Bay County and Saginaw County officials continue campaign against ’25 by 25′ renewable energy mandate
BANGOR TOWNSHIP, MI – A group of local officials gathered to speak out against a ballot initiative that would amend Michigan’s Constitution to require utilities to derive 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2025.
Local and county officials discussed the ballot proposal at a CARE, Clean Affordable Renewable Energy, press conference in Bangor Township.
State Rep. Charles Brunner, D-Bay City, started the conversation at 11 a.m. Brunner said one reason he is against Proposal 3 is that it “takes the discussion away.”
“We want to be environmentally sound and we want to reduce our foreign reliance on oil, but we need to have the discussion,” Brunner said. “We need to have facts and figures rather than an arbitrary goal that is based on feelings.”
Bill Renn, Chandler Township supervisor and Michigan Townships Association president, said that townships do not want to lose their control over where wind turbines are located.
“As we understand it, Michigan would be handcuffed by a constitutional amendment that could prempt local ordinances and would pave the way for the siting of wind turbines in communities who may or may not wan these structures located in their neck of the woods.,” Renn said. “There are 1,240 townships across the state, and if a wind turbine is going to be placed in the state, it will be in a township.”
General Manager of Thumb Electric Cooperative Dallas Braun said that other states have aggressive renewable standards, but the difference is that those standards are not embedded in the constitution.
“Renewable energy is predominantly wind and solar energy,” Braun said. “That means energy is only produced when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining.”
Others who spoke during the roundtable discussion included Bay City Commission President Larry Elliott, Bay County Commissioner Tom Ryder, former Mayor of the City of Saginaw Joyce Seals and Huron County Director of Planning, Building and Zoning Jeff Smith.
Michigan utilities currently have until 2015 to meet the Legislature-imposed deadline to produce 10% of the state’s electricity from renewable resources such as wind and solar.
Opponents argue that the ballot proposal is short-sighted and would ultimately cost Michigan residents $12 billion. Michigan would be the first state to put this requirement in its constitution.
Those who support the proposal say that it will create thousands of jobs and cost the avergae household about $1.25 per month.
Proposal 3 Ballot Language
This proposal would:
• Require electric utilities to provide at least 25% of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable energy sources, which are wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower, by 2025.
•Limit to not more than 1% per year electric utility rate increases charged to consumers only to achieve compliance with the renewable energy standard.
•Allow annual extensions of the deadline to meet the 25% standard in order to prevent rate increases over the 1% limit.
•Require the legislature to enact additional laws to encourage the use of Michigan made equipment and employment of Michigan residents.
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