News and Events
Emerson, Hart Speak Out On Coal
March 24, 2014
As electric co-op directors from around the nation arrived in St. Louis for the NRECA Director’s Conference, Jo Ann Emerson and Barry Hart used the event to speak out on the need for electricity generated from coal. The two took part in “The Mark Reardon Show” on KMOX radio March 24 and then did an interview with The St. Louis Business Journal. You can listen to the interview here.
Co-op Nation says no to president’s climate plan
December 2, 2013
Missouri’s electric cooperatives have joined a nationwide campaign to educate consumers on the true costs of a plan to add additional regulations to power plants. In June, President Obama ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to develop an aggressive plan for cutting carbon pollution from power plants.
“The president’s plan will increase electricity costs for every American, and that’s a burden we can least afford when our economy is just beginning to recover,” said Jo Ann Emerson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
Electric cooperatives rely on a diverse mix of generation to keep power affordable and reliable. These new regulations target coal-fired power plants, which account for 70 percent of the electricity used by electric cooperative members in Missouri. Coal is also the least expensive option for generating electricity.
“Many American and Missouri communities depend on clean coal-based generation for affordable electric power,” said Barry Hart, CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. “Using the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants could disproportionately burden these communities at the same time rural people are reeling from the sluggish economy."
“Currently, there is no affordable technology available to achieve this goal, and in Missouri, that means shutting down clean coal plants which will kill our economy.”
Electric cooperatives believe their investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy and new technology is a better idea. Emerson points out that affordable electricity, more than any other factor, powers the nation’s economy.
The goal of the national “Powering the American Spirit” effort is to get as many electric cooperative members as possible signed up for updates as these new regulations are unveiled and their impact on consumer electric bills become known.
Members of the electric cooperative grassroots team — known as Co-op Nation — will be on hand at the Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives Building at the Missouri State Fair, electric co-op annual meetings and other community events to sign up members for e-mail or text alerts as this issue moves forward.
Members can also join the cause themselves by visiting Action.coop.
“As a member of an electric cooperative, you need to keep informed on how this issue will impact your electric bill,” Hart said. “Affordable electricity is essential to every American, and every small business. We need your help to encourage common-sense solutions.
“Co-op Nation is 42 million members in the U.S., but we will need all members to get involved and have their voices heard over the months ahead to make a difference."
Missouri Electric Cooperatives vow fight on president’s proposal to increase electric bills
June 26, 2013
JEFFERSON CITY — Electric cooperatives nationwide vowed to fight broad new federal mandates they say will increase the price of electricity for members. In a speech June 24 at Georgetown University, President Obama announced his plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electric power plants. The president will instruct federal regulators to apply the Clean Air Act to carbon dioxide issued from power plants, effectively outlawing coal-burning facilities.
“While the President’s scheme will impose a massive new climate tax upon all consumers, Missouri’s electric cooperatives are especially concerned about this proposal because rural and low-income Americans already spend disproportionately more on energy than others,” said Barry Hart, CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.
NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson Introduces Herself Through a Series of Town-Hall Type Meetings
May 13, 2013
“Beware of those who have all the answers before the facts are in,” NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson warned when asked about the possibility of climate change legislation or regulation of carbon dioxide produced by coal-fired power plants. NRECA is working on the climate issue, although she doesn’t think a carbon tax is something Congress will deal with in this session. “I don’t believe with the current makeup of the House and Senate that we will be getting any liberal-sounding legislation through.”
The greatest threat is regulation, she said. “We have a great relationship with the staff at the Environmental Protection Agency, and we are trying to emphasize that common-sense science is important,” Emerson said. “I have always been concerned that sound science should be the basis for reasonable regulation.”
She reported having a positive meeting last week with Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA’s air quality section and President Obama’s nominee to become agency administrator.
READ THE FULL NEWS ARTICLE HERE...
Emerson: We Can Meet Challenges
March 1, 2013
The incoming chief executive of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association says she is confident electric co-ops can generate the creativity, ingenuity and common purpose needed to confront future challenges.
Taking the stage briefly at the NRECA annual meeting after being introduced as the next CEO, Emerson said she has been inspired by everyone she has met in the co-op movement, from directors to linemen to young people. Click here to see a video of Jo Ann's introduction to the NRECA membership at the 2013 annual meeting.
“We face challenges because people don’t understand all that we do to make lives better for people in our communities,” Emerson said Feb. 20. “If we stick together, if we work hard, if we remember that we are family, we can beat anybody.”
Read the Entire Article Here...
AMEC's 75th Annual Meeting a Success
October 4, 2012
In 1937 when a statewide association for Missouri’s electric cooperatives was proposed, 10 people attended the first meeting. As the same group gathered 75 years later on Oct. 4, those ranks had swelled to more than 400 who gathered for the 75th annual meeting of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.
“This association was born out of a common need,” said Tom Steska, general manager of Black River Electric Cooperative and president of the association. “There were lots of issues facing those pioneers. They believed by combining their resources, they could achieve the common goals. From humble beginnings, they formed what many believe is the greatest statewide association in the nation.”
CEO Barry Hart related his connection to the rural electric program, which began when he was a teenager working for Platte-Clay Electric in the summer. “I worked with many of the people who signed the original members up,” he said. “To them, it wasn’t a job, it was a movement. When I came to Jefferson City, I witnessed them building this unity. They knew the only chance to achieve something was to work together.” READ MORE...
Hart to Heart: Happy 75th AMEC
September 28, 2012
by Barry Hart
When the early pioneers began establishing electric co-ops in Missouri, they were in the dark, both literally and figuratively. Their efforts were intended to bring electric lights to a group of people who were struggling to improve their quality of life, even after the experts said it was impossible. At the same time, they were in the dark on how to accomplish this mighty task but were determined to make it happen for their friends and neighbors.
These were not highly educated businessmen skilled in the ways of operating what would soon become a big business. For the most part, they were humble farmers and ranchers, savvy at pricing cattle and planting crops, but unsure how to negotiate a wholesale power contract.
Even though they were making progress, many false starts were made, until a group of like-minded individuals concluded there might be some benefit in an organization where ideas and solutions to common problems could be shared. Led by a true champion of Missouri’s rural electrification program, attorney Fenton Stockard, a small group of men representing eight electric cooperatives gathered
in Columbia on Feb. 11, 1937. Read the Full Article
Electric Co-ops join Gov. Nixon, Ameren, Westinghouse for nuclear power announcement
April 20, 2012
Nuclear Power Announcement
Alliance to help Westinghouse Electric apply for DOE funds
See a video of the announcement here.
Barry Hart, CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, took part in a major announcement on April 19 together with Gov. Jay Nixon and representatives from Ameren Missouri and Westinghouse Electric Company.
Ameren announced it has entered into an agreement with Westinghouse to exclusively support Westinghouse's application for the Department of Energy's (DOE) Small Modular Reactors (SMR) investment funds of up to $452 million. The investment funding, announced by the DOE on March 22, will support first-of-its-kind engineering, design certifications and operating licenses for up to two SMR designs over five years.
The objectives of the DOE program are to support efforts for the United States to become the global leader in the design, engineering, manufacturing and sale of American-made SMRs around the world, as well as expand our nation's options for nuclear power. Westinghouse expects to submit the investment fund application by mid-May. A final decision on awarding the investment funds is expected in the summer of 2012.
All of Missouri's electric energy providers, which includes Ameren Missouri, the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc., The Empire District Electric Company, Kansas City Power & Light Company, and the Missouri Public Utility Alliance, have also committed to supporting the Westinghouse application to the DOE.
Hart spoke on behalf of this utility coalition, which he said came together to put the best interests of the state first. “As someone who spent 10 years of his career trying to attract new business and industry to our state, I can’t tell you how big a deal this is for Missouri. This is going to provide jobs and economic opportunity for our state for a long, long time,” READ MORE...