Tri-Staters testify at D.C. hearings

Dave Lock, Tri-State’s senior manager of government relations, testified in Washington, D.C. April 24 on a panel before members of the U.S. Senate and Congressional Western Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives on the topic of challenges facing the energy and mineral production industries in the West.  Senior vice president/transmission Joel Bladow took his turn later in the week.

Lock’s testimony touched on a few of the many regulatory actions coming from Washington that could have a detrimental impact on Tri-State’s operations and imperil the association’s ability to provide affordable electricity to its member co-ops.

He spoke to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed New Source Performance Standard for Greenhouse Gases rule that is technically unachievable, commercially unavailable and nowhere close to affordable.

Previous reports by Tri-State’s management staff to the board have warned that this proposed rule would have the effect of prohibiting the construction of new coal-fired power plants in the U.S. and possibly gas-fired generating units operating at the higher altitudes of the Rocky Mountain West.

Additionally, Lock informed the committee on the impact that EPA’s mercury and air toxic standards (MATS) rule will have in imposing standards of emissions that cannot be met by any new coal-fired units and could make existing coal-based generation prohibitively expensive to operate.

Lock also discussed Energy Secretary Chu’s memo suggesting that the Western Area Power Administration, from which Tri-State relies for approximately 15 percent of its lowest cost power, retreat from its historic mission of providing federal hydropower and transmission services to consumer-owned power organizations and be repurposed to integrate its facilities with wind and other renewable sources.

Bladow testified April 26 before the House Natural Resources Committee on the adverse impacts that repurposing the power marketing administrations could have on Tri-State and other federal hydropower customers.

Bladow said Tri-State doesn’t believe WAPA should become a “test bed” for research. “These actions not only take away from its mission of providing cost-based federal power to its customers, but could affect WAPA’s commitment to reliability and undoubtedly, raise customer rates in order to pay for the experiments,” he said.

“It’s important that state and federal decision-makers understand the negative impact that all of these proposed regulations will have on Tri-State and its members,” Lock said.


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