It seems like every day we hear a new spin on issues that can and most likely will affect our way of lives as cooperative employees and also our members, both commercial and residential. The following information is presented as a means to communicate issues and put us on the same page as we visit with our federal legislators, our state representatives, local dignitaries and our members. Your input on these issues is imperative as we travel forward. Below we have included a brief summary of the issue, talking points for you to use, and a link to the bill. Please use this as a tool, and provide us your input to make it more effective for you.
Please don't forget you can also go to the Cooperative Action Network at http://www.nreca.coop/political-action/cooperative-action-network/ to let Congress know that we must have a "Fair, Affordable, and Achievable" greenhouse gas policy for America. In Oklahoma, you can contact your local legislators to do the same.
An excellent tool is the guide to the OK 56th Legislature can be downloaded by searching the App Store and searching for OAEC 56th legislature guide.
A quick link for contact information for house member is http://www.okhouse.gov/Members/Default.aspx
The Oklahoma Senate is http://www.oksenate.gov/Senators/Default.aspx?selectedtab=0
To view a list and/or contact Oklahoma's elected officials click here: http://www.ok.gov/about/elected_officials.html
Federal Issues ---- Where We Stand
Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act, in July of 2015. In response to concerns expressed by the Administration, an updated version was introduced as S. 2446 by Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). This bill will promote the recycling of CCRs while providing certainty of a functional permit program for the implementation of the CCR rule. NRECA urges Congress to support this legislation.
Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Electric Loan Program
The RUS Electric Loan Program is critical to making sure that the capital for adequate electric infrastructure remains available at a reasonable cost. Electric co-ops urge Congress, at a minimum, to adopt FY 2016 enacted $5.5 million funding levels for RUS in FY 2017, reject further restrictions on the purposes for which electric cooperatives may borrow from RUS, and maintain level funding for the Guaranteed Underwriter Program at $750 million.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is an important program that delivers short term aid to ensure that our nation's most vulnerable citizens can pay their energy bills during the cold winters and the hot summers. NRECA urges Congress to support LIHEAP funding of at least $4.7 billion help provide access to affordable home energy for the nation's most vulnerable households.
Congress plans to consider legislative proposals aimed at spurring deployment of broadband infrastructure across the country. America's Electric Cooperatives support legislative efforts to increase access to affordable and reliable broadband in areas where we serve.
Energy Supplies and Delivery
In 2015, the House passed comprehensive energy legislation, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act (H.R. 8). Early in 2016, the Senate began considering its own bill (S. 2012). We expect the Senate to continue working on amendments for the next few weeks. If the Senate completes its bill, both bills could then go to a "conference" - where small groups of lawmakers merge the two bills into one package that ultimately heads to the President's desk. America's Electric Cooperatives support the overall goals of this bipartisan legislation.
Funding for Electricity Delivery
Congress should avoid simply changing the way it looks at programs and calling it "reform," and refrain from adopting a one-size-fits-all system ill-suited to RUS Electric loan program.
Clean Power Plan
On February 9, 2016, the Supreme Court granted a stay of the Clean Power Plan rule. This stay is unprecedented -- never before has a stay been granted by the Supreme Court prior to the Circuit Court of Appeals issuing a decision on the contested regulation.
Waters of the US (WOTUS)
We urge the U.S. Senate to take up and pass S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Act.
Protecting the nation's electric power grid and ensuring an affordable, reliable and secure supply of energy are top priorities for electric cooperatives, and the electric power industry as a whole. The North American power system is becoming an even more complex machine as additional automation and remote access capabilities are added to grid operations. We continue to see system owners and operators as having the greatest expertise in responding to and mitigating threats and vulnerabilities to the grid.
Not-for-profit electric co-ops develop solar for one reason only: to serve their members. Cooperative solar IS consumer-owned solar. Co-ops are now bringing solar to regions of the country where this technology had been written off as unprofitable.
Endangered Species Act
Support thoughtful, sensible, and targeted Improvements to the Endangered Species Act. Congress should reauthorize the ESA, and in so doing, make procedural changes to make the Act more efficient, effective, less costly and with the goal of finding a balance that accommodates essential economic activities.
Congress should maintain the cooperative exemption from the federal pole attachment statute and reject any effort to subject electric cooperatives to federal pole attachment regulations. We urge Congress to maintain the federal pole attachment exemption for electric cooperatives.
Listed by Congressional District and State Demographics
The following documents indicate which rural electric systems provide service in each of the U.S. Congressional Districts. People served is estimated based on average household size. Demographics for each state are also included on www.cooperative.com.
New Mexico Legislature Information:
There are 112 Members of the legislature, 70 members of the House of Representatives and 40 members of the Senate. The Legislature convenes on the third Tuesday of every January. In odd-numbered years, the legislature meets for 60 days and in even-numbered years, for 30 days. 2017 is the first session of the 53rd Legislature and next year will be the second session of the 53rdLegislature. Bills brought by either the House of the Senate will be assigned to a committee. If they get approved in the committee, they will move to either the House or the Senate, depending on where they originated for a vote and the go to the other. If they are confirmed in both the House and the Senate, they will the go to the Governor's desk to be signed or vetoed. Visit https://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/lcsdocs/NMLegHandbook01-05.pdf for more information.
Information for the New Mexico legislature can be found at www.nmlegis.gov