This was an in-district work week for Members of the U.S. House -- an opportunity for representatives of the people to spend time visiting citizens in their districts. I want to share a couple of my visits in Missouri's Fourth District this week.
I was invited to visit the Caterpillar High Performance Molded Products plant in Boonville and met with several of the good people who work there. The facility, which opened its doors in March of 1992, provides employment for citizens of Cooper County, employing more than 200 people. The skilled workers at this Caterpillar plant produce multiple product lines consisting of power transmission, suspension, vibration isolation, and sealing application components. Caterpillar is environmentally conscious, as well. The company is one of the world's largest remanufacturers with its facilities recycling 97-99 percent of material that comes through the door.
America's manufacturing industry is crucial to kick-starting our economy. I am committed to helping companies like Caterpillar to cut through the burdensome government red tape that stifles businesses and to help reduce government obstacles that stand in the way of manufacturers and small businesses expanding their markets. The simple truth is that by opening new markets for American-made goods we help lower prices for consumers and create higher-paying jobs for American workers. This begins with addressing job-destroying government overregulation.
I also visited Central Methodist University in Fayette to meet CMU President Dr. Roger Drake, who became the 26th President of Central Methodist in July of this year.
Dr. Drake is committed to providing each CMU student with a quality learning experience. With Dr. Drake's academic and business experience, I am confident Central Methodist and its faculty, staff, and students will be well served for years to come.
Other education-related stops this week included a visit to Columbia College, where I met with Interim President Dr. Terry B. Smith to tour a new science facility, and a visit to Boonslick Technical Education Center in Boonville.
My travels also took me to the Howard County Electric Co-Op in Fayette, where I heard first hand of some of the concerns of electric cooperatives in our district and in our state. Federal government regulations are creating onerous burdens for these companies. The people at the Howard County Electric Co-Op want to continue providing electricity to the citizens they serve and are hoping they will be allowed to do so without counter-productive federal government overregulation.
On a related note, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held an important listening post in Lenexa, Kansas, to hear input from citizens of EPA Region 7 -- which includes Missouri -- on the EPA's proposed rule on source performance standards for new power plants.
While I was unable to attend this meeting, I submitted a statement outlining my concerns regarding what I see as a government overreach that will cripple the coal industry and will lead to higher energy costs for hard-working citizens and businesses in Missouri's Fourth Congressional District. As I stated in my comments to the EPA, the proposed rule would create a de facto ban on building any new coal fired power plants in the U.S. by requiring the use of Carbon Capture and Storage technology. This technology has not been commercially proven in any state, and the small pilot projects that have taken place are in states and parts of the world with drastically different geological formations than the state of Missouri. The EPA must set realistic expectations and standards that can be met by states in a way that is not economically damaging to local ratepayers and small businesses.
The fact is that Missouri derives more than 80 percent of its energy from coal. With this in mind, I would encourage the EPA to work with utilities to provide standards based on realistic expectations and provide states with a great amount of flexibility when meeting EPA standards. It is wrong for a federal government agency to force its unrealistic standards and added costs on the people the agency is supposed to serve. I will continue to fight for citizens of Missouri's Fourth District against what amounts to an unreasonable government attack on an industry that affords our district with affordable energy to keep people warm in the winter and cool in the summer months.
Have a great week.