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Geothermal Heat Pumps Tax Credit

Consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives across the nation help their consumer-members save energy and money by promoting the use of geothermal (or ground-source) heat pumps. Geothermal heat pumps take heat from the earth and convert it into a heating source for homes and businesses in an extremely efficient manner. (They also transfer heat from the building to the ground to cool the building.) However, the initial capital cost for the technology is more expensive than other home heating options, which presents a significant barrier to its use by households and businesses. Congress should extend the geothermal tax credit under both sections 25 (residential) and 48 (commercial) of the tax code. Highly-efficient ground-source heat pumps deserve tax parity with other alternative energy sources like solar that had their tax incentives extended in 2015. NRECA urges Congress to establish a similar extension and glide path for the geothermal tax credit.   more>>

Protect Your RS Plan Benefits

Over 880 rural electric cooperatives participate in the defined-benefit "multiple-employer" pension plan sponsored by NRECA, covering over 56,000 employees in 47 states. In 2014, Congress unanimously passed the Cooperative and Small Employer Charity Pension Flexibility Act of 2014 ("CSEC") stating that pension funding rules created for Fortune 500 "single-employer" plans were not appropriate for charitable and co-op "multiple-employer" plans like the NRECA Retirement Security Plan, since by design, we pose virtually no risk of default to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC). But current law still forces PBGC to apply Fortune 500 premium rules to plans like ours. We ask Congress to align PBGC premium rules with required funding rules enacted for not-for-profit sponsors of "multiple-employer" pension plans in the CSEC Law.   more>>

Vegetation Management

Electric co-ops urge Congress to pass legislation to reform federal land management practices in order to better ensure reliability and reduce the risk of fires and fire hazards on utility rights-of-way across federal lands. Streamlining federal government management practices on these federal lands will make it easier for electric co-ops to maintain safety and reliability by performing needed vegetation management to prevent threats to power lines and respond to emergencies. NRECA urges Congress to pass H.R. 2358, the Electricity Reliability and Protection Act.   more>>

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

NRECA encourages the Senate to take up S. 2969 and go to conference with the "FEMA Disaster Reform Act of 2015" (HR 1471) to strengthen and re-authorize the program. Further, Congress must carefully weigh any proposals for retooling or overhauling FEMA. The Public Assistance Program is an effective tool and should remain available for enabling electric cooperatives to quickly restore electric service to consumers' homes and businesses.   more>>

Coal Combustion Residuals (CCRs)

In April of 2015, EPA published a rule to establish federal requirements for the disposal of CCRs. This rule, now in effect, regulates CCRs as nonhazardous, a decision that is consistent with decades of research and analysis by EPA. NRECA supports EPA's decision to regulate CCRs as nonhazardous. A bipartisan majority in the House passed H.R. 1734, the 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.   more>>

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.   more>>

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.   more>>

Broadband Access

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.   more>>

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.   more>>

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.   more>>

Electrify Africa

On February 8, 2016, President Barack Obama signed the Electrify Africa Act into law, encouraging public-private partnerships that will bring electricity to 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa and help lift impoverished African communities out of subsistence living.   more>>

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.  more>>

Waters of the US (WOTUS)

We urge the U.S. Senate to take up and pass S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Act.   more>>

Cybersecurity

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.   more>>

Distributed Generation/Solar

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.   more>>

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.   more>>

Pole Attachments

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.   more>>




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