Lawmakers Prepare for Energy Buildup
"Missouri is on the verge of a major energy crisis," warned Jeff Davis, chairman of the Energy Task Force.
The task force will try to determine how the state can avoid that crisis.
"Well, the governor formed this task force to look at the long-term energy needs of this state, to ensure the consumers have reliable and affordable electricity well into the future," added Davis, "to also look into the afforability issue. We have record-high winter heating bills this year."
At their first meeting on Tuesday, task force members agreed to ask the Missouri House and Senate to pass a resolution quickly to provide $6 million in emergency funds to help the state's low-income families pay their heating bills this winter. That money will be enough to help as many as 13,000 Missouri families pay their bills.
The task force also announced it will start looking into other energy options.
"I think the energy opportunities we have now are a great opportunity for both rural and urban Missouri to work together to solve separate but common problems," said state Sen. Michael Gibbons, a task force member.
According to the Public Service Commission, Missouri could slip into an energy shortage as early as next year if the state doesn't add energy generators or buy more power contracts from out of state. The PSC says Missouri residents will spend almost $12 billion to import fossil fuels for energy this year.
The Energy Task Force has seven members, and Gov. Blunt still has to appoint two more. So far, the Republican governor has not appointed any Democrats to the task force.