Not necessarily politics as usual in climate debate
A concern electric co-op member-consumers have expressed about climate legislation is that it discriminates against the Midwest by transferring Midwesterners' hard-earned money to the east and west coasts. Expression of those concerns resulted in Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, initiating a letter to Democratic Party leadership in the U.S. Senate that 13 of his fellow Democrat senators recently cosigned. In the letter, the senators told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and other party leadership that the legislation had to be changed to gather their support. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, also sent a letter to Democratic Party leadership in the U.S. Senate expressing similar concerns.
There's no doubt in my mind that the more than 75,000 postcards expressing concern about climate legislation that were signed by Iowa electric co-op member-consumers including 2,185 from East-Central Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative and delivered to Grassley and Harkin at the end of September influenced their decisions to oppose the legislation unless changes are made.
Senate leadership was planning to have climate legislation on President Obama's desk for him to sign in 2009, but now those leaders are saying they won't be able to work on it until next year. Clearly, the voices of electric cooperative members are being heard in our nation's capitol. We support a reduction in carbon dioxide being placed our atmosphere, and we look forward to continuing to work toward finding a balanced solution on this issue that ensures reliable, affordable and safe electricity delivered in an environmentally responsible manner to the approximately 650,000 Iowans in each of Iowa's 99 counties that depend on electric co-ops for electric power.
Harry V. Ruth
Chief Executive Officer
East-Central Iowa Rural Electric