Rural Missouri Magazine

Our new Congress

Frank Stork
by Frank Stork

When the U. S. Congress convened in Washington, D. C., last month, Jim Talent was sworn in as our new senator. Kit Bond gained seniority and as a result has high ranking on several important committees.

Talent, an experienced and skilled legislator, will serve on a number of committees including the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Both Senators will be dealing with energy and environmental issues early this session.

One of the issues they will take up is the energy legislation being advanced by President Bush. It is expected to be a comprehensive piece that will outline a long-range plan for electric power production and a clean environment. Also, the House and Senate committees will draft bills to address the same subject.

When we talk to our members of Congress about energy and environment, we update them on the extensive modifications made to our power plants in recent years. The equipment added to the plants to meet federal clean air standards has increased the cost of generating electricity.

Even though the cost was high, our REC directors acted quickly and positively when it came time to reduce emissions from our power plants. The directors approved spending the hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase and install the needed equipment. In many cases, their quick and decisive action allowed them to meet and exceed federal clean air standards well ahead of schedule.

As our directors work with this new Congress, they will emphasize that they will continue to support a clean environment. At the same time, they will be most prudent as they work through the legislative process.

They will insist on scientific evidence of cause and effect before supporting additional spending to further reduce emissions. They will ask that all rules and regulations required to meet clean air standards be clear and achievable over a reasonable period of time.

They will ask for a review of current rules and regulations to clear up administrative snarls and contradictions written into rules, regulations and law over the last half century. In addition, they will seek to reduce administrative and operating costs to hold down the cost of electricity.

The REC directors we elect and the managers and staff we hire strive to be good stewards of the dollars we pay through our monthly electric bills. They also take very seriously the responsibility they have to see that our power plants meet or exceed reasonable environmental standards. They remain committed to making these investments on a timely basis.

We promise to keep you up to date on the energy/environment debate as the many and varied energy and environmental bills work their way through Congress this year.

Stork was executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and a member of Three Rivers Electric Co-op.

Rural Missouri | June 2020 Issue

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