Energy stances made with Missouri in mind
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
This Op-Ed was published in the Springfield News-Leader.
When it comes to powering our homes and businesses, Missourians know what works. For years, we’ve employed a common sense approach to energy production that has provided affordable energy for families across the state, while also working to avoid burdensome federal regulations that drive up costs and stifle job creation. That’s why, as Missouri’s senator, I’ve always fought for energy solutions over what activists in Washington think is best for us.
It hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve stood my ground when other senators or the EPA pushed me to support policies I know aren’t right for Missouri.
For example, I’ve been a consistent supporter of the Keystone Pipeline project, despite the project’s opposition from the president and environmental activists. While it may not be popular with a lot of folks in California, I believe we need to build Keystone sooner rather than later. By building Keystone here and now, we move increasingly closer to achieving two key goals that will strengthen America: greater energy independence and more good-paying jobs.
Similarly, when activists and members of my own party pushed me to support cap and trade legislation that would have devastated Missouri’s families and businesses, I simply said no. As cap-and-trade legislation was introduced in 2008, I wrote a letter to Harry Reid stating my firm opposition to it, reminding him that what might work for Nevada simply won’t work for Missouri.
When it comes to energy production, to put it simply, I support an all-of-the-above approach. Our domestic oil production has never been greater, but we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by utilizing all the resources we have at our disposal. This includes the use of wind, solar, coal, nuclear and natural gas.
Just this year, I’ve been working with Sen. Roy Blunt to support efforts by Ameren and Westinghouse to build cutting-edge nuclear facilities here in Missouri. I’ve fought consistently to protect Missouri energy producers from burdensome EPA regulations on coal ash and boiler standards, which would significantly impact energy prices for families here in Missouri.
As part of my efforts to stop EPA regulations that harm our businesses and drive up consumer costs, I worked to pass legislation that would put a hold on unnecessary EPA mandates for our power plants. I know that far too often, when the EPA gets its way energy prices go up, good-paying jobs are lost and economic activity is stifled.
I also fought against proposed EPA mandates for boiler standards that would have had a devastating impact on our state’s forest products industry. In 2010, I joined Republicans and Democrats in the Senate to call on EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to put Missouri’s families first and forgo these regulations, which would have wiped out thousands of good-paying jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity.
More recently, I doubled down on this position by co-sponsoring a new bill to delay EPA regulations from going into effect. Once again, I’m bucking many in my own party by proposing legislation that would give coal plants six years, rather than the current four, to comply with new rules. This common sense, compromise, middle-ground approach would give Missouri businesses enough time to adapt, ensuring energy costs don’t rise and jobs aren’t lost.
Finally, since 2009, I’ve been fighting regulations that allowed the federal government to punish coal states by declaring coal ash as “hazardous waste.” Do I believe we need to be taking reasonable steps to protect our kids and families from unnecessary pollution? Absolutely. But most importantly, I believe Missourians are far better equipped than Washington bureaucrats to assess what decisions are good for us, our economy and our families. More often than not, the folks in Washington are just plain wrong when it comes to what’s best for Missouri.
As your senator, before I take a position on any issue I take the time to study it and ask what it means for Missouri families. An all-of-the-above strategy on energy, one that puts Missourians in the driver’s seat, is the best way forward for our economy — and I’ll take on any Washington bureaucrat who thinks they know better.