Proposal for state energy advisory panel rejected

? A proposal by Rep. Tom Sloan to establish a high-powered energy advisory panel has gone down to defeat.

But Sloan said he would continue pushing for establishment of the Energy Policy Advisory Group to develop a state energy plan.

“The legislative session isn’t over,” said Sloan, R-Lawrence.

But his proposal got roughed up in the House last week, failing on a 61-64 vote.

House Speaker Doug Mays, R-Topeka, who voted against the measure, said he felt it went too far.

“What I heard more than anything was, is that what we need, another bureaucracy?” Mays said.

Other members also opposed the $250,000 annual cost to set up the group, which would include an executive director, two researchers and a clerical position.

The 15-member advisory group would have been appointed by the governor and included representatives of energy businesses and energy experts. It also would include 12 nonvoting members.

Sloan said the proposed group was crucial to help the state plan.

“Even more than education, the future of the state and its people will rely on water and energy supplies,” he said.