ST. LOUIS (KTVI)–A Missouri lawmaker wants to put the brakes on a local government’s ability to require businesses to install charging stations for electric vehicle charging stations, as municipal efforts ramp up in anticipation of greater demand.

The city of St. Louis and St. Louis county have already passed ordinances which require businesses, especially with new construction, to include electric vehicle charging stations. Brentwood just passed one last month.

Republican State Rep. Jim Murphy, of St. Louis County has introduced HB 1584, which would require “political subdivisions that require the installation of electric vehicle charging stations at certain businesses to pay the costs associated with the installation, maintenance, and operation of such stations.”

Critics of the move to require the private sector to cover the costs say that the free market should drive the push for charging stations and that even if it is the wave of the future, the demand isn’t here yet. The Missouri Independent reports that Murphy believes “forcing small businesses to install chargers was an unfair and unfunded mandate.”

In a January 12 public hearing in front of the House Transportation Committee, the Sierra Club was among those who spoke in opposition to the proposal. The result of the bill would be to restrict
planning for transportation electrification which would harm our health and economy. Transportation
plays a significant role in Missouri’s economy,” Michael Berg, the Political Director for the Missouri chapter of the Sierra Club said in submitted testimony. “It is the single largest energy use sector in the state and
is a large capital drain on the economic system because Missouri produces no gasoline. In 2019,
statewide expenditures on conventional transportation fuels exceeded $11 billion, the vast majority of
which flowed out of the state. Fueling EVs with electricity generated in-state can reverse this trend.”

The bill was supported in the hearing by the Construction Employers Coalition and the Missouri Petroleum and Convenience Association. The proposal will be back before the committee on January 26.