View from the Capitol by State Representative Ed Schieffer
Congratulations to Witte Brothers Trucking of Troy who was presented a Flag of Freedom Award by Governor Nixon for participating in the Show-Me Heroes program for veterans. Witte Brothers has approximately 40 veterans hired and recently hired 10 veterans as drivers and trained them. According to Governor Nixon, they have one of the best training facilities in the state. I was pleased to witness the ceremony and visit with some of Witte’s employees. We are proud of you.
On Friday, Aug. 17, it was a pleasure to testify before the Mississippi River Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Alton, Illinois, at the Lock and Dam. I presented the Joint Resolution that the House and Senate agreed on opposing Plan H. Superintendent of Clopton Schools, Mark Harvey, represented the Neighbors of the Mississippi opposing Plan H which would cause Lincoln, Pike and St. Charles Counties to be holding reservoirs for all future floods. Elsberry Levee Drainage District Officer Curtis Loesing was present and also Andy Burkemper, President of the Neighbors on the Mississippi. Dan Colbert, Lincoln County Commissioner, was in attendance as well.
In Jefferson City, I heard two presentations regarding the future of energy resources, consumption, and rates for Missourians. Missouri Energy Development Association is a seven-member association that includes Missouri’s largest power supplier, Ameren, Kansas City Power & Light, Empire, rural cooperatives, and others. MEDA and Ameren reported on our state and nation and their energy needs. In Missouri, we have coal-burning producers, wind generated, hydro-electric, gas, reusable energy, and nuclear. Many of our coal-burning plants are aging and face shutdowns or replacement. The federal government continues to seek regulatory control of coal-burning facilities, which creates a financial challenge for continued operation, much less future building and development. Energy is a product to sell, but it must be affordable. Charles Skoda, Noranda Aluminum, stated that as the largest consumer of power in the State of Missouri, the future of Noranda and its 950 employees largely depends on reasonable utility rates.
Remember this term—SMR, Small Modular Reactor. Westinghouse Corporation is developing the SMR concept, and would like to establish its base in Missouri. Missouri is the only state that has two university supported reactors, the University of Missouri, Columbia, and Missouri Science and Technology, Rolla. Also, Missouri is centrally located in the nation. An SMR can be built for approximately $1 billion as opposed to $6-8 billion for the prototype that Ameren has in Callaway County, just north of Jefferson City. An SMR can supply power to a city of 175,000 people. Each new SMR has the potential of producing $25 billion in revenue annually for Missouri, in addition to 20,000 direct and indirect new jobs. I have toured the nuclear facility in Calloway County. An SMR would physically occupy only about 15 acres. The demand in the United States will be tremendous without considering foreign markets, such as China, that sees a potential of at least 100 SMRs.
Missouri is the only state to have a MEDA that combines assistance to municipal, public utility, and rural cooperatives. We also have one of the lowest utility rates in the nation. Electricity here costs an average of 8.84 cents per kilowatt/hour. New York’s rate is 16.69 cents per kwh. Grant applications for development of the SMR have been made through the Department of Energy, and an announcement is expected by the end of September. Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington State are seeking this assistance. This could be a large economic boost to Missouri.
As always, I respect your trust and value your advice, comments and questions. Let me know how I may serve you and your family. Please call me at (573) 751-9459, toll free at (855) 285-3781, locally at (636) 299-3270 or (636) 462-7295. If you wish to fax my office, our fax number is 573-522-0411. You may e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.