McCaskill Brings "Hometown Energy" Tour to Springfield MO Facility

(Brookline Station, MO) -- Senator Claire McCaskill's tour of the places powering Missouri brought her to Springfield Thursday.

The democrat toured John Twitty Energy Center -- formerly known as the Southwest Power Station -- at 5100 W. Farm Road 164.

Thursday's stop on her Hometown Energy Tour was part of her effort to get information from Missouri's energy industry. And she believes Missourians want a middle-ground approach energy.

"I think they want compromises that in the long run will protect our low rates that we pay in Missouri, but at the same time do the responsible thing for the planet that we live on for the long haul."

And energy issues are likely to come up in her 2012 re-election bid, if it mirrors the issues on a national level.

"I do not buy the notion that we have to make a choice between having clean air and clean water and growing this economy in a robust way," President Obama has said. "I think that is a false debate."

Regulators, and specifically the EPA, are taking hits from republicans.

"This is an agency out of touch with reality, which I believe is incorrigible and you need a new agency that is practical, has common sense, uses economic factors and in the case of pollution actually incentives change, doesn't just punish it," says GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich.

When it comes to new EPA rules about mercury pollution, Sen. McCaskill is focusing on the speed of the rollout.

"We're looking at compromised language about slowing it down and making sure that we do this in a way that is not going to hurt families on fixed incomes."

Still, she says this particular plant is already meeting future standards, which puts Springfield in a better position for changes.

City Utilities leaders are still looking over what new rules will mean for the area. The general manager says potential regulations could cost hundreds of millions of dollars on the high end. And the structure of CU means that cost would be passed along to customers.

Sarah Steelman, Todd Akin, and John Brunner are all potential republican challengers to McCaskill in this year's election. After Thursday's visit, the state Republican party is accusing McCaskill of taking contradictory positions. That's something McCaskill denies, at least when it comes to cap and trade.

In a statement, the executive director of the Missouri GOP says McCaskill is also trying to get constituents to believe she is a champion for affordable energy.

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