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Rural Missouri Magazine

Some things are worth fighting for

AMEC executive vice president Barry Hart
by Barry Hart

by Barry Hart

Some things are worth fighting for. I’m often reminded of that statement during November, when the holiday season gets started and we reunite with the ones we love over Thanksgiving dinner. We count our blessings then, and no matter what happened during the past year, the blessings are many.

Our American way of life is high on this list. We enjoy the greatest standard of living in the world. Our freedom is another thing we can’t take for granted. Many men and women fought to earn it for us and we would be foolish to take it for granted.

There’s something else on my list that you probably never think about. I’m referring to the affordable and reliable supply of electricity we have in Missouri.

Just as we would defend our freedom and the American way of life, we need to fight to keep our low rates and reliable service.

There are some in our country who think the price of electricity is too cheap. They believe the only way to get people to conserve is to make it more expensive. They are using this argument in the debate on how best to cut emissions of carbon dioxide blamed for causing global warming.

Electric cooperative leaders think otherwise. We have a plan that will let the nation cut its emissions while still allowing rural people to enjoy affordable and reliable power. This summer we launched the Our Energy, Our Future campaign to engage consumers in a dialogue with their elected officials on this important issue.

The results have been astounding. Nationwide, we are close to a million messages from you and your fellow consumers, all asking critical energy questions. And Missourians have been responsible for a large chunk of those contacts, with 163,000 to date.

As the election approaches this month, we are again calling on you to make your voice heard. In addition to casting your vote, you can help educate and inform lawmakers about these concerns. Log on to www.ourenergy.coop and send an e-mail to your elected officials. Or contact your electric cooperative and ask them to do it for you.

The message we are currently asking Congress, as legislators continue to debate the climate change issue, is how much will all this cost me? In these tough economic times, we must keep our leaders focused on this question.

Electric cooperatives are urging lawmakers to invest in technology that will allow us to help all households become more energy efficient, fast-track plans for building new transmission lines, cut the red tape that prevents construction of nuclear power plants and capture and permanently store carbon from coal-fired power plants.

Missouri’s electric cooperatives aren’t waiting for Congress to act. This summer Associated Electric Cooperative supported Springfield’s City Utilities in a carbon capture project. We also launched an experiment with two universities that will use algae to strip carbon from flue gas and turn it into biodiesel.

In partnership with the federal government, electric co-ops spread the benefits of electric power to the remotest parts of our nation. The time has come for the new president we elect and Congress to step up to the plate and make sure we can continue to depend on a reliable supply of electricity at a price we can afford.

Hart is executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.

E-mail Barry Hart

 

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Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives

Rural Missouri
2722 E. McCarty Street
P.O. Box 1645 • Jefferson City, Mo. 65102
573-659-3423

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