Rural Missouri - April 2011 - (Page 5)

Hart to Heart Bringing it I by Barry Hart wish I could tell you what is going to happen with the legislation that would make possible the first steps in bringing a new source of electricity to Missouri. But events at our state Capitol in recent days make it impossible to predict where things will end up as the legislature enters its final stretch. But one thing I can say is the electric cooperative grassroots network here in Missouri is a force to be reckoned with. From every corner of the state, they traveled to Jefferson City. Their mission was to tell legislators why making it possible to build a new nuclear power plant is in the best interests of their consumer/members. Before the hearing took place, more than 300 supporters of the legislation — including electric co-op employees, union members, electrical workers, chamber representatives and smallbusiness owners — had descended on the Capitol in an unprecedented show of support for lawmakers who are supporting this cause. The tremendous crowd overflowed two Senate conference rooms, while those who couldn’t get in watched on nearby TV monitors. The hearing went on for many hours, yet the elec- tric co-op faithful stayed to the very end. One after another, they testified, telling those on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs, Emerging Issues, Pensions and Urban Affairs Committee that they should advance legislation that would keep the nuclear power option open for Missouri. At stake is a proposed nuclear power plant to be located in Callaway County, the site for Missouri’s only existing nuclear plant, along with an estimated 11,000 jobs and an economic impact of $1.2 billion per year. Several months ago, a group of utilities that includes Missouri’s electric cooperatives proposed building a plant to meet the growing need for more electricity in the future. The first step in this process is applying for an early site permit. To make that happen, investor-owned utilities need changes in Missouri law that will make it possible to recover the cost of the permit application. Several pieces of legislation have been filed that would do just that while protecting consumers should the project be abandoned. This effort is vital because there aren’t many options for a power source large enough to meet future needs. Realistically, only natural gas and nuclear would meet the growing demand for electricity, driven in large part by the digital-age devices we want and need. After the hearing where so many electric cooperative leaders showed their support, I “This effort is vital because there aren’t many options for a power source large enough to meet future needs.” Barry Hart visited with Sen. Mike Kehoe and Rep. Jeanie Riddle, two sponsors of nuclear power bills that electric cooperatives support. Both Sen. Kehoe and Rep. Riddle told me they were proud of the effort by all the co-ops in Missouri. They said the electric co-ops overwhelmed everyone with their presence and heartfelt testimony. They said, “You brought it, Big Time!” I was happy to tell them that we were there in support of the many legislators who understand the importance of this effort and are prepared to vote on behalf of their constituents when they have that opportunity. See page 4 for a list of those supporters. Several things could happen to this legislation. It could be advanced where it has an excellent chance of passage. Or it could die in committee, forcing utilities to look out of state for their future power supply needs. In this case, Missouri would lose all of the benefits it stands to gain. Please join me and the leaders from your electric cooperative in asking legislators to support the nuclear power option. With your help, we can “bring it” home for all Missourians. Hart is the executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. Guest Column Rural roots run deep here’s nothing like life in the country. Fresh air, watching baby calves scamp in the pasture, seeing wheat fields turn from dirt black to spring green to harvest gold, and the opportunity to see God’s hand at work every day. That’s the life I’ve been blessed with growing up on a farm in southern Cass County and continues today on the farm my husband and I own. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Farming goes back generations in my family. My grandparents on my father’s side, Hank and Izola Zellmer, were from Bates County but moved to Cass County as newlyweds and farmed their entire lives starting out with threshing crews and working up to modern equipment. Their enduring qualities: embracing hard work, faith and being neighborly. My grandparents on my mother’s side, Joe and Olive Purdy, were from Bates County, also, and were cattlemen. Grandad was a real cowboy running large Hereford cattle ranches all over the Midwest in my mother’s T by U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler early years and judging the American Royal in his later years. They always had a milk cow which made for great homemade ice cream for the family when we came to visit. I enjoyed riding horses with Grandad whenever I could. My parents, Ted and Ginny Zellmer, started out small with rented acreage, a few hogs, cows and a dream. What we did, we did as a family, through hard work and perseverance. My sister, Peggy Zellmer Heid, and I grew up helping clean the hog barns (such fun!), learning how to drive a Farmall tractor pulling the hay wagon for my father, bottle feeding calves and learning leadership through 4-H. We sweated moving irrigation pipe to different sections of the corn field when we got a traveling gun irrigator, ate our supper on the pickup tailgate in the field during planting season and waited in line for hours to unload our grain at the Archie Elevator during harvest. The highlight of those hot, dusty waits was a bottle of Vess soda from the elevator “I believe that by working together, we can keep rural America strong for future generations so they, too, can enjoy the blessings of living in the country.” Rep. Vicky Hartzler APRIL 2011 headquarters pop machine if my sister and I didn’t complain too much. As a family we, too, shared in the challenges of rural life: droughts, floods, dusty roads, muddy roads, potholed roads, losing livestock, down markets and crop failures. All of those challenges brought us closer together as a family and to the One who controls the weather and has His caring eye on us. I’m grateful to now have the opportunity to stand strong for rural America by representing Missouri’s 4th District in Congress. At a time when fewer people in Washington have a firsthand knowledge of rural America, it is a privilege to share with them the value of our way of life and how Washington policies impact our state. I believe that by working together, we can keep rural America strong for future generations so they, too, can enjoy the blessings of living in the country. Hartzler represents Missouri’s 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is also a member of Osage Valley Electric Co-op. 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - April 2011

Rural Missouri - April 2011
Memories of that Mountain Music
Growing pains
Mail Bag
International instruction
Best of Rural Missouri
Hearth and Home
News Briefs
Prairie passage pit stop
Around Missouri
Valley of Many Deer Gallery

Rural Missouri - April 2011