November 28, 2012

Clean Energy Advocates Pan Gov. Snyder’s Special Message on Energy and the Environment

Clean energy proponents are calling on Gov. Snyder to not delay another year, and show leadership on energy efficiency and renewable energy

Contact: Jessica Tramontana, jessica@progressmichigan.org, (517) 974-6302

LANSING – The Clean Energy Now (CEN) coalition is criticizing Gov. Rick Snyder for failing to use his Special Message on Energy and the Environment to propose bold and specific goals for increasing energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy like wind and solar power in Michigan.

Although two-thirds of Michiganders strongly support clean energy, according to a statewide poll taken during the election, the Governor fell far short of becoming a champion on this issue, even though doing so would create thousands of new, long-lasting jobs and build a promising new energy economy for the entire state.

“The Governor is neglecting the growing clean energy industries in Michigan,” said Nic Clark of Clean Water Action. “Stronger clean energy and efficiency standards are common sense solutions to the problem of dirty coal plants across our state. We’re calling on the Governor to listen to the people of Michigan and lead the way in clean energy, which can create thousands of jobs and lower utility costs.”

Clean energy advocates have long touted the countless health benefits of moving away from fossil fuels, especially coal, which harm the public and boost health care costs by polluting the air, water and ground with heavy metals and other dangerous contaminants. Michigan residents also strongly support clean energy development and oppose burning more coal, and in recent years have repeatedly asked state officials, including the Governor, to support stronger renewable energy and energy efficiency standards because of their clear economic and environmental advantages.

Advocates say it’s crucial to act on these issues quickly, and for utilities to understand that they can, like so many other utilities elsewhere have, make a profit while producing energy in a far more sustainable manner.

“Governor Snyder says he wants to be proactive on energy issues, but has fallen short of committing to expand our renewable energy standard.  His leadership is desperately needed at this critical juncture if Michigan is to move ahead,” said Anne Woiwode of the Michigan Sierra Club. “While we welcome his recognition that coal is bad for Michigan and that energy efficiency is critical, the Governor has called for talk and not action. The debate over clean energy has been underway for more than six years in Michigan and it is clear that renewable energy is best for Michigan’s economy because it creates jobs and cleans up our precious natural resources.  We were disappointed the Governor did not say that, but instead criticized clean air standards that will help protect our health and environment.”

The governor today did call for Michigan to have a dialogue and use the legislative process to increase renewable energy development. While clean energy advocates have always welcomed such a dialogue, they also believe that it’s up to the Governor to lead on the issue. That is why they are urging him to propose new renewables and efficiency standards now, not in another year.  

Given that an election day poll showed that 73% of Michigan voters support more renewable energy in Michigan, his proposal would likely get a very warm reception from Michiganders.

“We urge the Governor to make his actions speak louder than his words today,” said Jim Dulzo of The Michigan Land Use Institute. “The governor has a golden opportunity to make Michigan a leader in clean energy, but he’s not yet taken it. By utilizing low cost energy efficiency and wind and solar power, we can create a more prosperous, cleaner and better Michigan. Since he’s invited a statewide conversation on next steps for the state’s energy systems, we will work very hard to convince him those should be bold steps--the kind that strong leaders take.”

Members of Clean Energy Now are asking Michigan residents to sign the petition below, and send a message to Gov. Snyder that he’s taking Michigan in the wrong direction with his energy policies. The petition asks the Governor to take a strong leadership stance on clean energy, and move the state in that direction as quickly as possible.

The petition can be found at: www.cleanenergynowmi.org/take-action/

The audio from a telepresser held this afternoon can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1ljrmalom24y4ag/CEN%20telepresser.m4a