Missouri’s likely Democratic nominee for governor is touting his record on something more commonly attributed to Republicans: standing up to the federal government’s environmental regulations.
During his stop at the Missouri State Fair, Chris Koster highlighted his office’s work fighting the Environmental Protection Agency on mercury emissions from power plants such as the Ameren plant at Labadie and the clean water rule better known as the Waters of the U.S., and said his office is considering action regarding the clean air rule that could affect Missouri’s coal-fired power plants.
Koster dropped in on a Missouri Farm Bureau forum where several Republicans spoke about the Waters of the US rule, which he called a “tremendous overreach.”
“It is for Missourians to decide how the land in the state of Missouri is regulated. It is not for the Environmental Protection Agency to send their lawyers and their regulators into our state and displace the Department of Natural Resources,” Koster told Missourinet. “We have no way of electing those people, we have no say over how they govern us, and it’s just not the way the Union was set up.”
Federal “overreach” is something often decried by Republicans, but in Missouri some Democrats espouse similar views. Koster, a former Republican, says it’s not a new position for him.
“The first part of my career was in rural Missouri, so I feel deeply the passion in rural Missouri against federal overreach, and against decision making that comes out of Washington, and that doesn’t have an understanding for the needs of rural Missouri, the needs of agricultural Missouri,” said Koster.
At the Farm Bureau presser Republican U.S. House members Jason Smith, Vicky Hartzler, and Blaine Luetkemeyer and Senator Roy Blunt, all Missouri Republicans, discussed the Waters of the U.S. rule, saying it should be defunded and expressing a belief that lawsuits against it will be successful. Smith said he would favor abolishing the EPA.
The Farm Bureau also released an interactive map showing 99-percent of the state’s total acreage being subject to EPA jurisdiction under the rule.
Koster agreed with that assessment.
“I have a desk in Jefferson City that is probably 100-feet above the Missouri River and nearly a mile back from the Missouri River, but the desk that I sit at and that all of my predecessors have sat at is in the Waters of the United States. The whole state is in the Waters of the United States, for all practical purposes,” said Koster.
Koster is the only Democrat running for that party’s nomination for Missouri governor in 2016. He is expected to face an opponent from a cast of at least five Republicans who have declared their candidacy.
Missouri’s GOP is critical of Koster, though, for not joining other states in fighting federal carbon regulations, and accuse him of an “election cycle deception.”