Negative effect

I was appalled to learn that President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by 25 percent.

This proposed cut would negatively affect families in Southwest Missouri. In the Joplin area, children still suffer from lead poisoning from past mining. The cleanup of the Oronogo-Duenweg Superfund site is ongoing. Cutting 20 percent of the EPA’s workforce, as proposed, is sure to slow down this process.

Scott Pruitt’s salary is paid by each one of us. His job is to protect the public health not compromise it. He has been given one of the most important jobs in this country, and he’s blowing it.

Jennifer Conner

Pierce City

Protect our children

I was born in Carl Junction and lived there until I was 14 years old.

All schools must have armed security personnel in adequate numbers to protect our children.

There are more than 20 million veterans who have served in the armed forces of the United States. Many would serve as security guards in our schools.

We have worked out a system where our courtrooms are protected with armed personnel from sheriff's deputies or U.S. marshals. Armed government employees are at our airports, in both houses of Congress, state legislatures, courthouses wheresoever they are, Secret Service protection of our president, at professional and college sports events, in gated communities, banks, department stores, pharmacies, hospitals, malls and countless other places.

Protect our children with armed guards. Those schools that don't protect our children with armed security should be sued out of existence by those injured.

Robert O. Burgess, M.D.

Ault, Colorado

What's best for Southwest Missouri residents?

On Feb. 8, my wife and I attended the public hearing on Empire's request to build a wind farm in Southwest Missouri. This was held in Cornell Auditorium on the campus of Missouri Southern State University, and it was well attended. There were two parts to the hearing with the first being questions asked of Empire's representative and of an official from the public counsel.

Both were informational, but there were problems with the content. It is that content I have problems with, and I will address each individually.

First, the questioners in the first segment seemed to have a conflict of interest as they had a financial stake in the outcome. Mainly, some represented special interests and not the residents of Southwest Missouri. We are talking about individuals who would gain by installing wind turbines or by the lease of land to Empire.

Others represented the Asbury Plant employees, as they would stand to lose if the wind farm goes into production mode by 2020. It was during this discussion that the price tag of $1.5 billion to build the wind farm was brought to light. Empire, with the help of third parties, would have an outlay of $700-750 million, and the rest would be picked up by third-party equity partners. We the residents of Southwest Missouri would have to pay off those parties plus pay off the remainder of the Asbury plant upgrades. The Asbury plant is good for 15 to 20 years of operations and personally is the best option at this time. Asbury is a sure thing, while the wind farm could become a severe liability to the ratepayers of Southwest Missouri.

The second segment was testimony under oath before a commissioner and a judge. It was dominated by individuals who do not like coal. Most stated opinions as fact, and all of it was slanted toward shutting down Asbury and letting Empire build the high-priced wind farm. There was even a Green Party state senatorial candidate, and this debate should not be politicized.

The debate should be about what is best for the ratepayers of Southwest Missouri, and they did not address this issue. It was bash the Asbury Plant, coal and anything else but the ratepayers concern. One lady did address this concern, and she got the loudest ovation from those in attendance. We should pay off one problem before adding more debt onto the ratepayers, but Empire wants to put the cart before the horse. All ratepayers should address their concerns and can do so by e-mail at mopco@ded.mo.gov.

One final point was not addressed by the supporters of the wind farm: the ugliness of wind turbines. These structures will tower 250 feet into the air with blades of 100-150 feet, and there will be many of them to generate 800 megawatts of power. Migrating geese, ducks and birds of all kinds will be killed by these blades, yet the environmentalists were in support of this proposal. I would remind them of their initial purpose, and that was to take care of the animals that are here, not to erect structures that will kill more.

Roy Winans

Joplin

Optimistic

Gov. Eric Greitens recently unveiled a plan to cut Missouri taxes by a collective $800 million. As evidenced by the recent federal tax cuts, an $800 million tax cut would jumpstart Missouri’s businesses, families and overall economy.

Between bonus checks, wage increases and lower prices, well over 3 million individuals across the country have already been positively affected by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Even in Missouri, we are seeing strong examples of economic growth. One of the most recent announcements came from Dynamic Fastener in Raytown. Because of the recent tax cut, the company will offer $1,000 bonuses and open up a new paint shop, creating new jobs in the process.

Tax cuts work. I’m thankful they were passed on the federal level, and I am optimistic about Missouri’s future if they are also passed here at home.

Kalena Bruce

Stockton

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