Devising New Carbon Plan

Radical environmentalists sometimes defend their stance by pointing out some large utilities support a shift away from coal-fired electric generation, in favor of so-called alternatives such as wind and solar power. But not everyone in the business agrees with the war on coal waged by former President Barack Obama’s administration.

After Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced he plans to scrap the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, the reaction from most of the utility sector was … silence. But one electricity provider, Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives, spoke up.

OEC officials announced Tuesday that they support Pruitt’s decision. The CPP was “an overreach of federal authority (that) hampers the ability of electric utilities to reliably and affordably generate and distribute power to customers,” the cooperatives pointed out in a news release.

The 25 members of the OEC serve about 400,000 homes and businesses in 77 of Ohio’s 88 counties. Members are far from apathetic about the environment. As the organization pointed out, it has invested about $1.2 billion in emissions control systems at the Cardinal Generating Plant in Brilliant. The facility “is considered one of the most environmentally friendly coal-fired power plants on the globe,” the OEC noted.

At the same time, OEC officials are concerned about holding the cost of electricity down. That was not a consideration under Obama’s war on coal.

EPA officials now must devise an alternative to holding down carbon emissions. In doing so, we suggest they enlist help from utilities such as the OEC, which has demonstrated a concern for customers as well as for the environment.