Indianapolis, Ind. – Thursday’s defeat of the Farm Bill in the US House of Representatives was met with disappointment by Indiana’s electric cooperatives who would have greatly benefited from several provisions and reforms in the 2013 version of the bill.
“The Farm Bill was an important piece of legislation to Indiana’s electric cooperatives and the 1.3 million Hoosiers we serve. We are disappointed in the failure of the U.S. House to pass the Farm Bill on Thursday,” said Scott Bowers, Vice President of Government Relations for the Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “Our member cooperatives continuously strive to provide affordable, reliable and safe electricity to our members and the Farm Bill’s defeat prohibits us from adding and utilizing common sense measures to support that mission.”
Six of Indiana’s nine members of the U.S. House supported Indiana’s electric cooperatives by voting in favor of the Farm Bill. They are:
- Representative Susan Brooks (R-05)
- Representative Larry Bucshon (R-08)
- Representative Luke Messer (R-06)
- Representative Todd Rokita (R-04)
- Representative Jackie Walorski (R-02)
- Representative Todd Young (R-09)
“We applaud the six members of our congressional delegation who stepped forward in support of the Farm Bill. Their ‘yes’ votes are both appreciated and recognized by our members,” added Bowers. “While the Farm Bill’s defeat represents a set back for key provisions important to Indiana’s electric cooperatives, we will continue to work with our congressional delegation on these important issues moving forward.”
The provisions and reforms important to Indiana’s electric cooperatives in the House version of the Farm Bill included:
- Maintaining improvements to the rural broadband program;
- Restoration of RUS financing for baseload generation;
- Clarification that RUS borrowers need not go through cumbersome “Federal Acquisition Regulations” when hiring contractors to conduct technical analyses; Authorizes the RUS to make loans to electric co-ops to then re-lend to consumers to make cost-effective energy efficiency improvements to their homes and businesses;
- Ensuring cooperatives that apply pesticides for vegetation management would not be required to obtain a permit under the Clean Water Act;
- Reauthorization of the Guaranteed Underwriter loan program for five more years that helps private interests provide more capital to rural America; and
- Updating a study on rural transportation issues to address captive shipper issues and the rising cost of rail transportation.
Indiana Electric Cooperatives, located in Indianapolis, represents 39 electric distribution cooperatives that serve 1.3 million Hoosiers in 89 of the state’s 92 counties. The cooperatives are collectively the second largest electricity provider in Indiana. For more information about the association visit indianaec.org.