Senator McCaskill touts 'responsible energy' during visit to Springfield
January 13, 2012
Under the deafening roar of turbines and generators, Senator Claire McCaskill got a look at the ins and outs of the John Twitty Energy Center on Thursday afternoon. It was part of her statewide ’Hometown Energy Tour’ of plants, and her quest to learn about possible ways to meet the state’s future energy needs.
“Whether it is at the gas pump, or whether it is in the monthly utility bill, I want to make sure the supply is and it’s affordable,” the Democratic senator explained.
During her visit, she gave high marks for City Utilities of Springfield’s one-year old megawatt generating unit at JTEC, and its state-of-the-art pollution control technology.
“This new facility is way ahead of many of its counterparts around the country,” she observed.
“I think there is an assumption out there that if you are coal you are dirty. But I do not think that is a correct assumption,” said CU general manager Scott Miller.
The senator also took time to address an issue that's burning on a most utilities minds: new EPA regulations cracking down on toxic emissions like mercury.
“Some regulation is important, but too much regulation is not what the doctor ordered, either,” McCaskill said.
The proposed rules could cost utility companies, and their customers, up to $10-billion per year for new pollution control systems.
McCaskill said she supports delaying the implementation of the rules so regulators can work to ensure they won’t negatively affect ratepayers.
“I don’t think we should turn our back on trying to regulate mercury. I just want us to do it in a reasonable and responsible way,” McCaskill said.
Missouri’s junior senator, Roy Blunt (R) has stated he will work toward stopping any such guidelines from taking effect.
Overall, McCaskill said she hopes Missouri can take more of an ‘all of the above' approach, supplementing coal-generated power with more nuclear, natural gas, wind, and solar energy. More than 80% of the Show-Me State’s electricity currently comes from coal-fired power plants.
McCaskill said attaining a more balanced energy portfolio will take time and common sense.
“We cannot convert to an all-solar or all-wind system in my lifetime. It is absolutely impossible. And the people who talk to about doing so are being irresponsible.”
As part of the tour, McCaskill is also visiting power generating facilities in Kansas City, Columbia, St. Louis, and Cape Girardeau.