More than 1,200 electric cooperative leaders will gather at NRECA’s 2024 Legislative Conference April 21-24 in Washington, D.C., to urge Congress to oppose the EPA’s power plant rule and support full funding of Agriculture Department programs that benefit rural America.

“Legislative Conference is a chance for Congress to hear directly from their co-op constituents,” said Hill Thomas, NRECA’s vice president of legislative affairs. “Because we are electric utility experts and have our finger on the pulse of rural communities, our members make very effective advocates.”

Leaders of co-ops and statewide associations will meet with House members, senators and congressional staff from their states to focus on four key issues, the most pressing of which is the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed power plant rule. The agency is expected to issue its final rule as early as April.

“The EPA greenhouse gas rule is a threat to electric reliability,” Thomas said. “We have opposed this proposed rule for setting unrealistic deadlines and relying on technologies—such as carbon capture and hydrogen—that are not yet ready for wide-scale use.”

Conference participants will focus on three other key issues in their conversations with lawmakers and administration officials:

  • USDA funding: Co-ops rely on robust funding for Department of Agriculture programs that support rural economic development, infrastructure improvements and broadband. NRECA wants to ensure that funding remains strong while also urging Congress not to make any cuts to the newly created Empowering Rural America (New ERA) program, which provides $9.7 billion in grants and loans to co-ops for new and innovative clean energy systems.

  • Transformers: NRECA supports a bipartisan Senate bill to effectively override a proposed Department of Energy rule that would force co-ops to wait even longer to get the distribution transformers they need to modernize their systems and help communities recover from disasters. The current version of the rule requires all distribution transformer cores to be made with amorphous steel by as early as 2027, even though there is only one small domestic producer of that type of steel.

  • Pole attachments: Electric poles are important to efforts to deploy rural broadband. However, legislative or regulatory proposals to give communications providers access to co-ops’ electric poles can jeopardize safety and reliability while driving up costs for rural electricity. NRECA has opposed attempts to open access to co-op power poles as an effort to force not-for-profit co-ops to subsidize for-profit internet providers.


Fox News anchor Bret Baier will be the keynote speaker at the opening general session on Monday, April 22. Baier, executive editor and host of “Special Report with Bret Baier,” will give an up-to-the-minute analysis of what’s going on at the White House and on Capitol Hill.

NRECA CEO Jim Matheson, President Tony Anderson and Senior Vice President of Government Relations Louis Finkel will also make remarks during the opening session.

The closing general session on Tuesday, April 23, will feature NRECA and co-op leaders talking about key legislative priorities and discussing how a co-op can craft its narrative to bring a more compelling message to Congress.

Expert Advice

Throughout the three-day conference, there will be office hours available for co-op leaders to meet with NRECA’s Government Relations staff onsite to ask questions or get advice or discuss strategy.

There also will be an infrastructure hub where participants can go each day to learn more from NRECA staff about how to access federal infrastructure funding.


The Legislative Conference will take place at the Marriott Marquis on Massachusetts Avenue Northwest in Washington, D.C. Check out the conference page to register, reserve hotel rooms and learn more about the agenda.