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Job growth in Missouri used to promote Obama's clean energy plan

(Jerry W. Lewis' Flickr page)

Missouri has the highest growth rate in the Midwest when it comes to creating clean energy jobs – so says a new survey released Tuesday by a group of clean energy advocates.

And a coalition of advocates, consisting of the Missouri Energy Initiative (MEI), Clean Energy Trust (CET), and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), is pushing for the Show-Me State to adopt President Barack Obama's Clean Energy Plan.

The survey says that more than 52,000 people in Missouri work in that sector, with nearly half of them in the St. Louis area. Gail Parson, E2's Midwest advocate, told reporters during a conference call that says adopting the president's Clean Power Plan would further aid business owners.

"Businesses surveyed in this report ... look to the Clean Power Plan as the mother of all market signals," Parson said. "This will provide consistency that the state is going to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency."

Zach Tucker is with the One3LED, a lighting company in Chesterfield.

"We have all of these benefits of clean energy and energy efficiency out there just waiting to be implemented on a larger scale," he said. "Policies like the Clean Power Plan are the steps that are going to help propel these technologies into businesses and homes around the world, and not only save people money and strengthen economies, but to also help our environment."

The plan requires power plants to reduce carbon emissions. It's on hold due to a federal court ruling.

There is strong opposition from Republican lawmakers, citing that 80 percent of Missouri's electrical power comes from coal.

"Going to clean energy and going to things that have less emissions is a great idea, however, it will be very expensive," said state Rep. Rocky Miller, R-Osage Beach. "(The conference call participants) have (probably) not talked about the possible doubling of our electric rates if that does happen."

Miller and other Republican lawmakers are backing legislation that would bar the state from implementing guidelines from Obama's clean energy plan while it's being delayed in federal court.

The U.S. Supreme Court in February delayed implementation of the plan in a 5-4 decision after several states filed suit last year against the Environments Protection Agency.

Missouri joined the lawsuit in October. Attorney general Chris Koster, a Democrat, said that while "cleaner energy production is an important goal," the EPA's compliance schedule is "economically risky" and would cost the state its "competitive advantage" with electric rates.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.