Cooperative Grassroots Advocacy - Supporting Rural Issues

Western Farmers Electric Cooperative and the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives of Oklahoma continue to provide a leading, united voice in support of rural Oklahoma issues.  Now, more than ever before, it is vitally important for electric cooperative members to become involved in the Cooperative Grassroots advocacy efforts.  Our rural communities are constantly confronted with criticism and the latest “quick fix” solutions to the challenges these areas  face.  Many of the “quick fix” ideas are generated at the national level and brought to Oklahoma by groups determined to undermine our rural way of life.  The impact of well-funded, highly visible and negative campaigns from Carbon Legislation to continued decrease in funding for rural electrification continues to chip away at our rural way of life.

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The Electric Cooperatives believe it is time to become more proactive and promote a new vision for a strong rural Oklahoma that leads to success for every rural citizen.

Federal and State Legislative Issue

The Issue — 2011 Proposed Budget Focuses on Conservation, Clean Energy.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to regulate Green House Gases (GHG), particularly carbon, through the Clean Air Act of 1990.  Even though Congress has not passed or considered legislation to oversee GHG’s, the EPA believes that they can regulate utilizing stationary sources.  Many cooperatives, including WFEC, believe that the Clean Air Act is the wrong tool to regulate GHG’s and carbon.  They believe that Congress should decide the issue, not the EPA.

The Issue — 2011 Proposed Budget suggests cuts for the RUS Program.
The Administration’s 2011 budget plan would cut the Rural Utility Service (RUS) Electric Loan Program $2.5 billion from 2010 budget levels.  These funds, in the past, have provided the necessary funding for new generation and upgrades for efficiency of existing generators to assure future demand will be met.  Also, the budget would not allow for any funding of fossil fuel generation, or funding for environmental upgrades for existing generation.  The net effect would be potentially higher rates for all consumers.

The repayment of the RUS Electric Loan Program is projected to return over $60 million in federal revenue in fiscal year 2010.

WFEC supports working with Congress to maintain current funding levels and rejecting restrictions of loan funds.