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Sam Graves PHOTO/Elizabeth Orosco

CARROLLTON, Mo.—U.S. Representative Sam Graves visited Carrollton this afternoon for a town hall meeting.

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Sam Graves PHOTO/Elizabeth Orosco

Held at the Carroll County Memorial Hospital, which recently unveiled the addition of the Medical Plaza, the meeting brought together several members of the community, who voiced concerns and raised questions to Representative Graves about issues affecting the area.

An issue of funding for the Department of Transportation was discussed, with Representative Graves saying “everything is on the table” regarding ideas for generating revenue, including tolling, gas tax, or Vehicle-Miles Travelled (VMT) fee.

Discussion of the Obama administration’s decision to reduce carbon emissions by 2030 was also addressed.

“We are pushing back in the moment,” Graves said. “We have an abundance of coal, and I don’t believe we should eliminate any energy resources we have.”

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Tonya Lohman with MoDOT PHOTO/Elizabeth Orosco

Tonya Lohman, with the Missouri Department of Transportation suggested working with the railroads to push back this movement, as the industry generates large revenue hauling coal.

In a 2014 newsletter, Representative Graves addressed the issue of coal plant reduction:

Missouri has a long and proud history of producing coal.  In fact, the Show Me state was the first state West of the Mississippi to produce coal for commercial use.  When it comes to the generation of electricity in the United States, about half of that power is provided by coal. The coal industry is booming and the United States is one of the world’s largest exporters of coal.  According to the Energy Information Administration, there is enough coal to last for the next 200 years. Most of that coal, however, is headed to Asia.  American demand for coal has been slowed down by costly regulations from the federal government.  Missouri sits on large reserves of coal, which is a cheap and abundant source of energy. The current administration has said they want to make building a coal plant so expensive that it will bankrupt the company.  Recently, President Obama and the EPA announced that they will seek to force a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions on coal power plants by 2030.  With a flurry of new regulations, they are moving toward that goal. I believe we need to be pursuing an all-the-above strategy regarding energy.  Coal is a part of the solution, along with natural gas, renewable fuels, nuclear, conservation and increased oil exploration.  Instead of trying to bankrupt energy companies, we need to embrace all of the options. When it comes to easing our energy crunch, there are no easy gimmicks.  We must continue to increase the amount of American energy by using our own natural resources.

Representative Graves also said he plans to reintroduce the Rural Health Bill. In an interview with KMZU last year, he said more rural hospitals have closed in the past two years than the past ten combined.

graves 4The Save Rural Hospitals Act is aimed at allowing rural hospitals the choice to offer outpatient care that meets the health needs of their rural community and ensure access to emergency care such as rural ambulance services.

Lastly, discussion arose around the creation of a train stop in Carrollton. Sharon Metz, Director of the Carrollton Area Economic Alliance asked Representative Graves’ help in bringing a train stop to town, which she said would service approximately 9,400 people a year.