Here we go again.

I say that with a deep sigh because I’m frustrated. Less than three years ago, the people of Missouri, including thousands of Co-Mo Electric Cooperative members, spoke up and told their elected leaders that they were not in favor of costly regulations on power plants that would dramatically increase electric bills. Those Missourians’ voices were joined by hundreds of thousands from across the country, and Congress wisely nixed a plan whose ramifications were understood only slightly better than Obamacare.


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Now the President has proposed a plan attacking existing power plants with costly new carbon restrictions.

A few words before I continue: Please do not mistake anything I’m saying for a lack of concern about our environment. I have grandkids who will inherit the country we leave them. I want them to inherit a country whose air is toxin-free. I also want them to inherit one whose economy is more stable and whose job market is more attractive than it is currently.

To immediately jump to the conclusion that more stringent requirements are needed on existing power plants is to skip right over the debate and ignores science, technology and reality. Let me make an analogy. Get a sponge and thoroughly soak it. Then wring it out. See how much water flows out on that first squeeze? That’s what Co-Mo and its power supplier have done over the past decade, investing more than $1.4 billion on technology at its plants to eliminate more than what the government has asked us to. Now try to wring that sponge again. See how much more effort you have to put in to get far less water out? 

That’s what these new restrictions would be: a lot of costly effort for very little results — because the technology doesn’t even exist to do what the president wants. The results of a huge additional cost to a not-for-profit organization such as Co-Mo would be higher electric bills for you. There’s no way around that. None.

So let’s back up on this debate. Before we have the discussion about more regulations, let’s look at whether the proposed regulations and restrictions would actually benefit our environment. They wouldn’t. If we don’t use coal here, China is a willing importer ready for the economic benefits of affordable energy.

And let’s look at whether the amounts being talked about are financially feasible without turning America into a third-world country. President Obama has pledged to reduce U.S. carbon emissions 83 percent by 2050. That equates to a “footprint” of just 0.7 tons per person per year. The last time a U.S. citizen was responsible for 0.7 tons of carbon emissions per person was 1962. Think about all the increased demands for electricity since then. Is it even possible to return to 1962 levels without destroying or economy and undermining our quality of life? To compare, Nigeria emits about 0.7 tons of carbon per person per year. Half the population of Nigeria doesn’t have electricity and only 3 in 100 drives a car. Hmm.

Perhaps most importantly, all of this is being proposed without running it by Congress, the people you elected to make legislation.

Tell the president you want him to work with Congress, work with us to craft an energy policy that make sense and doesn’t cripple your budget. Go to and sign up so we can help fight for you!

Ken Johnson

Co-Mo CEO/General Manager


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