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Opinion: How Can This Be?

Photo Courtesy Webster-Kirkwood Times.

Photo Courtesy Webster-Kirkwood Times.

By Don Corrigan (Webster-Kirkwood Times)

On the west side of Berry Road in Glendale, residents are anti-environment and not worried about climate change. On the east side of Berry Road in Webster Groves, residents are pro-environment and care about climate change and pollution.

How can this be? What explains these vast differences in people who actually live only a few doors down from each other? It’s mind-boggling.

I make these observations based on voting records of state senators from adjacent districts. Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-15th District, represents folks in that Glendale area. Sen. Scott Sifton, D-1st District, represents folks in that nearby area of Webster Groves.

Schmitt has voted 100 percent against the environment in the state legislature, according to the Sierra Club. Sifton’s votes have by and large been favorable to the environment.

For example, Schmitt voted for a bill to prevent cities from controlling plastic bag pollution. In contrast, Sifton favored the right of cities to enact restrictions on plastic bags.

Schmitt voted in favor of measures to hinder efforts by federal agencies to implement the Clean Power Plan in Missouri. In contrast, Sifton favored implementation of the Clean Power Plan and efforts to reduce carbon pollution in the state.

Then there’s the issue of factory farms, which have a history of putting smelly stuff in the air and putrid stuff into lakes and rivers.

Schmitt voted to limit public access to information relating to these kinds of activities by agricultural interests. Sifton voted for access to health and environmental concerns related to factory farm operations.

I assume these two state senators represent the will of their constituents. Isn’t it time for the citizens of Glendale and Webster Groves ā€“ who reside in these different senatorial districts ā€“ to get together and hash out their disagreements? Surely they can find some common ground on the environment and pollution issues.

What can possibly be dividing neighborhood against neighborhood when it comes to safe air and water, clean power and pollution reduction?

While we are on the topic of clean power, Kirkwood recently authorized its city electric operation to negotiate the purchase of long-term transmission service from Grain Belt Express, at a cost savings to Kirkwood ratepayers. Grain Belt Express is an overhead power line company delivering low-cost wind energy to Missouri.

“As a public power agency, Kirkwood Electric continuously looks for ways to save our customers money, while diversifying our energy portfolio,” according to Mark Petty, director of Kirkwood Electric. “From residential consumers to small businesses, we continue to hear demand for more renewable energy at a lower cost.”

Too many of our citizens, officials and politicians resist cleaner power. It’s good to get some positive news on renewable energy. Maybe some day all of our neighbors will favor clean energy and oppose pollution.

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