President Obama presented a major policy address on climate change June 25th, at Georgetown University and the South Dakota Rural Electric Association has responded.

In the speech the President said:

“The question is not whether we need to act. The overwhelming judgment of science, of chemistry and physics and millions of measurements, has put all that to rest. So the question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late.”

The president presented several proposals affecting the climate. His plan is to implement his ideas through executive orders, leaving Congress out of the decision making. In the past Congress has not been able to agree on energy and climate issues.

President Obama also stated the methods we choose to deal with our changing climate will affect our children and grandchildren.

He also jabbed at those who don't believe man is part of the problem:

“We don’t have time for a meeting of the flat-earth society.”

The President has issued a presidential directive to the Environmental Protection Agency:

“I'm directing the [EPA] to put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power plants and complete new pollution standards for both new and existing power plants.”

Reactions were swift and sharp, including a statement from  Ed Anderson,  general manager of the South Dakota Rural Electric Association in Pierre, S.D.

“We can move forward in our collective efforts to  protect and improve the environment. And we can do it in an effective and  affordable manner. Using the Clean Air Act to tax every coal-fired generation  facility in the United States out of business is not a responsible solution. It  is only expedient.”

South Dakota’s electric cooperatives are concerned about this proposal because rural and low-income Americans already spend disproportionately more on energy than others.

Mr. Anderson continues his statement:

“The impact of the President’s plan on co-op-served  families and businesses could be significant in South Dakota. Rural communities have been put through an economic wringer for the better part  of a decade; they’ve made incredible sacrifices.”


“The President’s plan fails to take into account  electric cooperatives existing efforts to protect the environment in a  responsible and cost effective manner. With more than 1,060 megawatts of  installed renewable generation capacity in our portfolio, South Dakota electric  cooperatives are doing a lot more than just talking about our commitment to the  environment. That, coupled with the fact that electric cooperatives have been  leaders in encouraging energy efficiency and conservation for decades, should  serve as a model for a responsible approach to addressing climate concerns.”

This is the beginning of what promises to be a contentious discussion amongst politicians, energy companies, business and industry, and environmental groups. Since the President is going to use Executive Orders to move his ideas forward, plan on a couple of forests full of legal actions to attempt to stop or modify his edicts.


“I hope we can work with the President to form a more  reasonable and sustainable plan,” said Anderson.