Seventy-two lawmakers (some of them being strong, clean energy supporters) have united behind dirty, expensive coal. Why? This is the question that needs to be asked of the legislators who signed a letter to Governor Granholm on March 19.
The letter, written by House Speaker Andy Dillon and Minority Leader Kevin
Elsenheimer, urges Granholm to allow the construction of one or more coal-fired power plants
in Michigan – despite the fact that coal-fired power plants are unneeded, extremely expensive,
add to global warming pollution and fail to create sustainable, long-term jobs. In other words,
coal plants are a waste of our money. Yet more than half of the members of the House of
Representatives seem to want to do just that – to allow our scarce financial resources to go up in
In her State of the State address, governor Granholm announced a critically important executive
order to protect Michigan citizens from expensive and unnecessary energy costs. Executive
Order 2009-2 requires all proposals for dirty coal-fired power plants, to be re-analyzed to first
prove there is a need for the power, and then to prove there are not any cleaner, cheaper and
better alternatives to meet that need. This ensures that Michigan citizens get the best deal for
their energy dollar. Without this requirement, companies like Consumers Energy could
dramatically increase residential ratepayers’ electric bills to pay for dirty, unneeded power -- and
we'll have no choice but to pay for it.
Granholm’s action is in alignment with a package of energy bills passed by the legislature last
year affecting Michigan’s two major utilities, DTE and Consumers Energy. The legislation
ensures that proposed energy investments are needed, cost-effective, adequately protect the
environment and create the most jobs. Her executive order imposes the same requirement on
other energy providers like Lansing Board of Water and Light, Holland Board of Public Works,
Wolverine Power Cooperative and others.
The executive order helps ensure that we invest first in clean, alternative energy such as wind,
solar and energy efficiency – which create far more jobs, dramatically reduces financial risk and
costs, and doesn’t pollute. And not building new, dirty coal plants will keep jobs here in
Michigan, instead of shipping trainloads of money to mining companies to buy coal for these
However, the letter signed by the 72 House members urges Governor Granholm to rescind her
order and allow the permitting and construction of coal-fired power plants. Four coal plants are
currently waiting in line for permission to be constructed and then pollute.
Lawmakers who signed the letter need to be asked “WHY?”