To The Editor:
Currently, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) is reviewing a case that would have a huge economic impact on our state brought forth by actions of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Sierra Club. A hearing is scheduled for this case on Thursday, March 28 that could prove vital in the fight to keep all energy options available and at a low-cost for Oklahomans.
The actions brought forth by the EPA and Sierra Club would unnecessarily raise electricity rates in Oklahoma, putting our local economy at risk with the loss of jobs, lower local tax revenues and cause significantly higher electricity costs, ranging from 11 percent to 15 percent.
This proposal would cost the average Oklahoma family more than $200 each year, and most likely, even more in the future. Moreover, the cost to Oklahoma businesses would be millions of dollars starting immediately. We are already stretched far enough as Oklahoma taxpayers and business owners, we don’t need another tax brought forth by interests outside of our state.
If fully implemented, a settlement over regional haze will deeply hurt affordable energy options in Oklahoma. Our state currently pays one third less than the national average on our electricity. We do not want to turn into California or New York - states that pay significantly higher rates.
Oklahomans need a diverse energy portfolio that includes coal, natural gas, petroleum and all other sources in order to keep utility rates low. Our economy depends on the energy industry; in fact, one of six Oklahomans is employed within the energy industry. We can’t allow the EPA and Sierra Club to take those jobs away from Oklahomans and raise our electricity rates at the same time.
Will the Oklahoma Corporation Commissioners stand with Sierra Club and the EPA or will they stand for Oklahomans?
Tom Schroedter, Executive Director Oklahoma Industrial Energy Consumers
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