Thomas Hill power plant safe despite EPA regulations

Local Republican lawmakers urge fight against new regulations

MOBERLY, Mo. - The Thomas Hill power plant in Randolph County will not close, despite changing environment regulations for coal-fired power plants.

Associated Electric Cooperative, which runs the plant, told a couple dozen people Tuesday the plant had been upgraded to meet all previous regulations and would be change to meet new rules.

"The big things is carbon emissions and there is no technology available to capture and store carbon currently and so the EPA has put out these regulations," Joe Wilkinson of Associated Electric said. "It could be a big blow to coal in Missouri."

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed new regulations Monday to cut carbon emission at coal plants by 30 percent in each state with a 2030 deadline.

Republican lawmakers from Mid-Missouri fired back Tuesday night.

"We've already made a lot of reductions," said Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-4). "If we go any further I'm concerned about costs to hard-working families in our district and their electric bills and how it's going to affect jobs."

Hartzler was joined by Moberly-area U.S. Representative Tim Remole and Columbia state Representative Caleb Rowden.

Dozens of community members came to the "All the Above" rally, most to hear about the new EPA regulations. Lawmakers and local co-ops leaders agreed that the regulations would take some more time to read before policies and changes would be decided.

"I figured this would be one-sided, which it was," said Mike Diel. "[It was] a lot of coal people talking about how wonderful coal is."

Hartzler was scheduled to continue her district energy tour Wednesday in Columbia, at the University of Missouri biomass module. She had visited a hydroelectric plant in Warsaw, methane collection in Sedalia, a crude oil pipeline in Salisbury, and the Thomas Hill coal plant on Tuesday.

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