Letter to the editor: Empowering rural America

By DENA EAKLES | rural Ontario

Much like the 1930s, when rural people had to create their own path forward to have electricity, we are facing another challenge: the transition to clean energy. The movement away from fossil fuels is getting a big lift through the recent Inflation Reduction Act, which earmarked $9.7 billion to a grant program entitled “Empowering Rural America.” This grant, if divided evenly among the nearly 900 rural electric coops in the United States, would give each about $10 million toward a clean energy future. That’s a lot of solar and wind that could have the added benefit of lowering our electric bills.

Many of us are members of Vernon Electric Cooperative. It is imperative to speak up now for the energy future we would like to see. Vernon Electric Cooperative must request the money being allocated, and it is our right and our duty to urge the board to do so. It is up to us to ensure our cooperative is utilizing this opportunity to its fullest potential. 

Let us explore all the possibilities that are available to us through this grant to provide members with affordable, reliable, clean renewable energy.

Let us not leave an indebted future to our children — either monetarily or environmentally. 

Contact your board representative today and request to know what is being done on your behalf to secure the grant money to a clean energy future. Not sure who your board representative is? Call Vernon Electric directly at (608) 634-3121; they are there to help you. 

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