Missouri's Robin Carnahan asked to refrain from writing proposed renewable energy initiative language (Updated)

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December 20, 2011

By Bailey Ludlam


JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri: Advocates of a renewable energy initiative for the 2012 ballot have filed their proposal with the Missouri Secretary of State's office. However, unlike other proposals, this one asks for the initiative language to be written by somebody other than Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

Rep. Jay Barnes has asked that Carnahan recuse herself from writing the initiative language because her brother is an investory in wind energy production. "This renewable energy mandate would have a direct and incredibly lucrative impact on hundreds of millions of dollars of investment by a close family member of Robin Carnahan. If Robin Carnahan values fair government, she will immediately recuse herself and her office completely from this petition process," said Barnes. Carnahan's spokesperson said the request would be taken under consideration.

Initially, the proposal was filed in October 2011 but was later withdrawn "because of technical problems in how it was drafted." A second proposal was submitted in early December 2011. The proposal, according to news reports, would maintain the same renewable energy targets as the initial proposal but would also give the state Office of Public Counsel the authority to monitor enforcement of the new standards.[1]

The measure would require renewables to be used for 5 percent by 2014, 10 percent by 2017, 15 percent by 2020, 20 percent by 2023 and 25 percent of electricity by 2026.[2][3]

Since its approval in 2008, Missouri Proposition C, Clean Energy Initiative has faced several road blocks and challenges. Among the issues is "whether electricity from renewable energy sources needs to be produced or sold in Missouri and the specifics of how to apply the 1 percent cap in rates."[4]

Updated (12/28/11): In response to the request, Carnahan wrote in a letter to Barnes,"I strongly disagree with your suggestion of a conflict." According to reports, Carnahan sought advice from the Missouri Attorney General's office which stated that the secretary of state does not have the authority to ask an official from another state agency to write the ballot summary. The attorney general office's general counsel, Ronald Holliger stated in a letter that Carnahan does not have a conflict of interest in regard to the proposed measure.[5]

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