Missourians gathered at the state capitol to celebrate Earth Day and the creation of a new coalition.

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JEFFERSON CITY - Missourians met today in the Capitol to celebrate both Earth Day and the beginning of the Missouri Clean Energy Coalition (MCEC).

The coalition is pushing for Missouri to transition from reliance on fossil fuels to different forms of clean energy, specifically wind and solar.

The coalition comprises various organizations from around the state, including the Missouri Sierra Club, Renew Missouri and Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

Some of MCEC's goals include:

  • Making energy conservation and efficiency a priority
  • Shift from jobs dependent on fossil fuels
  • Secure a clean energy economy

Dr. John Kissel, a member of the Sierra Club, said today's rally aimed to push for movement toward a cleaner Missouri.

"This was an effort to organize people so that we can get some action on what is clearly the will of the people of Missouri," Kissel said. "We want to reduce green house gasses and to increase the use of renewable energy."

According to Kissel, the state relies too much on the use of fossil fuels, hitting a number above the national average.

"Missouri generates 80 percent of its electricity by burning coal," Kissel said. "The figure for the nation as a whole is 40 percent. We would like to see Missouri move in the direction of the rest of the country."

As a retired physician, Kissel said he is very concerned about the health effects of burning coal as a source for energy.

"We have people dying every year any many people being hospitalized and illnesses because of pollution from coal," Kissel said.

He said he is anxious about Missouri transitioning to cleaner energy in the near future.

"I think the Missouri House is dominated by people who seem to be more interested in what other lobbyists have to say about energy than they are about the health and welfare of the people," Kissel said.