I am writing to you from Jasper County in Southwest Missouri where the ambitious Crowder College is located.
These past two weeks, the AP headlines from Neosho, Missouri where Crowder is located, have been blasting: "A planned alternative energy center years in the making at Crowder College has become mired in what school officials view as bureaucratic red tape."
This is a very disturbing trend, Mr. President. Are various federal government officials trying to sabotage good alternative energy development in America, i.e. even before excellent projects fully take shape?
Crowder President Alan Marble complained to "the school's Board of Trustees on the lack of progress in constructing the Missouri Alternative and Renewable Energy Technology Center." In his speech, Marble stated, "[T]he money for the college has been appropriated, but it has yet to receive roughly $5.4 million in federal funds to construct the building that would house its alternative and renewable energy research programs. The college received a $1 million appropriation for the project in 2005, and it also has roughly $2 million in private funds that are tied to the project."
"We're going to do what we have to do to get it," Marble insisted at the meeting and has since called out for people in the state of Missouri and throughout the region to stand up for progress and development. "I think we should enlist every power we can to get this money for its intended use."
Mr. President, what usage aside from padding the federal war budget in Afghanistan could the moneys for the alternative energy center in Southwest Missouri inadvertantly have been tossed into? This is especially worrisome at a time when both improved education in America and developments in the field of energy are needed so badly.
Trustee Jim Tatum voiced frustration with the federal Energy Department for slowing the steps toward construction, "It's been approved by the House and Senate, signed for by the president, and stymied by the Department of Energy."
The U.S. Energy Department has not been able to explain to Crowder and its Trustees "what the exact holdup is". (Part of the delay is likely due to lack of full environmental assessment on the site, but the government agency overseeing that part of the project is also dragging its feet unnecessarilyso it appears.)
U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, who is now busy running for Missouri's U.S. Senate seat, has not yet spent enough time on the project to help Crowder find out what the source of the federal delays are. (By the way, as Republican Whip in the House during the George W. Bush years, Representative Roy Blunt made a name for himself by voting for almost every single piece of Republican sponsored legislation delaying alternative energy development in the USAi.e. denying global warming effects, etc.) This past month Blunt finally sent an inquiry to the Energy Department and other federal officials, asking them to investigate what the reason for the 2+ year delay in the project is.
I do not know if such delays are common place in the field of education and alternative energy development elsewhere in America, but this two delay during the Obama Administration does not look good for convincing voters that the federal government is interested in changing from bad practices of the past.
Mr. Obama, please investigate the issues for the delay with the alternative energy projects at Crowder Collegeand really push for educational development and alternative energy development from now till the end of your term(s) in office.
Kevin A. Stoda in the 4-State region of Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas (from which most Crowder College students come)