Rep Hartzler takes 'All-of-the-Above' Energy Tour

Posted June 12, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Vicky Hartzler columns.jpg

Good Day,

This was an in-district work week, a chance to get out with the good people of Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District and to hear some common sense ideas to take back to Washington. Our two-day “All-of-the-Above” Energy Tour was the highlight of this week as I met with energy officials and experts throughout the district to see first-hand the variety of ways energy is being generated and delivered to our families and learn how Washington’s policies are affecting its cost.

Although our energy tour had been in the planning for more than a month, this was coincidentally the week in which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled its new regulations designed to curb carbon emissions. So there was a good deal of discussion regarding the EPA rules. I am certainly not opposed to reducing emissions, but I believe it must be done in a common-sense way that does not harm the hard-working Americans who would have to pay much higher energy bills as a result of these EPA regulations. As the name of our tour would imply, I believe we must embrace an “all-of-the-above” energy policy that includes tried and true sources of energy such as coal, hydro and nuclear along with alternative energy sources that include wind and solar power. The American people need energy and we must embrace all forms of energy–but it should make sense with the goal of affordable, reliable power.

We began at the hydroelectric power plant in Benton County near Warsaw. The Truman Lake dam generates electricity in addition to controlling flooding. Six turbines run during peak times to supplement base power plants and to provide electricity to Missouri families.

The dam includes a visitor center, open from March through October, providing visitors with a beautiful view of Truman Lake.

A visit to State Fair Community College in Sedalia presented an opportunity to tour the school’s Energy Innovation Center which turns landfill waste into power. The Center converts methane gas from the landfill into electricity to supplement college and community needs – generating as much as 2.4 megawatts of electricity to be placed on the grid and sold to KCP&L. It provides hands-on experience for students who want to enter the biomass job market.

I was impressed with this emerging energy source and how professionals and students at a community college in Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District are working together to answer the call for our increased energy needs.

Our next stop was the Spectra Energy Pipeline Pump Station near Salisbury – one of several stations along a crude oil line that begins in Alberta, Canada, runs through our district, and ends at Wood River, IL, where it is refined into useable petroleum.

Approximately 7,000 barrels of crude oil run through the pipeline every hour.

A tour of the Thomas Hill coal-fired power plant in Randolph County allowed me to see a facility that is providing clean, reliable electricity to our citizens.

This set the stage for concerns about the new EPA regulations that would be heard at our “all-of-the-above” energy rally in at Moberly Area Community College in Moberly.

It is clear from this rally that Missourians appreciate various alternative sources of energy, but they want affordable coal power, as well. New Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations proposed this week could raise the cost of energy by mandating a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions over the next several years. The 645-page regulation document gives flexibility to the states on how to achieve the reduction, so the direct impact is still unknown. I will be closely examining this proposal and, since 80 percent of Missouri’s energy comes from coal, am concerned about the potential negative impact here. If coal-powered plants are targeted again, it will hurt hardworking families who are struggling to make ends meet as well as hurt jobs. Common sense must prevail.

A visit to the Hubbell Manufacturing Company in Centralia was part of our tour. The company manufactures a variety of transmission, distribution, substation and telecommunications products used by utilities. This Boone County company employs 600 people.

Our tour wrapped up with a visit to the University of Missouri where I toured the MU Power Plant and the Biomass Boiler before moderating a panel discussion on Missouri’s Energy Future: Challenges and Opportunities.

In our ever-changing world the need for energy is only going to increase. This “all-of-the-above” energy tour was eye-opening and valuable as we face the task of finding solutions to America’s energy needs – and to keep that energy at a low cost to consumers. That is why I am looking forward to scheduling a similar tour next year and in future years. I thank all of those who worked with my office to help make this tour possible.

Finally, the world is observing the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy in World War II. Nine thousand Allied troops – many of them Americans – were killed or wounded, but 100,000 went on to help save the world from the oppressive Nazi regime. As we mark D-Day, I call on all Missourians to offer their thanks to America’s World War II veterans and to all veterans who have fought and those who continue to fight to keep us free. Thank you for protecting the freedoms we all enjoy.

Have a great week.