Senator Receives Gary M. Williamson “Good Turn Award” for His Efforts to Support Electric Cooperatives
MINOT, N.D. – (RealEstateRama) — Senator John Hoeven today delivered the keynote address at Central Power Electric Cooperative’s annual meeting to outline his work to prevent costly Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, offer strong support to rural communities and advocate for infrastructure projects that will help the nation build a comprehensive energy plan.
In recognition of the senator’s leadership on issues impacting rural residents, Central Power leaders honored Hoeven with the Gary M. Williamson “Good Turn” Award. The senator thanked Central Power and the entire REC family for all they do to keep rural America strong.
“We are working to achieve greater regulatory certainty for our electric cooperatives and other businesses in North Dakota and nationally,” Hoeven said. “We have advanced legislation to prevent burdensome regulations like the costly power plant rules and the waters of the U.S. regulation, and we worked hard to support the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Electric Loan Program. North Dakota’s electric cooperatives do a great job providing reliable and affordable energy for homes and businesses, and we’ll continue working to make sure that they have the tools they need to continue powering our homes and businesses.”
Hoeven legislative accomplishments include:
Preventing EPA’s Costly Power Plant Rules
- In November, Hoeven cosponsored and the Senate passed two joint resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to repeal the EPA’s costly power plan rules for existing plants and new coal generating plants, which President Obama subsequently vetoed.
- Hoeven organized a meeting with the EPA, state officials and industry leaders to push back on the EPA and provide the state and industry more time to push back on the new rule. The EPA agreed to work with the state and provide more time to address its concerns while the senator continues to work to repeal the rule.
- Hoeven is working with a bipartisan group of senators to push for passage of the Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act, which prevents the EPA’s effort to circumvent Congress and impose new rules on power plants that will drive up costs for consumers and kill good jobs.
Stopping EPA’s Waters of the U.S. Regulation (WOTUS)
- Hoeven included a provision in the Senate Interior-EPA Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016 to prevent funding for implementation of EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule.
- Hoeven continues to fight to stop the WOTUS regulation from being implemented through the appropriations process. Additionally, Hoeven is a cosponsor of the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, separate legislation that would rescind the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule and require the EPA to start the process over with more input from stakeholders.
Supporting the Rural Utilities Service (RUS)
- As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Hoeven worked to support RUS programs, including RUS Electric Loans, which electric cooperatives use to finance electricity generation and distribution, as well as the RUS Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program, which provides competitive grants to improve rural economies by helping entities start or expand rural cooperatives.
- Last August, Hoeven joined U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary Lisa Mensah in announcing a $46 million loan to Central Power Electric Cooperative to make important infrastructure improvements. Specifically, the funds will be used to build-out 51 miles of transmission line and make system improvements to deliver reliable and affordable electricity. The loan also includes $171,000 for smart grid technology.
Securing Transmission Line Routes
- In 2014, Senator Hoeven helped work out a deal with the J. Clark Salyer Wildlife Refuge, the State of North Dakota and Central Power so that the company could site highline power lines through the refuge. This helped Central Power avoid having to bury the one-mile stretch of a new 35 mile 115kV line from Bottineau to Dunning, saving them approximately $8 million in underground installation costs.
Central Power Electric Cooperative, Inc. was established in 1949 to generate power for its member rural electric distribution cooperatives. The six member cooperative owners of Central Power serve more than 62,000 farms, homes and businesses.