Legislative Policy

Where does NPA stand on important energy issues? 

Lincoln’s skyline with the state capitol building in the foreground

Nebraska Power Association
2013 Legislative/Regulatory Policy Statement

The Nebraska Power Association (NPA), established in 1980, provides a forum for the Nebraska electric utility industry to discuss issues and provide services to all utilities in the state. NPA’s Board Of Directors approved the 2013 Legislative Policy, which focuses on issues relevant to the public power industry in the State of Nebraska.

 

 

 

 

Clean Air

    Gerald Gentleman Station, near Sutherland, Nebraska

  • NPA supports New Source Review (NSR) reforms to provide for reasonable plant maintenance and regulatory certainty.
  • NPA supports balanced multi-pollutant control legislation which achieves environmental enhancement and allows for the continued supply of reliable reasonably priced power.
  • NPA supports reasonable and cost-effective controls on sources that are determined to be subject to Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) under the Clean Air Visibility Rule.
  • NPA opposes additional controls on sources that do not result in the cost effective improvement of visibility at Class I areas.
  • NPA supports the development and setting of new standards and regulations of air pollutants to protect public health and welfare, when such standards and regulations are based upon sound science and the availability of cost effective commercially available controls and technologies.
  • NPA supports cost-effective measures to reduce CO2 emissions.
  • NPA opposes the EPA’s proposed Greenhouse Gas New Source Performance Standards for new and existing fossil-fueled-fired-power plants.
  • NPA supports cost effective technologies to reduce mercury, but opposes the inclusion of additional Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPS) and the short implementation time for controls contained in the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard formerly known as the Utility Boiler Mercury/MACT regulation.
  • NPA opposes the EPA proposed revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5)

Clean Water Act

  • NPA supports reasonable EPA 316(b) regulations that allow the State to develop provisions that provide for both protection of the environment and for the reliable, cost effective operations of power plants. NPA opposes the “one size fits all” performance requirements of the proposed 316(b) requirements.
  • NPA supports the continued ability to work with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality to evaluate Best Technology Available (BTA) on a “site-specific” basis.
  • NPA supports reasonable EPA and State water related permits with limits and provisions that provide for both protection of the environment and for the reliable, cost effective operations of power plants.
  • NPA opposes expanded designation of “waters of the United States.”

Climate Change

  • NPA supports economy-wide solutions to reduce and mitigate greenhouse gases based on proven science, which for the electric industry, focuses on early commercially viable technology development, expansion of energy efficiency and renewable technologies, and a diverse generating mix to reduce CO2.
  • NPA opposes any international agreements to limit greenhouse gas emissions unless such agreement includes participation by developing countries and does not result in serious harm to the U.S. economy.
  • NPA opposes cap and trade legislation due to the lack of commercially- viable technology to capture and sequester CO2 and inequitable distribution of allowances and the uncertainty of: offset programs; deployment of new generating facilities; and the costs of the overall program.

Coal Freight Rates

    Coal being transported by rail car

  • NPA supports legislation and/or regulations that promote competition and eliminate artificial/monopolistic pricing structures within the railroad industry to ensure competitive coal freight rates for all shippers. NPA supports reliability standards for the railroad industry to ensure timely and reliable deliveries of coal to coal-fired power plants to ensure electric reliability.
  • NPA supports legislation that would eliminate the anti-trust exemption for the freight rail industry.

Communications

  • NPA supports removal of any and all barriers to public/consumer-owned electric utility ownership of infrastructure to be utilized in partnerships with telecommunication carriers or other private entities for the provision of telecommunications and information services.
  • NPA opposes any attempt to create barriers limiting interstate or intrastate communications between utilities.
  • NPA opposes any attempt to prohibit or limit the use of Nebraska’s publicly-owned electric utility infrastructure for the deployment of any broadband delivery technology.

Economic Development

  • NPA supports the promotion of economic growth and development in Nebraska. Nebraska’s low cost based electric rates represent a major competitive advantage and economic incentive for development in Nebraska.

Eminent Domain

  • NPA supports existing eminent domain authority and opposes modifications which weaken the condemnation authority of public utilities.

Endangered Species Act

    Whooping Crane

  • NPA supports modifications to the Endangered Species Act to include assurance that adequate peer reviewed data is utilized in the designation of threatened and endangered species and requires that recovery actions are developed and implemented with field tested and peer reviewed data utilizing a proper cost benefit analysis.
  • NPA supports the continued development of a fair and balanced consultation process for state agency review of applicable power related projects as they relate to impacts to Nebraska threatened and endangered species and their critical habitats.  The process must consider species and habitat needs along with reasonable cost-effective alternatives.

Energy Conservation & Efficiency

    A compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) lasts up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs

  • NPA supports programs to encourage public power entities and electric consumers to install or promote the installation of high‑efficiency and economically affordable electrical equipment and appliances through incentives or favorable tax treatment.
  • NPA supports cost-effective energy conservation programs and incentives that will help reduce electricity demand and defer the need for new generation.
  • NPA supports collaboration with state and federal agencies, as well as other organizations, to support energy efficiency and conservation to allow for the efficient and cost effective use of energy.
  • NPA supports the implementation of any technology such as Advanced Meter Infrastructure where the local utility board determines it will benefit ratepayers and the state’s publicly owned utilities.
  • NPA supports the development and implementation of load‑management programs to defer the need for development of more costly power resources.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

     

  • NPA supports FERC’s continued jurisdiction over mergers, IOUs, unbundled services, and market power abuse situations.
  • NPA supports reliability standards applicable to the bulk power system that are not onerous to public power utilities.
  • NPA supports FERC’s goal of workable competitive energy wholesale markets. NPA encourages FERC to take a regional focus in examining wholesale markets and tailoring solutions which properly recognize state law requirements for public power entities.
  • NPA supports streamlining the Hydro licensing process, including the expansion of projects eligible for exemptions, expansion of small hydro classifications, and provide processes for “nationwide” type permits similar to Sec. 404 of the Clean Water Act to enhance the ability of providing additional renewable hydropower resources for Nebraska and the nation.

Federal Preference

    Yellowtail Dam, a federal dam located in Montana, provides hydroelectricity to Nebraskans

  • NPA supports the retention of preference rights for public entities and cooperatives in the allocation of federal power.
  • NPA opposes an open auction of the Federal Power Marketing Administrations to the highest bidder or a mandate requiring federal power to be sold at market prices.  If Congress determines to sell the PMAs, NPA supports only the sale or transfer of the PMAs to current preference customers.

Financial Reform

  • NPA supports the exemption of non-speculative hedging by electric utilities from the Commodities Future Trading Commission margin and reporting requirements.

Hazardous Waste Disposal

  • NPA supports NPA supports adoption at the state level of legislative and regulatory requirements for the handling of hazardous materials, which are no more stringent than federal requirements, to avoid duplicate and burdensome compliance activities
  • NPA supports interstate cooperation and planning for the safe, orderly, and environmentally responsible disposal of solid and hazardous wastes.
  • NPA opposes the EPA designating coal combustion byproducts as hazardous waste under Subtitle C.  NPA supports the regulation of coal combustion byproducts as non‑hazardous under Subtitle D.

Hydroelectric Power

    Kingsley-Hydroplant

  • NPA supports the development of hydroelectric power resources and the inclusion of new and existing hydropower in the definition of renewable resources.
  • NPA opposes restrictions on hydroelectricity such as the imposition of surcharges on electricity generated at federally owned and operated hydroelectric facilities.

Local Control

  • NPA supports the continued control of the state’s publicly owned utilities by elected or appointed boards.

Nuclear Power

    Fort Calhoun Station

  • NPA supports federal legislation which promotes development of new nuclear plants, including eliminating redundancies and duplication in the licensing process and providing financing options for the large capital investment required, such as federal loan guarantees and tax-related stimulus incentives, which public power can also access.
  • NPA supports the suspension of the nuclear waste fee and supports action by the federal government to be accountable for the safe and cost-effective disposal of radioactive waste.
  • NPA supports prudent security requirements at nuclear facilities.
  • NPA supports recognition of the benefits of nuclear power in contributing to reductions in greenhouse gases.

Plug-In Vehicles and Electric Hybrid Vehicles

    Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are coming to Nebraska

  • NPA supports reasonable programs to promote the development and deployment of Plug-in vehicles and Electric Hybrid Vehicles (PEHV) as well as continued research into advanced battery technologies.
  • NPA supports continued development of electric vehicle technology. As the number of electric vehicles increases, there may be an increased need for electric-vehicle charging stations. In areas of the State where private entities are prepared to respond to this need, their involvement is recognized by Nebraska’s public power utilities.
  • NPA supports private sector entities recovering their associated costs for providing electric vehicle charging equipment as long as the cost is bundled within the total fees charged and not on a per kilowatt hour or metered basis. A per kilowatt hour charge would constitute a sale of electricity, which is statutorily limited to Nebraska’s public power utilities.

Public Ownership

  • NPA supports continued public ownership and local control of Nebraska’s electric power systems. NPA will aggressively oppose any attempts to privatize individually or all of Nebraska’s Public Power Systems.

Rates

  • NPA supports the Cost of Service concept for retail pricing of electricity.
  • NPA opposes regulations, legislation, and surcharges that arbitrarily increase the cost of electricity to consumers in Nebraska.
  • NPA supports continued local control and rate setting by electric utility boards.  NPA opposes federal or state mandates that would impose rates for specific generation resources.

Renewable/Alternative Energy

    Wind turbines and photovoltaic arrays produce electricity without pollution.

  • NPA supports the research and development of technically, economically, and environmentally feasible alternatives and renewable energy resources including voluntary green pricing programs.
  • NPA supports federal and state renewable incentives for public power which are comparable to those available to investor owned and other private developers, including sales tax credits and exemptions.
  • NPA supports the development and export of renewable energy while protecting Nebraska’s public power status, the state’s electric reliability, and rates.
  • NPA opposes federal or state mandates that would impose minimum levels of alternative energy capacity, such as a renewable portfolio standard.
  • NPA supports net metering legislation for customer-owned renewable energy generation that provides an offset for the energy produced while equitably compensating the utility for the remaining fixed costs and customer charges.  Net metering laws should provide for the safety of the public and utility employees and ensure the integrity of the distribution system.
  • NPA supports a definition of renewable energy that recognizes all non-carbon emitting resources as renewable.

Security-National General Security Section

  • NPA supports enhanced infrastructure security, both physical and cyber, in cooperation with federal, state, and local resources based upon prudent and cost-effective measures.
  • NPA supports legislation under the Nebraska Public Records Act allowing for the protection of energy infrastructure and customer usage information.

Self-Insurance Pooling

  • NPA supports the principle of allowing the state’s public power entities, along with other political subdivisions, to participate in self-insurance pools if such participation would provide sufficient liability protection and be cost-effective for ratepayers.

Tax-Exempt Financing

  • NPA supports the removal of private-use restrictions on tax‑exempt debt issued for generation and transmission facilities so that Nebraska’s public power entities can make maximum use of their electric facilities to the benefit of Nebraska’s ratepayer owners.
  • NPA opposes any new limits that reduce the potential investor market for municipal debt issuance.

Tax Exemptions

  • NPA supports continuing exemptions from sales and use taxes on utility fuels, transactions between utilities, and services, as well as the exemption from sales tax on construction labor for generation, transmission, and distribution facilities.

Taxes

  • NPA opposes new taxes or other charges on the generation, infrastructure, or use of electricity.

Transmission

    A transmission tower north of Columbus, Nebraska

  • NPA supports broad access to transmission for utility-to-utility transactions. This includes non-discriminatory transmission tariffs, and non-discriminatory service. NPA supports voluntary participation in Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO’s) by all transmission owners with legal authority to participate in such organizations.
  • NPA supports federal and state financial and other assistance for 345,000 volts and higher transmission development for renewable energy.
  • NPA supports transmission cost allocations that equitably share costs based on long-term costs and benefits.
  • NPA supports the Nebraska Transmission Advisory Group in their efforts to ensure Nebraska’s transmission needs are addressed in Southwest Power Pool’s transmission plans, where applicable.
  • NPA supports legislation to clarify a right of first refusal for Nebraska electric utilities with regard to transmission facilities that are constructed in Nebraska.

Water Resources

    The Fort Randall Dam, a federal dam on the Missouri River, provides hydroelectricity to Nebraskans

  • NPA supports the continued operation of the Missouri River in a manner that provides for flood control, navigation, and municipal water supply while ensuring the water supplies for steam generation plants located along the river and the maximization of peaking hydropower from the Corps hydroelectric system. NPA urges the Corps to make water supplies for steam generation plants and hydropower peaking a top priority of the Missouri River Ecosystem Restoration Study and the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study, should they be reinitiated.
  • NPA supports the recommendations of the 2003 Nebraska Water Policy Task Force as implemented in LB 962, Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-101, et. al. (2003) and further – requests the legislature to provide the funding necessary to implement the task force recommendations.