Consumer Energy Alliance seeks to shape energy debate in Kentucky starting with newly proposed carbon regulations

06/19/2014 09:32 AM

While legislators fret over newly proposed carbon emissions regulations from the EPA, a new group is seeking to join the debate and bring consumers and stakeholders together on energy issues.

The Consumer Energy Alliance is active in more than 20 states. And the group, which seeks to unite common energy and agriculture organizations, is expanding into the southeastern portion of the United States opening an office in Lexington, Kentucky just one week ago.

Brydon Ross, the vice president of regional affairs for the southeastern region of CEA, said the focus of the group is to inform consumers, and take part in discussions with governmental agencies.

“We are not a political organization. We don’t endorse candidates. We’re really out there to educate consumers and speak on their behalf when policy issues come about that impact the price of energy and energy production,” Ross said.

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed capping carbon emissions in Kentucky 18 percent by 2030, and Ross said the regulations which are a staggering 645 pages long has not gone over well with CEA’s membership.

“There’s a lot of concern about what this means for reliability especially in the southeast and midwest — the Ohio Valley areas,” Ross said (at 2:38 in the interview).

“I think when you see gosh 18 percent – that doesn’t seem all that bad, but when you think about a state like Kentucky that’s over 90 percent coal…those are substantial impacts. There’s not a lot of spare capacity left sitting around being idle.”

The proposed EPA rule will take one-year barring legal challenges to become official with a comment period and public hearings across the United States.

Ross said CEA plans to take part in several of the public hearings including one at the end of July in Atlanta. Governor Steve Beshear has indicated that state officials would also take part in the public hearings.

States will also have one-year to turn over their plans to the EPA on how they will meet the carbon emissions standards something Ross said he feels it too short given the task of cutting 93 million tons of carbon dioxide in Kentucky.

“One of the things we want to get out to folks is that this timeline being envisioned by EPA is really truncated,” Ross said (4:00). “Typically under clean air rules you get four to six years to put together an implementation plan for pollutants that are really, really small.”

Watch the rest of the interview to see what Ross has to say about the “ripple effects” of increasing the usage of natural gas in the state to meet energy demands.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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