ST. LOUIS, MO. – Today, Senator Eric Schmitt led a letter with Representative Burlison and Representative Alford demanding answers on Biden Administration’s misplaced priorities relating to Truman Lake and Table Rock Lake infrastructure ahead of Memorial Day weekend:
“The Biden Administration’s obsession with prioritizing woke pet projects over basic infrastructure needs to end. The fact of the matter is this: EV’s are not yet sustainable in rural Missouri, and the visitor center at Truman Lake and Table Rock Lake in Missouri are in need of an infrastructure overhaul. Missourians have a right to know just how much is being spent on charging stations instead of basic infrastructure in our parks,” said Senator Eric Schmitt.
“Table Rock Lake is a recreational staple for our Ozarks community. Yet, the Biden Administration would rather prioritize wasting funds on a Green New Deal climate agenda over ensuring the park is properly maintained and operational. I join my colleagues in demanding answers on why government funds are going towards something rural Missouri does not need or even want,” said Representative Eric Burlison.
“Prior to COVID-19, the Truman Lake Visitor Center was a bustling location for all that used the lake. Instead of prioritizing this Administration’s radical climate agenda, we should be focused on reopening the lake’s visitor center to its full capacity. Missourians don’t want charging stations and electric trucks; they want to be able to use their lake on Memorial Day Weekend. I urge the Biden Administration to reconsider Executive Order 14057. Missouri deserves better,” said Representative Mark Alford.
Read the full letter below.
Dear Assistant Secretary Connor and Mr. Mayock,
We write today to express our concerns with the Biden Administration’s continued push for a one-size-fits-all approach to the electrification of vehicles in this country. Beginning with Executive Order (EO) 14008, “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad,” to EO 14057, “Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability,” and continuing to today, this Administration has ignored Missourians and ignored more reasonable and attainable solutions to promoting affordable energy sources and protecting our environment.
When Missourians see the implementation of projects such as EO 14057, specifically the electrification of the federal fleet, they see an Administration with misplaced priorities and a habit of wasteful spending. The simple fact is: electric vehicles (EVs) are not yet a sustainable solution nor an overwhelming priority for rural Missouri.
This Memorial Day Weekend, families across the Midwest will be heading to one of our many lakes to spend time with their friends and to celebrate the freedoms many have died to keep in this country. Two popular lake destinations in Missouri are Harry S. Truman Lake (Truman Lake) in Warsaw and Table Rock Lake in Branson. Owned and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), both lakes are known for great camping, fishing, and water recreation, and each has one of the few USACE Class A Regional Visitor Centers in the country.
In regard to Truman Lake, the Harry S. Truman Lake Visitor Center sees over an estimated 50,000 visitors annually, and is a popular place for tourists to view exhibits and learn more about the rich history of the region and the hydroelectric power generated by the Harry S. Truman Dam. Our constituents are very proud of this Visitor Center, and it is a vital part of the region’s recreation-based economies.
Concerningly, the Visitor Center and overall USACE recreation operations have not been a priority for this Administration. In 2020, the Visitor Center closed to the public. Two years later, the residents of Warsaw were informed that the Visitor Center would be reopened on a limited basis due to maintenance and upkeep issues, likely caused by this Administration’s inflationary fiscal policies. Since then, Warsaw’s residents have spent countless hours working with USACE to devise a solution to maintain this place for tourists and residents. However, the Visitor Center still remains only open on a temporary basis.
Furthermore, with EO 14057, this Administration directed the USACE Kansas City and Little Rock Districts to install electric vehicle charging stations and purchase electric trucks for operation at Truman and Table Rock Lakes, with money coming from their operational funds. These funds would normally provide for operations and maintenance for each project, and in the case of Truman Lake, the Visitor Center. We are gravely concerned that this Administration is prioritizing an activist climate agenda over the economic needs of local residents.
It is important that the USACE continues to ensure the critical infrastructure needed in its mission for flood mitigation and hydroelectric power generation at these projects is maintained, as well as maintain recreation as directed by Congress. Furthering an activist climate agenda does little to achieve these goals.
To ensure we may assist our constituents as well as ensure proper oversight, please address the following questions by June 9, 2023:
- How much funding has this Administration diverted from other projects to fund the installation of electric vehicle charging stations and the purchase of electric trucks?
- What data is the Administration relying upon to support the activist agenda implemented by EO 14057 in rural Missouri?
- What local input has this Administration gathered and considered when installing EV charging stations at USACE’s Visitor Centers across the nation?
We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.
United States Senator
Member of Congress
Member of Congress