The St. Louis Board of Aldermen last fall passed a measure aimed at powering the city entirely on renewable energy sources, including wind and power by 2035. The action drew national praise.
It’s an ambitious proposal that faces a lot of roadblocks. St. Louis is home to three major coal companies that haven’t been shy about expressing their opposition.
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by Don Corrigan (Webster-Kirkwood Times)
They argue that burning coal for electricity is reliable and cheap, and renewable sources are not so reliable and not so cheap.
They contend the electricity rates will skyrocket. Of course, it doesn’t help that the Trump Administration has raised the cost of doing business for renewable technologies, while providing subsidies for King Coal.
Environmental regulations on coal, ranging from pollution standards to the safety of coal ash pits, are being stripped away by an agency that’s very name has become a misnomer: Environmental Protection Agency.
Majorities in both the U.S. Congress and the Missouri Legislature are hostile to renewable energy plans. They also are climate change deniers, which means they don’t see the urgency of clean, renewable energy in the first place.
Here in Missouri, the legislature has done nothing to facilitate the Grain Belt Express transmission line which would deliver cheap, renewable wind energy to this state and beyond. Lawmakers quash environmental efforts by local cities, but give tacit approval to a few Missouri counties to dig in their heels to stop progress on the Grain Belt Express in their jurisdictions.
At least one local city has had enough on this score. The City Of Kirkwood has joined a multi-city lawsuit to end the roadblocks being thrown up to stop the Grain Belt Express transmission line. It’s not just about a clean environment, Kirkwood sees the renewable energy line as a way to get millions of dollars in savings for its utility customers.
Experts warn that transmission lines delivering renewable energy may just bypass intractable, backward Missouri. That would harm residents and also stop companies that are looking for clean energy and a clean environment from locating in Missouri.
Entrenched interests, and politicians looking for campaign contributions, have always been a force to stop progress in St. Louis and Missouri. That’s why a lot of young people have thrown up their hands and literally moved on to greener pastures. We all know some of them.
Other big cities have moved past us with better mass transit, better airports, better infrastructure, better energy options, better government operations. And now, clean, renewable energy is on the line. But that transmission line may soon be moving elsewhere. Chalk up another flub for Backward Missouri.