Governor requires state agencies to reduce energy consumption

Thursday, April 23, 2009 | 11:15 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order Thursday that will require all state agencies to reduce energy consumption in buildings by 2 percent each year for the next 10 years.

Nixon unveiled and signed the order during day two of the first-ever Missouri Energy Summit, stating that, within the first year, it will save Missouri taxpayers more than $1 million.

"As one of the largest employers and energy consumers in the state, Missouri must become a leader in conservation," Nixon told the crowd of about 200 in Jesse Hall auditorium.

Executive order 9-18 will require that any state agency buildingunder the direction of the Office of Administration institute a policy that will reduce energy consumption. Nixon said there are many ways that the reductions could be accomplished and that the agency or agencies in a building will have to come up with their own plan.

Also under the order, all new state construction as well as buildings being constructed for lease by the state, must conform to the most up-to-date efficiency standards. 

In Nixon's address at the summit, he urged the promotion of high-tech jobs that will bring the state to the forefront of energy conservation. To do that, Nixon said  higher education needs to be affordable.

"We need to make sure our work force is trained for these high-tech jobs," Nixon said. "This means higher education needs to be affordable. When students graduate with thousands of dollars of debt, it doesn't push our economy forward."

Just three days ago, Nixon launched a program that will will begin to get people, ages 16-24, involved in leading energy research and development. The state will connect the youth with energy companies for summer internships, paid for by the state. So far Nixon said 2,573 young adults and 355 employers have signed up.

The Missouri Energy Summit has featured many prominent leaders in alternative energy and energy conservation. Wednesday, T. Boone Pickens urged Missourians to help him in his multi-million dollar "Pickens Plan" – an effort to reduce foreign-oil dependency.

"If you don't have a plan to solve our oil problem," Pickens said, "then you are for foreign oil."

The summit will finish up Thursday after several more discussions. Follow the summit on the Missourian's live twitter event feed.

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