Basin Electric: Senators send letter supporting RUS

Basin Electric Power Cooperative – May 10, 2013

Twenty-seven United States senators, led by Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), sent a letter May 7 to Chairman Mark Pryor and Ranking Member Roy Blunt of the subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies.

The letter urges the subcommittee leaders to “recognize the importance of a broad-based domestic energy supply and support RUS in financing the full range of cost-effective electric generation” as they consider the fiscal year 2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill.

The senators pointed out that electric cooperatives’ distribution systems cover 75 percent of the country’s land mass while serving 12 percent of American electric consumers, which is approximately 42 million people every day.

In the letter, the senators commend the RUS Electric Loan program for contributing to deficit reduction, as well as electric cooperatives for having an extraordinary track record of repayment. “In fiscal year 2014 alone, electric loan repayments will net more than $130 million to the U.S. Treasury,” the letter states.

Though the President’s Budget recommends portions of the total loan amount be directed to specific purposes, the senators ask that the subcommittee maintain flexibility. “Instead, we suggest RUS lending continue to be driven by the needs of the borrower, rather than limited by the type of project proposed.”

Read the entire letter: