The voters of Missouri collectively decided, in a ballot vote in 2008, to get their state to 15 percent renewable energy by 2021. A law was written in compliance with the vote that specified Missouri’s investor-owned utility companies would need to meet this voter-approved mandate. It was fully enacted by 2010.
But, according to a lawsuit filed Monday by the Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, that law might be a defanged version of its former self, thanks to certain legislators with ties to the corporate lobbying group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
The lawsuit alleges that a group of ten legislators on Missouri’s Joint Committee On Administrative Rules removed two vital paragraphs from the law’s text. Those paragraphs include a passage that “requires the state’s four major investor-owned utilities to invest in renewable power produced either in Missouri or an adjacent state,” according to Midwest Energy News.
It would be no surprise if the committee pushed to strip the law of its power. After all, pushing back renewable energy standards has been one of the main goals of ALEC, and of the ten members of the committee, seven have ties to the organization:
1. Senator Bob Dixon. Dixon is a proud ALEC member. In fact, he lists his role on ALEC’s Criminal Justice Task Force on his campaign website’s biography.
2. Senator Eric Schmitt. According to a report by the Sierra Club, Schmitt has co-sponsored ALEC-backed legislation.
4. Rep. Jay Barnes. Also co-sponsored ALEC legislation.
6. Rep. Todd Richardson. Co-sponsored ALEC legislation.
7. Rep. Mike Colona. Colona was a member of ALEC, but renounced his membership last year, saying the group was “radical and wrong for Missouri.”
ALEC has pushed extensively to repeal or weaken renewable energy standards, most recently in North Carolina. Largely, it has failed in this effort. Of the 13 states where it pushed to get rid of clean energy standards like Missouri’s, it did not successfully push through even one piece of legislation.
But the group isn’t done yet. During its 40th annual meeting earlier this month, ALEC doubled down and pledged to make repealing renewable energy standards a key prong of its future strategy. The organization’s stake in the issue is clear. With backing by the oil billionaire Koch brothers and major coal oil companies, they have a vested interest in keeping renewables out of the market.