|Vote no on Missouri HB 1851 was the message. According to Erin Noble, a spokesperson for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, HB 1851 aims to derail investment in clean, renewable energy by designating nuclear power as a 'renewable' source under Prop C. HB 1851 dramatically undermines the intent of the RES [renewable energy standard] and the voters who wished to diversify Missouri's electric grid away from expensive and dirty power and toward clean, underutilized sources, like wind and solar."
Nuclear is not renewable. Nowhere else in the country is "nuclear" included in the definition of "renewable energy."
Fifty per cent more voters passed Proposition C, the Missouri Clean Energy Initiative, via statewide ballot last November 2009. Rep. Jerry Nolte (R-33), the sponsor of HB 1851 has proposed the change to the initiative by adding "including nuclear" to the new law.
The 15% renewable target set by the RES is lower than many of the other 26 states mandating change but a huge improvement for Missouri standards. Prior to its passage Missouri ranked 48th in the country on renewable energy with 85% of the state's electricity coming from coal, 11% from nuclear power and less than .01% from clean, renewable sources.
"Despite the success of RES in other states and voters overwhelming support of it, the Missouri General Assembly failed to pass the RES for eight consecutive years. So, we led a coalition of citizens across the state to gather 160,000 signatures and put the RES on the statewide ballot. And now state legislators are undercutting the efforts of their constituents," said P.J. Wilson of Renew Missouri, a project of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.
The Utilities Committee of the Missouri House of Representatives will hear HB 1851 today (February 16, 2010).