Rural Missouri - May 2017 - 4
| C O O P E R AT I O N
photos by Jim McCarty
maintenance. "A lot of dollars flow into and out of
this place," he said.
Associated's Joe Wilkinson explained that the
power supply co-op spent more than $1 billion to
comply with a host of federal regulations. "That's
real money for our members and it has a big impact
on our employees too," he said. "So we really appreciate
what you are doing to fight back on these reguAbove and right: U.S. Rep. Jason Smith got a tour of the New Madrid Power Plant from Plant Manager Roger Neumeyer.
That is going to be really critical to keeping
Below: The electric co-op leaders visited with Smith and staffers Eric Bohl and Shelley Taylor about issues including changes
these jobs here and keeping these plants running
FEMA wants to make, rural broadband and environmental regulations during his visit to the southeast Missouri power plant.
and viable for our members."
Smith, a member of Intercounty Electric, said he
understood the impact Washington has on those at
the end of the lines in rural Missouri. "There's people who don't have the money to keep the lights on,"
he acknowledged, adding that his own grandparents couldn't afford running water. "If we continue
to allow regulations that increase costs, they must
decide do I pay for utilities or prescriptions? They
have to make those decisions every day and it's not something I want to see."
hen U.S. Rep. Jason Smith sought information on coal-powered
Daryl Sorrell, manager of M&A Electric Power Cooperative, pointed out that
electricity generation, he went straight to the source: the New
southeast Missouri has some of the poorest counties in the state. "We have to
Madrid Power Plant. Smith, who has three coal plants in his disbe cognizant of the people we serve, which is a lot of very poor people," he said.
trict, and staffers Eric Bohl and Shelley Taylor joined employees
"We work hard every day to try to deliver power as reliably and inexpensively as
from Associated Electric Cooperative, the Association of Missouri Electric Cooppossible. We need help in order to do that."
eratives and electric co-ops in southeast Missouri for an update on how co-ops
Both SEMO Electric Manager Sean Vanslyke and Pemiscot-Dunklin Electric
balance the need to supply affordable electricity with a keen desire to protect
Manager Tim Davis visited with Smith about the possibility of bringing broadthe environment. He also was interested in seeing firsthand how regulations set
in Washington, D.C. affect those at home in his
band to rural people, with Vanslyke saying his
8th Congressional District. "Those regulations
farmer-members want wireless internet on their
have real consequences on jobs," Smith said.
tractors and irrigation units. "We know there is
Barry Hart, CEO of AMEC, explained how
a need. The people in our area have nothing. We
the state's electric cooperatives pooled their
visited at our table and agreed if we don't do it no
resources to form Associated and build its powone will," Davis related.
John Singleton, manager of Black River Elecer plants. "One of our seven cooperative principles is cooperation with other cooperatives," he
tric, said he has seen much support for Rep.
said. "It's something we actually believe in. In
Smith's policies during his speeches at the coour case it makes sense for us to work together."
op's annual meeting. "There's not a more bipartiPlant Manager Roger Neumeyer told Smith
san place than an electric co-op annual meeting,"
the New Madrid power plant was one of the first
he said. "Each time Jason speaks and delivers his
to install SCRs to remove emissions. "That was
message on government working for us and not
about a $55 million each investment if I recall,"
us working for government, everyone is nodding
in agreement. If he will keep those people in mind
He said the plant employs 190 people, but
with all of these issues - whether it is the Clean
those ranks can swell by as much as 300 when
Power Plan or broadband - I think some great
contractors are brought in to work scheduled
things will come out of this district."
Straight to the source
U.S. Rep. Jason Smith finds facts at New Madrid Power Plant
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