Sen. Jason Bean’s Legislative Column for the Week of Feb. 8, 2021

Expanding Renewable Natural Gas Opportunities in Missouri

This week, I had the pleasure of presenting one of my bills to the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee. Senate Bill 141 gives our state a unique opportunity to take a problematic byproduct of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and turn it into a valuable, renewable energy source.

Currently, all investor-owned and private utilities must obtain authorization from the Public Service Commission (PSC) to make any changes in utility rates. The process allows the PSC to determine if a rate increase is needed, while also requiring the utility companies to justify their request. Senate Bill 141 requires the PSC to adopt rules related to a renewable natural gas program for gas corporations, as well as establish a process for gas companies to recover the costs associated with creating such a program.

Investments that would be considered by the PSC for a rate adjustment include infrastructure that converts methane gas from organic material located in CAFOs and landfills into a usable form of natural gas. By reducing the byproducts from CAFOs and landfills, I believe we have the opportunity to improve the air and water quality surrounding these sites, while also promoting conservative practices in modern agriculture.

Additionally, SB 141 will also:

  • Produce clean energy, renewable natural gas and high-grade liquid fertilizer from the byproducts of the conversion process;
  • Increase the amount of fuel available to U.S. customers, which will provide stability in the U.S. power grid;
  • Provide economic opportunities for facilities to create the infrastructure needed to convert the waste to energy;
  • Increase opportunities for facility owners to diversify income streams, which can also stimulate rural economies; and
  • Give owners of landfills, farms and other facilities who are a good candidate for investment the chance to receive compensation for the use of their land and waste products, as well as high-grade fertilizer they can sell or use on their farm.

With agriculture being our state’s No. 1 industry, I believe we must take the lead in the effort to produce renewable natural gas from the waste produced by CAFOS and landfills. In my opinion, staying up to date on new technology and renewable energy sources will help our state remain competitive in the national and global market, as well as ensure we are doing what is best for our farms and farmers. I look forward to discussing this legislation further with my fellow senators, and I am hopeful this bill will make its way through the legislative process and be sent to the governor’s desk for his consideration.

Senator Jason Bean proudly serves the citizens of Butler, Carter, Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Shannon and Stoddard counties in the Missouri Senate.

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