Our way of life

by Caleb Jones | cjones@amec.coop
Every parent has experienced this situation. A few weekends ago, my daughter, Charlie, had a dance recital out of town. While I normally try to make these events, we ran into a scheduling conflict as my son, Max, had a soccer game at the same time. Lindsey and I had no choice but to divide and conquer. Not one to waste a great opportunity, Max and I spent the weekend playing soccer, shooting guns and getting out in our hunting blind to see if we could call in a spring turkey.

I’m not sure if Max invited his buddies to enjoy time in the woods or if he needed witnesses to our shenanigans. Either way, by the second day of hunting, I had three boys in our blind along with six flashlights, three pocketknives, every kind of turkey call known to man and enough candy to feed an army. While they didn’t take down the record gobbler, they had a great time. It was one of those weekends on the farm to remember.

It really made me appreciate life in rural Missouri. Nothing makes me angrier than sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but I’ll follow a tractor and planter for seven miles and my blood pressure actually goes down. Maybe it’s the lack of parking meters or the fact every truck driver you meet on the road waves; whatever it is, rural Missouri is more than just living in a house without close neighbors – it’s a way of life.

The hard work, sweat and sheer grit of those before us helped make this way of life possible. Roads were dug by draft horses, neighbors shared grain bins and electric cooperatives were formed to ensure children and grandchildren in rural Missouri would have the same opportunities as those in the cities.

Right now, our way of life is being threatened. Not by our brethren in urban areas or enemies from afar, but by a government agency. In May, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized new rules on how electricity can be produced. These rules will force us to prematurely shut down our gas and coal plants and prevent us from building more in the future. These new standards are not only impossible to meet, but all but guarantee blackouts across our great country. As you can guess, the people who are going to be hit the hardest are in “flyover country,” a place where I am proud to live.

One of the best things about growing up in rural Missouri was knowing you could always count on your neighbor when trouble was near. Now is one of those times. We are going to need your help if there is any chance of stopping EPA from shutting down our generation plants without reliable alternatives.

Please take a few minutes to go to www.4EnergyReliability.com, read the proposals and send a letter to your legislators in Washington, D.C., asking them to keep EPA from closing our power plants and turning out your lights. As your neighbor, I would appreciate it, but more importantly, my kids would too.

Caleb Jones is the executive vice president and CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives in Jefferson City. He is a member of Boone Electric Cooperative.