Iowa cooperatives advocate in Washington, D.C.

In the first week of May, a group of two dozen Iowa Rural Power advocates participated in NRECA’s 2022 Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. After a cancellation in 2020 and a virtual format in 2021, the Iowa group was excited to be back in person connecting with other states, members of Congress and staff.

In addition to participating in NRECA programming, the group attended productive meetings with Senator Grassley and Senator Ernst, where they discussed the importance of an all-of-the-above energy strategy, direct pay tax credits, RUS repricing legislation, supply chain concerns, rural economic development initiatives and Farm Bill reauthorization.

 Attendees discussed an all-of-the-above energy strategy and Iowa’s commitment  to providing safe, reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible electricity. 

Unlike some industry peers, electric cooperatives are not-for-profit entities governed by the member-consumers 
we serve and they expect and deserve affordable, reliable power. It is through this lens that cooperatives evaluate energy proposals and plan for the future. 

Collectively, America's electric cooperatives substantially reduced carbon emissions by 18 percent from 2005 to 2019. Cooperative representatives also spent time discussing Rural Utilities Services loan refinancing. This bipartisan bill, introduced by Representatives O’Halleran (D-AZ) and Hartzler (R-MO) in the House and Senators Smith (D-MN), Hoeven (R-ND), Sinema (D-AZ), and Boozman (R-AR) in the Senate, would allow electric cooperatives to finance their debt without prepayment penalties like every other American homeowner and business. 

More than 500 electric co-ops in 41 states, including Iowa, hold outstanding debt from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS). With this common sense solution, electric co-ops could realize $10.1 billion in savings from repricing RUS loans at current market rates.

On direct pay tax credits, the group asked Congress to explore legislation to promote investment in infrastructure and the electric grid that would support proposals to allow tax credits for renewable energy and carbon capture to be refundable to entities like electric cooperatives. 

While a scheduled district work period in the U.S. House meant that Iowa’s four representatives were back home in Iowa, it was a great opportunity for the group to spend time with Congressional staff where those in attendance shared  priorities and the importance of cooperative support in Iowa’s communities.