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MO Advocates Call for Clean Energy Ahead of Pruitt Visit

Advocates say Missouri is lagging behind other states when it comes to solar energy. (sierraclub.org)
Advocates say Missouri is lagging behind other states when it comes to solar energy. (sierraclub.org)
April 18, 2017

MOBERLY, Mo. – Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., are paying a visit to Thomas Hill Energy this week, where they'll be thanked for protecting electricity rates, but advocates say the environment and the health of residents are under threat because of their stance on renewable energy.

Caleb Arthur, chief executive of Sun Solar in Houston, says renewable energy is the future and has many advantages over coal, including saving money for residents and utilities.

"It's got the health benefits where it's not going to pollute over time, and then you've got the jobs creation side, so really every aspect of renewable energy has absolutely really no downside," he said. "It's just opportunity after opportunity."

Arthur says the fate of growth in renewable energy is in state lawmakers' hands, adding net metering in Missouri and across the country is constantly under attack. He also cites House Bill 340, which would implement a tax on solar in Missouri. It was approved by the House and was scheduled to be heard in the Senate, but has been removed from the calendar.

Janet Nuse is a retired pharmacist and a co-op member of Howard Electric. She has solar panels on her home, uses geothermal heat pumps and suffers from asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She says Missouri lags behind other states because about 80 percent of energy is still provided by gas and coal.

"I think there hasn't been any interest in Missouri," she said. "I know some states are making leases available for solar installations on homes and I would like to see that be available more readily in Missouri too."

Nuse says she's concerned that Pruitt, a climate-change denier, is now in charge of protecting air and water for Missourians.

"It just seems so obvious to use the availability of the sun to provide energy instead of causing pollution through fossil fuels," she added.

Pruitt's and Blunt's visit to Missouri is being organized by Associated Electric Cooperative. The company says it wants to thank both lawmakers for protecting electricity rates in Missouri.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MO