- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has pushed back the deadline to craft a comprehensive statewide energy plan by a few months, easing the concerns of one Republican lawmaker who said the Legislature needed to have more input.

“He recognizes now that we have to have input, that we’re an important voice that needs to be heard for a good plan,” Rep. Rocky Miller, R-Tuscumbia, said Tuesday.

Miller introduced a measure this session that would have required any state energy plan to gain legislative approval before it could be implemented. Miller said he won’t be pushing that measure next year after Nixon on Friday extended the deadline for the plan from May 31 to October 15.

“Allowing the Division of Energy more time to gather input from Missourians and engage in thoughtful discussions with stakeholders, legislators and other interested parties will result in the development of a stronger State Energy Plan,” Nixon said in a statement.

The governor appointed a group including consumers, businesses, utilities, energy companies, academics, local governments and environmentalists when he issued an executive order last year directing the division to craft a state energy plan.

The Division of Energy has held public meetings and working groups to provide input on the plan, which Nixon wants to evaluate existing energy resources and develop strategies to address future needs - including electric generation from coal, natural gas and renewable sources; storage and distribution; and energy security and pricing.

Nixon said the plan will help guide the state in meeting future energy needs and encouraging economic development related to energy. Miller agrees that the state needs a plan to help attract businesses because site locators often ask to see one to “make sure we’re not just flying by the seat of our pants, because that’s scary for an industry coming in.”

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