Rural Missouri - December 2010 - (Page 5)
Hart to Heart
Taking the first step
hen you flip the light switch, you expect the power to flow. That simple expectation guides many complex and difficult decisions the leaders of your electric cooperative must make in the coming weeks and months if you are to have the electricity you need in the future. Over the years, it has become increasingly clear that these tough decisions will involve fewer options. Most of our baseload power — the energy you rely on to power your home or business 24 hours a day, seven days a week — comes from coal. Electric cooperatives aren’t alone. Missouri’s electric utilities together generate about 80 percent of their power using coal. In its effort to reduce carbon emissions, the Environmental Protection Agency is implementing new sweeping regulations that may make it too costly to continue generating power from coal. Given the potential impact of these new federal environmental regulations, the uncertainties of whether we will need to replace aging coal power plants and the continued consideration of carbon tax proposals at the federal level, Missouri must keep all options on the table. One important option is additional
by Barry Hart
nuclear generation. Unlike coal and natural gas, nuclear energy does not have carbon emissions, and once the plants are built, they are extremely reliable and provide low-cost power. That’s why the electric cooperatives have partnered with Missouri’s investor-owned and municipal electric providers to seek bipartisan legislation that would keep the nuclear power option open for all Missourians. This legislation is a measured, but important, interim step in these uncertain times. This joint effort includes plans to seek an early site permit from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a potential new nuclear facility at the Callaway Plant site in central Missouri. The legislation only would allow for recovery of the costs of an early site per-
mit — but it is not for CWIP, or “construction work in progress,” an issue that brought talks of a nuclear power plant to a standstill a few years ago. Obtaining a site permit from the NRC is a three-to-four-year process in which studies are performed to determine whether a site is suitable for the construction of new or additional nuclear units. This permit would maintain the option for future development of new nuclear power generation, and in so doing, create an opportunity to bring thousands of jobs and major economic benefits to the state. It also better positions Missouri to have access to potential future federal funding initiatives for nuclear power, which in turn could significantly lower costs to consumers. If the leg-
“Over the years, it has become increasingly clear that these tough decisions will involve fewer options.” Barry Hart
islation passes, the application for the site permit is expected to be filed in the second half of 2011; however, this is only a first step and is not an actual commitment to build a nuclear facility. Missouri’s electric cooperatives strongly believe this approach is a prudent course of action. Pursuing a site permit is a low-cost, measured approach to maintaining a clean energy option, while allowing Missouri’s electric providers to carefully assess a host of important matters — including future energy needs, potential environmental regulations, new technologies and economic development considerations. On Nov. 19, Gov. Jay Nixon held a press conference to throw his full support behind this measure. Members of the general assembly also have expressed their support for this important step in preserving the nuclear option. Rest assured, as we look at these options for future power supply we will do it, as always, by keeping the best interests of our members in mind. Click to watch excerpts from the Nov. 19 press conference. Hart is the executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.
The flu can end with you
by Margaret Donnelly
taying healthy can sometimes be a challenge, especially during the flu season, which normally runs from now through May. Missourians need to know there are steps they can take to protect themselves and their families. Research shows the flu vaccine is your best protection against the flu. That is why this year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older be vaccinated. We want everyone to get the flu shot and have created some tools to assist people in finding the vaccination location closest to them. By visiting www.mo.gov, you can access our new locator map that will direct you to where the vaccine is available. In addition to this handy locator, you also can check with your health care provider. You also can find out more information about the flu by logging on to www.dhss.mo.gov/Influenza. Infor-
mation here will help you protect yourself and your family from the flu. There is also a link to the federal flu information website. There is plenty of vaccine available this flu season and the best time to get a flu shot is now — before sickness starts spreading at work or school. If you wait until someone you know becomes ill, you may have already exposed someone to the virus. By getting a flu shot
now, you are not only protecting yourself from the flu, you are less likely to spread the virus to family members, co-workers and others around you. Flu viruses change from one season to the next, so it is important to get a flu shot every year. This year’s vaccine protects against three flu viruses, including H1N1. The vaccine has been proven safe and effective for everyone over 6 months of age. The flu can pose
“The best way to fight the flu is to prevent it, and the best way to prevent it is with a flu shot.” Margaret Donnelly
a serious risk to your health. The CDC reports that each year, the flu is responsible for more than 200,000 hospitalizations and an average of 36,000 deaths nationwide. Getting a flu vaccination is especially important for individuals who are at higher risk for serious flu complications, including young children, pregnant women, people 65 years of age and older and people with chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease. Health care workers and people who live with others who are at high risk for the flu should get a flu shot to protect themselves and those around them. The best way to fight the flu is to prevent it, and the best way to prevent it is with a flu shot. If you take the time to get your vaccination as soon as possible, the flu can end with you. Donnelly is director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - December 2010
Rural Missouri - December 2010
The Owl Innkeepers
Out of the Way Eats
Best of Rural Missouri
Hearth and Home
Too Good to Be True?
Rural Missouri - December 2010