Energy Secretary Stephen Chu has suggested restricting funds in the PMA to be used for new energy streams, and to promote electric vehicles, energy efficiency and economic development, according to Smith. These things were not in the contracts signed in the 1960s.
Smith told Loebsack that if Chu's suggestions are approved, it will lead to higher electric prices. Smith does not believe these PMA funds should be used for things outside the scope of the original agreement.
"The fiscal constraints are so severe, they're looking for ways to fund many things," Loebsack said. He was asked to raise awareness of Chu's idea and to oppose it.
Finally, the group discussed an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal to designate coal ash as a hazardous waste. Loebsack does have a concern about coal ash and that it may be harmful to the environment.
"We've got to find some kind of a compromise," Loebsack said.
Smith told Loebsack that coal ash, at least in the Midwest, has been recycled for years. It has been used in concrete, as a farm implant and in making bowling balls. There have been two reports accredited by the EPA that show that coal ash does not meet hazardous waste requirements. Loebsack was asked to oppose the hazardous waste designation.
"It will cost a lot of money to the rate payers in this part of the country," Smith said. There may also be problems with the disposal of old concrete in which coal ash was an ingredient.
Prior to the discussion, Loebsack toured the PCE facility. He was impressed.
Following the meeting, the five PCE directors present, as well as Smith, said they thought the meeting went well.
"We're pleased he's willing to spend the time," Smith said. Anytime a business is able to get a Congressman to come for a visit, on a weekend especially, is impressive, he added. He said he is eager to work with Loebsack.