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Renewable energy standards don’t belong in state constitution, opponents say  

Credit:  By Charles Crumm | The Oakland Press | www.theoaklandpress.com 22 August 2012 ~~

Development of renewable energy is a worthy goal but it shouldn’t be etched into Michigan’s state constitution, says a group opposing a Nov. 6 ballot proposal for a 25 percent renewable energy standard by the year 2025.

CARE, the acronym for Clean Affordable Renewable Energy, says the state constitution is a document that serves as a framework for basic rights, not a place for detailed energy policies.

“We support renewable energy but we are organized to oppose the constitutional amendment, which would lock into the state constitution a 25 percent renewable standard by the year 2025,” said Ken Sikkema of Public Sector Consultants, who is opposing the ballot proposal with CARE.

“Particularly on energy policy, it is absolutely critical to have flexibility to respond to changing circumstances over time,” says Sikkema, a former Michigan Republican Senate majority leader, who met with The Oakland Press editorial board Tuesday.

Sikkema and others argue there is already a renewable energy standard of 10 percent, established by the state Legislature, that the state must meet by 2015.

Among the criticisms of the ballot proposal is that it includes wind, solar, biomass and hydro energy but excludes geothermal, waste to energy, and simple energy efficiency measures.

Michael D. Johnston, vice president of corporate affairs for the Michigan Manufacturer’s Association, says ballot proposal will drive up energy costs for manufacturers, which are leading Michigan’s slow economic recovery.

“This will chase jobs out of Michigan,” Johnston said.

Supporters of the ballot proposal say Michigan is an energy importer and that the higher standards will create a clean energy industry within Michigan.

Both supporters and detractors say 30 states have renewable energy standards, but Sikkema says only Michigan is attempting to adopt higher standards by amending the state constitution.

The renewable energy proposal is one of three that – so far – will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Others cleared to appear include one to repeal Public Act 4, which gave more powers to state-appointed emergency managers, and another to require training of home care providers.

Source:  By Charles Crumm | The Oakland Press | www.theoaklandpress.com 22 August 2012

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