Hopkins testified, “Southern Illinois Power Cooperative has been utilizing its coal combustion byproducts in beneficial ways for over 20 years. Roof shingle sand, abrasive products, mine reclamation, cement and fertilizer blends are all examples of ways our coal combustion residues are recycled into beneficial products for society. Southern Illinois Power is concerned that placing the label of hazardous on coal combustion residue will place the same stigma on all coal combustion byproducts, and effectively end the possibility of recycling such materials.”

Hopkins said the proposed EPA regulation would cost co-op members a minimum of an additional $11 million per year, or about 25 percent of the co-op’s current annual fuel budget. We serve an area of the state that has up to 15 percent unemployment,” said Hopkins. “In cases where small businesses like SIPC are affected, EPA is obliged to pursue the least costly approach in order to mitigate impacts on facilities that can least afford them.”


Governor Quinn requests federal assistance for February winter storm

Governor Pat Quinn sent a formal request to President Barack Obama asking that 60 counties be declared federal disaster areas, in order to help local governments recover from the major blizzard and winter storm that impacted much of Illinois in early February. Several co-ops suffered multi-million dollar storm damage and have applied for FEMA funds. State and local government expenses related to storm response and recovery are estimated to be more than $64 million.

“Record snowfall and dangerous ice from this major winter storm created significant challenges for local governments earlier this month”, said Governor Quinn.

In the letter to President Obama, Governor Quinn requested that 60 counties receive federal reimbursement for extraordinary storm-related expenses, including emergency protective measures, debris removal and permanent repair of damages to government-owned facilities and electrical cooperatives. If approved, local government entities could receive reimbursement for 75 percent of their eligible storm-related expenses.


Traveling co-op energy display wins MEEA award

If walls could talk, as the saying goes, this particular one would have a lot of stories to tell. In fact, it does tell one specific tale over and over: How the average homeowner can save real cash.

The Energy Efficiency Display, an idea spawned by Brian Kumer of Thermal Imaging Services, Inc. and developed again for Prairie Power, Inc. in Jacksonville, has become a cooperative show-and-tell item at co-op annual meetings in Illinois and across the country. The displays have helped educate 400,000 consumers. Although large, the model is not complicated. It is intended to give members some simple ideas for making their homes more energy efficient.

The exposure did not go unnoticed by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. In January the wall received the 2011 Inspiring Efficiency Marketing Award by MEEA.

The displays are intended to be interactive with real-world construction and efficiency items. The displays demonstrate how outside air infiltrates the living area, by using a blower to push air in through common problem areas in the walls, such as uncaulked seams and uninsulated can lights. The display also showcases various types of energy efficient insulation and lighting.

The original goal was to make the two walls available for display at the annual meetings of Prairie Power’s distribution cooperatives. However, in the year since their construction, the walls have been displayed at more than 40 events across the nation, including the Illinois State Fair, the Sunbelt Expo in Moultrie, Georgia, and in the halls of the United States Senate for a presentation on behalf of national energy efficiency legislation.

“It’s evolved into something we’re hauling all over the country,” says Greg Nieman, Director of Administrative Services at PPI.


Electric generation up in 2010

Net power generation increased 4.3 percent in 2010 as compared to 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Natural gas-fired generation showed the largest increase, growing by 6.6 percent over 2009. Coal-fired generation increased 5.4 percent and nuclear generation increased by 1 percent. Natural gas made up almost 24 percent of the fuel mix in 2010 and coal-fired generation made up 45 percent. Hydropower was the only generation source to take a dip during 2010, and was down 6 percent compared to the previous year. Residential sales of electricity were up 6.3 percent. The average retail price of electricity for residential consumers was up slightly, by 0.6 percent, from 11.51 to 11.58 cents per kWh. The overall increase in generation is likely due to a slight economic rebound and an increase in total cooling degree-days by 18.9 percent.


Census data starts the political redistricting process

The Census Bureau has released 2010 census data, which starts the process of redrawing the state’s legislative and congressional districts. This process will have implications on the partisan make up of the General Assembly for the next decade and can make or break a politician’s future. The Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly and the governor’s office, but in 2001 the Republican’s had the majority in the Senate and the governor’s office.

Although Illinois grew 3.3 percent since 2000, the new map will also likely indicate a reduction of one congressional district for the state. And while most downstate counties lost population as expected, surprisingly there was population loss in many Cook County districts. In fact Chicago decreased by 6.9 percent since the 2000 Census.

The process is politically charged and can drag on for months and undergo court challenges. Efforts to change the system stalled earlier this year.

In addition to redistricting the Census data impacts how $400 billion per year for projects like new hospitals and schools is divided up. It is used to make decisions on community services, grants and other funding.

 

© 2014 Illinois Country Living Magazine.
Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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