McCaskill pledges to protect Missouri energy companies from efforts to eliminate the use of coal
The Quincy Herald-Whig
January 5, 2012
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill does not want to see Missouri penalized for relying on coal-fired electric generation.
McCaskill visited Thursday afternoon with leaders at the Ralls County Electric Cooperative, which serves Ralls, Pike, Monroe, Marion and Audrain counties. She has been conducting a "Hometown Energy Tour" and said people throughout the state are concerned that government proposals for coal-fired facilities would drive up energy costs.
"Dan Strode, manager and CEO of the cooperative, said some of the proposals brought up in Washington, D.C., could push up energy costs in the Midwest by as much as 70 percent," McCaskill said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December adopted stricter rules to curb certain emissions from coal-fired plants, drawing criticism from the industry that compliance would be too costly. A federal appeals court has blocked the rules temporarily as part of a lawsuit opposing them.
"Folks who are struggling to make ends meet are the ones who will pay through the nose if we force an energy policy that fails the many states, like Missouri, that rely heavily on coal to produce affordable, accessible energy," McCaskill said.
She praised Ralls County Electric Cooperative for promoting energy conservation programs, and selling efficient water heaters, heat pumps and surge protectors. During a circuit that will take her to Kansas City, Springfield, St. Louis, Cape Girardeau and Columbia, McCaskill also is promoting companies that invest in alternative forms of energy or high-efficiency products.
Strode said the cooperative is "very sensitive to environmental issues.
"We work for our cooperative member/owners, but we also have to use level heads in solving these problems and have to solve them through technology that doesn't shut down our economy or cause undue financial burdens for our members," Strode said.
McCaskill said she opposed the energy proposal known as cap and trade that died in the U.S. Senate last year. She was criticized by some fellow Democrats for rejecting plans to penalize companies that burn coal to force the use of cleaner energy sources.
"As we consider the future of energy production in our country, we must protect Missourians' families and businesses from unreasonable financial burdens," McCaskill said.