Our new Congress
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
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.