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Cole Joins in Introduction of RURAL Act

February 25, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) today joined Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-01) in the introduction of the Reinforcing Utility Restoration After Losses (RURAL) Act. This legislation would give the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the authority to establish a bridge loan program for rural utility companies experiencing losses in the wake of federally declared emergencies. If enacted, the RURAL Act would provide companies with access to a line of credit for low-interest loans to cover qualified losses, with partial loan forgiveness available in certain circumstances. Not only would the RURAL Act help rural utility companies experiencing financial losses due to emergencies, but it would also ensure they are not forced to stop providing critical customer services.

“Over the past few weeks, both utility companies and communities across the midwestern and southwestern areas of the United States experienced unprecedented challenges and hardships due to severe winter weather,” said Cole. “In response, it is important to ensure utility companies in rural areas do not succumb to their losses and families are not left without power. I am proud to join in introducing this critical legislation that would offer a needed line of credit to power companies facing extreme losses so they may continue serving their customers.”

“Rural areas already experience unique daily challenges and fewer resources,” said Crawford. “With the recent extreme temperatures and increase in power outages due to unprecedented demand, we witnessed the devastation that occurs when communities cannot access critical utility services. We must assist utility providers as they work tirelessly to maintain continuity for their customers. The RURAL Act ensures that rural Americans are not without vital resources and rural service providers are bolstered during a federal emergency.”