Georgia Magazine - November 2011 - (Page 15)

SPECIAL ENERGY REPORT BY BILL VERNER, VICE PRESIDENT, EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, GEMC T.R.A.I.N. Act on the right track I n September, electric co-op employees, directors and consumers joined thousands of concerned citizens and small-business owners across the country advocating support of the T.R.A.I.N. Act (HR 2401) to members of Congress. So why were Georgians fired up about the T.R.A.I.N. Act, and what does it do? HR 2401, or the “Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011” requires the federal government to do something that most citizens would be shocked to learn is not already in place. HR 2401 requires a comprehensive, cost-benefit analysis prior to the implementation of new regulatory proposals by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Just like any reasonable smallbusiness owner in Georgia would do if contemplating major changes in company operations, the T.R.A.I.N. Act requires the government to consider the broad implications of new EPA regulations on the consumer, businesses, jobs and the overall economy in addition to environmental protection measures alone. Under this act, a federal interagency committee would collect and report information such as the number of jobs that could be affected, the potential increase in consumers’ power bills, the financial impact to small businesses and the resulting effect on the United States’ global competitiveness. Thanks in part to a nationwide grassroots movement, reason preNovember 2011 vailed on Sept. 23, and the T.R.A.I.N. Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 249 to 169. Ten members of the Georgia congressional delegation should be applauded for taking a reasonable, consumer and “jobs”-minded position with a “yes” vote on HR 2401. Reps. John Barrow, Sanford Bishop, Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, Tom Graves, Tom Price, Jack Kingston, Austin Scott, Lyn Westmoreland and Rob Woodall all supported the T.R.A.I.N. Act, and deserve a big thankyou from co-op employees, directors and members for their “yes” vote. Unfortunately, with a “no” vote, Reps. Hank Johnson, John Lewis and David Scott apparently remain unconvinced that the EPA’s massive regulatory overreach will ultimately drive consumer and business electricity bills straight up, and the nation’s global competitiveness straight down. So, now what? Although both Georgia Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson support a similar measure in the U.S. Senate, there is unfortunately not enough support in the leadership of the U.S. Senate to even bring the T.R.A.I.N. Act up for debate, or any other reasonable legislation to rein in the EPA. Even if a similar measure did gain passage in the Senate, President Barack Obama has stated he would veto the bill. Clearly, the president is attempting to make the use of our nation’s most abundant domestic fuel source— More online at coal, which provides 50 percent of our nation’s electricity—cost-prohibitive through additional EPA regulations, achieving the “cap and trade” equivalent of the measure that failed in the 111th Congress. But the House’s passage of HR 2401 and the grassroots efforts of electric cooperatives and our consumers, concerned citizens and community leaders in support of the bill were not in vain. The passage of the T.R.A.I.N. Act sends a loud and clear message to the Senate, the EPA and the president that it is only reasonable to require the government to consider the impact on consumers and the overall economy before implementing sweeping regulatory changes—especially when our economy is already reeling from regulatory uncertainty. Georgia’s electric cooperatives applaud the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives on this topic of critical importance, and we will continue to raise awareness of the dire consequences for our consumers and the nation’s economy if our nation’s leaders fail to curb what has become known as EPA’s “train wreck” of proposed regulations. Stay tuned to GEORGIA Magazine for more insight on how the EPA’s proposals will affect you and our economic well-being as we provide more important information about: • Significant emission reductions achieved at co-op-owned generation plants to comply with existing Clean Air Act regulations; • Costs of environmental regulation compliance to date, which is yielding significant emission reductions; • Costs of proposed environmental regulations and the corresponding projected marginal yields in emission reductions; and • What consumers can do to make their voices heard! Go to Our Energy, Our Future,, to learn more and to send your message to Congress, urging them to help us maintain affordable and reliable electricity for Georgians! 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - November 2011

Georgia Magazine - November 2011
Picture This?
Georgia News
Calendar of Events
Special Energy Report
Generations of Growing
A Productive State
Around Georgia
My Georgia
Georgia Cooks
Bonus Snapshot Submissions
Gardens Plant of the Month: Liberty Notes
Energy-Efficiency Tips
Second Helping: More Great Recipes

Georgia Magazine - November 2011