Governor Nixon and a consortium of Missouri utilities have once again let the nuclear genie out of its bottle, announcing their intent to build a second nuclear power plant in Callaway County and to pursue state legislation that will enable utilities to charge customers for the costs of obtaining the site permit for the plant.
Proponents claim that a new nuclear plant would be a boon for Missouri's economy. But the irony is that the Missouri's renewable energy standard — the primary vehicle for getting real clean energy jobs in Missouri and setting us on the right path for tackling global warming — is now at risk of being gutted in the state legislature.
In 2008, two-thirds of Missourians approved the Missouri Renewable Energy Standard at the ballot. The standard requires utilities to get 15 percent of their energy from clean energy sources such as solar and wind by 2021. The standard is projected to create over 9,500 jobs and stimulate $2.86 billion in economic activity in Missouri.
In July a state legislative committee called the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) removed a key provision that would require the renewable energy from the standard to come from Missouri, opening the door for utilities to instead buy renewable energy credits from other states or producers around the globe. If the JCAR decision passes the legislature in January, it will cost Missouri clean energy jobs and overturn the will of Missouri voters.
Instead of getting bogged down with yet another attempt in the legislature to make Missourians bear the financial and environmental risks of nuclear power, our lawmakers can restore our clean energy jobs by voting against the JCAR amendments in January.
Ted Mathys is an advocate for Environment Missouri, statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization.