The Cost of Carbon Control

One of the biggest challenges currently looming in our industry is that of climate change legislation, specifically ‘Cap and Trade,’ and recent actions of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The uncertainty of the price of carbon, and any volatility in these prices, is one of our greatest concerns because it will directly impact the rates you pay.

Our co-op members need to understand what is at stake and take action to let their voices be heard on Capitol Hill while there is still time to take action!

Industry experts have predicted a range of $20-$50/ton for CO2 emissions. If that range materializes, a typical residential account could expect to pay an additional $3,900-$9,800 over the period 2012 – 2030 for the electricity consumed in the household. Large farm operators could expect to pay an additional $37,000 0 $93,000 during the same period. These are additional costs on top of normal rate increases.

There are two “tracks” of concern with the issue of carbon control. First, there is action that may be taken by Congress. Personally, Congress is where the issue should be dealt with, because at least this will allow for critical debate. The other way, however, is simply a bureaucratic track that shifts responsibility to the EPA and circumvents Congressional debate, thereby minimizing citizen input.

The EPA has already issued an endangerment finding for CO2 and is working on developing regulations to address CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act. However, the Clean Air Act was not designed to address the issue of climate change. Recently we have seen the EPA mandate carbon emissions on vehicles. Perhaps it wouldn’t be much of a leap to extend the Clean Air Act applied to power plants. Applying the clean Air Act would be the wrong tool for this job. If allowed, a member of Congress has already said it will result in a “glorious mess”. This issue is the responsibility of Congress and not for bureaucrats at EPA to decide.

Do we want to protect our environment? Of course! That is not the question. What is equally important is that we also protect the economy of our nation’s rural areas, ensure that the impacts of climate control actions are geographically fair, and that the price of electricity remains affordable for all Americans.

What can you do? Speak up! Urge Congress to step in and prevent EPA from using the Clean Air Act as a tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s the role of Congress to determine any climate change policy. Thankfully some in Congress understand this. They’ve recently introduced legislation to stop EPA from acting. But they need more support and that’s why your action is so important.

Information is available at these websites: and

Senator Amy Klobuchar                                   Senator Al Franken

Southern Office                                                Saint Peter Office

1134 7th St NW                                               208 S Minnesota Ave

Rochester, MN 55901                                     Suite 6

507-288-5321                                                 Saint Peter, MN 56082


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