Roy Blunt, who’s known for doing a good deed now and then for his fossil fuel benefactors, wants us to believe that he’s turned over a new leaf. Since President Obama announced his new clean air regulations for coal-fired plants, the Senator seems to have got himself all worked up about the hardships that these regulations will cause Missouri’s poor working folks:
If Blunt is so worried about how rate increases will affect low-income folks, where was he when Ameren raised electrical rates six times between 2006 and 2014? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote in 2014 that:
Rates will have risen more than 50 percent since 2006 if the PSC grants the latest request in full. In recent years, the regulator has approved Ameren’s rate increase requests, but a lower amount than originally proposed by the utility.
A full 50%! Seems like that imposition on hard up Missourians might have reduced Blunt to outright sobbing. But I don’t remember that he had much to say about these rate increases.
And did you notice? Not one word about Ameren’s very generous donations to his campaign war chest:
Ameren is a top contributor to Blunt’s campaigns. People associated with the company have contributed more than $100,000 to Blunt, according the Center for Responsive Politics, good for 8th on the list of Blunt donors.
There’s more. Guess what really hurts poor Missourians? Pollution from coal-fired plants which disproportionately affects low-income people. And sorry, Senator Blunt, it’s not at all a sure bet that energy prices will rise, given the flexibility built into the new regulations. Some folks think we might see just the opposite result:
The rules give states a wide menu of policy options to achieve the pollution cuts. Rather than immediately shutting down coal plants, states may be able to develop plans that make plants more efficient so they burn less coal. In addition, natural gas – which is cleaner than coal – renewable energy and energy efficiency will play major roles in the state plans.
The Natural Resources Defense Council said consumers will actually see electric prices decline as energy efficiency reduces the amount of electricity used.
Of course, we’ll have to get ol’ Roy out of the way first since he claims that when it comes to the new regulations he’ll “fight the president and his administration every step of the way,” doubtless financing the fight with big checks from Ameren.
*First sentence after video changed, first thirteen words added.