Last Friday, Congressman Roy Blunt made a sweep through southwest Missouri to unveil his new energy plan, which he calls 'Find More, Use Less." His travels included a stop at Fastrip in Cassville where several area residents came out to talk to him about their opinions and concerns about rising energy costs. Included among those who visited with Blunt were Bill Shiveley, manager and chief executive officer of Barry Electric, and David Cupps, president of the Barry Electric Board. Both men are very knowledgeable about this topic and in general it seems like Blunt's plan addresses some of their recommendations, which we have heard them champion at various times during the course of the past year.
Bill and David, as well as other members of the Barry Electric Board, are men we respect, and we believe Barry Electric is one of the best, if not the best, run cooperatives in the state of Missouri and the nation. While gas prices are getting all the national publicity, we shouldn't forget that electric rates are also on the rise. Shiveley and Cupps have advocated that Congress take immediate steps to make construction of new nuclear power plants more affordable and less restrictive, and Blunt's new plan appears to address this call to action. One of the key tenets of his proposal is to eliminate barriers to the expansion of emission-free nuclear production.
In general, Blunt's energy plan offers a common sense approach that basically tries to find new energy sources while using less of it. We really like his ideas and believes the tenets of his plan are ones that the majority of Barry County constituents would support. He is proposing that the U.S. look for domestic energy sources within its own borders and decrease reliance on foreign oil. Some other pieces of his "Find More, Use Less" energy plan are as follows:
* Open deep water ocean resources and the arctic coastal plain to drilling, which could produce an additional 4 million barrels of oil a day.
* Allow development of the nation's shale oil resources, which could generate 2.5 million barrels of oil a day.
* Provide tax incentives for business owners and families that purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles and that improve the energy efficiency of their businesses and homes.
* Extend the tax credit for alternative energy production, which includes wind energy, for 10 more years.
We appreciate Blunt's frequent visits to Barry County and his willingness to respond to local concerns quickly and with as little red tape as possible. Finding balance in a politically charged climate will be the key to getting effective legislation passed. We hope Blunt will continue to serve his constituents and look for ways to work with his colleagues in Congress to find a solution to our most pressing problems with rising gas prices and energy costs of primary concern to the average taxpayer.