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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Out of control: Senator seeks to curb power of government regulators

  • U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt sees the country’s heartland, particularly the portion through which the Mississippi River flows, facing opportunities not seen in the last 100 years. But will those opportunities be capitalized upon?
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  • U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt sees the country’s heartland, particularly the portion through which the Mississippi River flows, facing opportunities not seen in the last 100 years. But will those opportunities be capitalized upon?
    During a visit to Hannibal on Wednesday afternoon, Blunt said that current rules governing water and utilities in general could “take all those advantages away from us pretty quickly.”
    Blunt warned that if the United States does not seize its opportunities they will go elsewhere.
    “And I’m not talking about Massachusetts or California, I’m talking about India, China, Mexico or Brazil where they’re not as concerned about what comes out of the smoke stacks,” he said. “This is a critical moment. More than any legislative things are hurting people right now, it’s regulatory things that’s beginning to take away our future, for no particular benefit.”
    Blunt cited proposed clean air regulations that could force Missouri electric rates to double in roughly a decade.
    “These are the worst possible regulations for poor people and for young people,” said the Republican senator. “Poor people can barely pay their utility bill now. They are also the last people who can get energy efficient new windows, the last people to get more insulation in their house, but the first people to decide they simply can’t pay the bill.”
    After taking a brief tour of the city’s Waste Water Treatment Plant, Blunt talked about federal guidelines that could force the community to scrap its current facility in favor of a new plant.
    “Undoing this plant to make a fractional improvement in what the plant does makes no sense at all. It’s a law of diminishing returns. The gain gets less and less as the cost becomes more and more,” he said. “We need to have some true cost benefit analysis. We need to be sure the administration has to follow the law.”
    Blunt spoke about a bill he has introduced that would “give members of Congress standing in court if a majority of the members felt that the administration wasn’t enforcing the law as intended and get those decisions made early by a court rather than in a couple of years into a complicated process.”
    Blunt’s proposal has already been approved in the U.S. House. However, he’s not confident it will see the light of day in the current Senate, adding that could change in January if there is a power shift in the Senate.
    “I think regulators are not only out of control, but unaccountable, and particularly in the second term of a presidency that even the chief executive they work for never has to answer to anybody again. That’s why I’ve always felt members of Congress should have to vote to approve rules before they could officially go into effect,” he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - While encouraging the public to let their voices be heard, Blunt urged citizens to make sure they are taking aim on the right target.
    “We’re in a big fight,” said the senator. “People need to understand this is not between the city of Hannibal and EPA, it’s between the people that pay the bill and the EPA. If you don’t want to see those bills go up for unreasonable reasons you need to be part of this fight against regulation that doesn’t make sense.”

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