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Barton County Electric Prepares for Proposed EPA Regulations

LAMAR, Mo. -- Electric companies around the U.S. are bracing for possible new regulations from the EPA that could have a big impact on prices for consumers.
LAMAR, Mo. -- Electric companies around the U.S. are bracing for possible new regulations from the EPA that could have a big impact on prices for consumers.

Bobbi Jeffries is the C.E.O. and general manager of Barton County Electric. She says if the E.P.A.'s proposed regulations are approved, it would reduce the use of coal to generate electricity and increase the cost of energy for consumers.  "79% of our power was generated by coal in 2013. we also have several natural gas plants, however, they generated 4%," said Jeffries.

 Although there are other resources, Jeffries says they're not as reliable.

"We also have hydro that we buy from the federal government and it's a nice resource that's cheap, but as you know, it's only available if we have good rainfall," said Jeffries.

She says one common misconception is that this reduction will prevent global climate change. However, the U.S. is responsible for only 4% of green house gas emissions.

"The EPA's proposal will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by less than 1% at a cost, according to EPA, between $4.2 billion to $8.8 billion per year," she said.

Jeffries believes President Obama is suggesting solutions for technology that currently isn't available.

"For example, carbon capture the technology's not there. Storage power for wind and solar, which are good resources that technology isn't there yet and liability is important to our members," she said.

All of the electricity provided by B.C.E.C. is generated by Associated Electric Company. Their staff is working with state agencies to find the most affordable, reliable resource for consumers. The rule will be finalized a year from now after a 120 day public comment period, which started on June 18th.


(KODE, Joplin)

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