Goodbye Coal: Fossil Fuel Hub St. Louis Votes For Clean Energy
AP Photo/ Branden CampUS03:18 29.10.2017(updated 03:27 29.10.2017) Get short URL217521
In a snub to the US president, St. Louis joins a growing list of cities, communities and entities committing to sustainable energy.
In another blow to the about-face toward coal-fired energy production by the administration of US President Donald Trump, the city of St. Louis, Missouri, long a stalwart coal consumer, has voted to switch to sustainable energy sources by 2035, joining many cities and municipalities that have already committed themselves to the move.
The 47th US city to make the switch to clean power cast its vote in a Friday session with local lawmakers — a notable shift in a region with deep ties to the rapidly shrinking coal industry.
The unanimous vote by the city’s board of aldermen indicates the promise to transition to wind, solar, and other sustainable energy sources by the year 2035, according to NBCnews.com.
City lawmakers committed to drawing up a plan by December 2018 on what methods would be used to reach that goal.
The drive to achieve a 100-percent clean-energy power grid in dense urban environments is now shared by many areas in the US that are moving toward the development of non-fossil-fuel energy sources.
St. Louis, however, currently meets an overwhelming 95 percent of its power needs from utilities that burn coal, oil, and natural gas. What’s more, the city gets some 20 percent of that block from a nuclear plant.
The midwestern US city is also the corporate base of several of the country’s largest coal companies, including the two biggest: Peabody Energy and Arch Coal.
Peabody and Arch, both headquartered in St. Louis, have not responded to requests from NBC News for comment on the clean energy vote.
The shape of energy production in the US has altered radically as total coal employment figures for the nation currently top out at some 50,000 workers, while solar power development has been seen to go through the roof, currently employing an estimated 375,000 workers, at a minimum, and growing each year.
The Trump White House has made the reintroduction of coal a taking point in his energy policy comments — alongside alluding to climate change as ‘fake news’ — but while much is said, the real action is taking place in those areas seeking to move beyond what is now considered an inefficient and outmoded form of energy production.
“On the national level, the Trump administration is having these disturbing conversations about global warming being fake news,” said Lewis E. Reed, president of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, cited by NBCnews.com.
“But it’s not fake,” Reed stated, adding, “So it’s going to cause cities, including ours, to pick up the reins and make up for the shortfall of action by the federal government.”
While the St Louis aldermen do not have the legal authority to force residents and business to seek out clean energy sources, major employers in the city, including Anheuser Busch and Nestle Purina, have realized the profit potential of renewable energy investment by committing to the goal of 100-percent clean power.
Several cities, including bustling Las Vegas, Nevada, power all city infrastructure with renewable energy sources.