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Rio Grande Electric Cooperative partners with EPA

Release Date: 10/10/2008
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or

Power provider to offer drop-off locations for recycling of compact fluorescent bulbs

(Dallas, Texas – October 10, 2008) The Environmental Protection Agency is partnering with the Rio Grande Electric Cooperative (RGEC) to reduce pollution from compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

As a member of the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP), the cooperative will provide drop-off locations at its headquarters and regional offices for recycling CFLs, which contain a small amount of mercury that if improperly disposed of can present a hazard to the environment.

"Protecting public health and the environment is a team effort,” said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. “EPA is honored to have the Rio Grande Electric Cooperative join us and our other partners in preventing pollution and creating healthier communities.”

The NPEP program works with 175 partners across the country to promote the voluntary reduction of 31 priority chemicals. NPEP members include both public and private organizations that identify activities that will reduce the use of these chemicals, preventing their ability to accumulate in the environment and cause harm to humans and the ecosystem. In addition, the Mercury Challenge is a specially focused program within NPEP that promotes the voluntary, systematic elimination of mercury-containing equipment.

RGEC is a customer-owned electric cooperative headquartered in Brackettville, Texas, that provides distribution of electric energy to residents of South and West Texas and southern New Mexico. With service to 20 counties, RGEC provides power over a larger service area than any other cooperative in the contiguous United States. However, much of their service area is rural, where access to CFL recycling centers can be difficult for many residents. With their partnership with EPA, RGEC hopes to further promote the power-saving benefits of CFLs while also providing environmentally responsible disposal locations to their customers.

“Rio Grande Electric Co-op strives to promote sustainable rural development, and, especially in these tenuous economic times, responsible energy usage,” said RGEC’s General Manager/CEO Dan Laws. “To this end, the Co-op recommends the use of compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs. We would be remiss, however, if we were to succeed in saving energy and carbon emissions through the use of CFLs, without providing responsible disposal outlets. The territory we serve is diverse, rugged, and, for the most part, uniquely pristine. We are pleased to join with the EPA in promoting this partnership, and encourage others to do likewise to preserve our natural resources.”

Additional information on the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities is available at

To learn more about activities in EPA Region 6, please visit

An EPA audio file is available at