McCaskill Talks Energy, Differences with President Obama

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COLUMBIA - Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, brought her energy tour to Columbia Monday in hopes of hearing from Missouri's energy consumers, experts and producers. In the meantime, state Republicans have been critical of McCaskill's handling of energy policy.

At a roundtable Monday afternoon, McCaskill discussed her goals for energy security and her defense against policies which would penalize the largely coal-reliant Missouri.

As part of Monday's event, McCaskill toured the Columbia Municipal Power Plant. The plant uses a mix of 20 percent wood chips-from scraps of oak wine barrels made in Missouri-with 80 percent coal to produce power. This summer, Columbia Municipal will test-burn biomass.

David Cole, Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, wrote an opinion column on the Springfield News-Leader's web site Monday criticizing McCaskill for flip-flopping on her energy policies. 

Cole also called McCaskill a "foot soldier" in Barack Obama's "war on energy". When asked if she was using the tour to distance herself from the President, McCaskill said her policies differ from the President, but her support for the President remains the same.

In the column, Cole wrote, "McCaskill votes like a liberal in Washington, supporting things like cap-and-trade and onerous EPA regulations; then she comes to Missouri and tries to fool voters into believing she's concerned about affordable energy. But she won't get away with it this time."

In a press release about McCaskill's statewide Hometown Energy Tour, her office brags about how she "bucked" against her own party by opposing the failed "Cap and Trade" legislation. She cited concerns that Missourian's would pay steep prices for energy policies that punish coal-reliant states like Missouri.

In 2009, a New York Times article claimed that 21 coal-fired power plants created 80 percent of Missouri's energy.