Our nation faces some tough choices
about energy in general, and our electricity supply in particular. In the
near term and for decades into the future, decisions being made now will
shape and affect our lives and those of our children, grandchildren and
descendants yet to come.
These choices really center more on
direction and degree than on destination. We all want to get to the same
destination, the same place, by achieving several key objectives for
ourselves, our families and our nation.
First, we all want to protect this
planetary home of ours. Second, we also want to have an adequate supply of
electricity to meet our growing needs at home and at work, now and into the
future. And finally, we all want this electricity to remain affordable, even
as we use ever more of it to stay comfortable, to store and cook our food,
to clean our clothes, and to be entertained and informed by all the
electronic wizardry of our wondrous age.
Discussions about the nature, speed,
causes and implications of climate change have shifted arenas in recent
months, from scientific debate to public-policy priority. In the halls of
, these discussions now revolve around the need to
reduce “greenhouse gases” like carbon dioxide and methane. (Carbon
dioxide is released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels — oil, natural
gas and coal — are burned. Methane is released during the production and
transport of these fossil fuels.)
And here is one of this topic’s many
vexing dilemmas: It is these very fuels that overwhelmingly generate our
electricity, fuel our cars, and thus power both our robust economy and our
Our elected officials in
are working right now with climatologists, environmental leaders and utility
officials to craft climate-change legislation aimed at stabilizing and/or
reducing the amount of greenhouse gases that we emit into the atmosphere. It
seems a high probability that legislation will be passed in the near future.
And thankfully, national electric
cooperative leaders are also actively involved in the legislative process,
as options are being discussed and decisions are being made. As noted
earlier, most of the discussions seem to center on “direction and
degree” rather than on “destination.” In other words, the focus is on
how climate-change legislation will be implemented, and who should pay for
it, not whether it’s needed.
As these decisions are being made,
electric cooperatives are asking members of Congress to be even-handed in
their approach, and to make sure that any legislation addresses the
• Any plan to reduce greenhouse
emissions should cover such emissions from all sectors of the economy.
• This is a global issue and therefore
other nations should be asked to contribute equitably to the solution.
• Adequate funding should be provided
for the development of new technologies to reduce, eliminate and/or store
greenhouse gases and help our nation maintain a robust, diverse mix of fuel
• Efforts to conserve energy, reduce
electric demand and broaden the use of green energy should be encouraged by
making smart incentives available to promote them.
• Electricity is as much a staple of
modern life as food, medicine and lodging, and thus it needs to be kept
affordable to all Americans.
As a member-owned business, we’ll keep
you informed about developments on these important issues. That’s part of
our responsibility as your cooperative.
As a not-for-profit utility, we’ll
continue to provide you with electric power at cost. That’s the essence of
our business structure.
And even as the world grows more
confounding and complex, our single priority will
remain as simple and focused as ever: serving you as safely, reliably and
affordably as possible. That’s what happens when your customers are also