JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington, presented SB 142 today, requiring the Department of Natural Resources to prepare a regulatory impact report when submitting a state implementation plan to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.)
The bill requires the report to be given to the Governor, President Pro Tem of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House, as well as posted on the Department’s website, before the EPA. The report must include all economic impacts that the plan will have on businesses and citizens in the state, the options provided to achieve reduction goals, and a cost-benefit analysis of how the plan affects the economic well-being of the state.
“We want to be factual,” said Romine. “We’re not trying to destroy the environment to save a few dollars.”
All three organizations that testified against SB142 had a problem with its language. The bill requires “any job losses that are anticipated as a result of the plan” to be reported. However, multiple organizations, including the Sierra Club, provided proof that jobs were already being created from alternative energy sources.
Vaughn Prost, owner of Missouri Solar Applications, explained that the solar industry in Missouri has created over 3,700 jobs as well as 3,900 energy efficiency jobs, which according to him far outweigh the number of jobs in coal power plants. These organizations would like to see more balanced language in the legislation by either requiring “job impact” or “job loss and creation” to be reported.
Jay Atkins, lobbyist for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce testified in support of the bill. He was pleased with how the legislation holds the agency to their duty of fully submitting any state implementation plan on month prior to submitting it to the EPA, where it can affect Missouri citizens. Ameren also testified in support of the legislation, and said they would be open to a shorter timeline, less than a month, to file the report to the state.
“Missourians know what is best for Missourians,” said Atkins.
Missouri is a top ten state in avoiding premature deaths related to coal and other fossil fuels, and the state is in the lead with how many lives it can save with clean energy, according to attorney Andrew Linhares, representing Clean Air Missouri.
“We’re poised to really take off in the solar and wind sector here in Missouri,” said Linhares.