March 13, 2015

Citizens Groups Call for More Action, Less Lip Service from Gov. Snyder

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Clean Energy Now
March 13, 2015
Contact: Marissa Luna, 989-798-3051, marissa@engagemichigan.org
Citizens Groups Call for More Action, Less Lip Service from Gov. Snyder
Governor must set specific renewable energy, energy efficiency policies
WARREN – Today, Governor Rick Snyder presented his Special Message on Energy, outlining his vision for Michigan’s energy future over the next 10 years. He highlighted the need to reduce utilities over reliance on coal, increase utilities use of renewable energy, and reduce energy waste as the best way to protect public health and preserve Michigan’s Great Lakes and environment, but did not put forward any specific policy suggestions.

“Governor Snyder needs to set clear and measurable energy standards to make the potential goals that he outlined in his energy message actually happen. For over two years now, the governor has talked about his energy framework for Michigan. Now is the time for action,” said Mike Berkowitz, legislative & political director for the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter. “The reason utilities generate 9 percent of their energy from renewable sources is because of the laws passed in 2008 requiring it. We need a Renewable Energy Standard and Energy Optimization Standard in order to ensure that utilities continue decreasing energy waste and increasing clean energy generation. We didn’t get that from the governor today.”

Michigan’s current renewable energy standard requires that utilities generate 10 percent of their energy from renewable sources by the end of the year — a target that utilities are on track to meet at a lower cost than initially projected. A study released this year by the University of Michigan’s Energy Institute found that utilities are capable of reaching a 40 percent renewable energy standard by 2035.

Additionally, many of Michigan’s old, expensive and obsolete coal-fired power plants are reaching, or have already reached, the end of their life spans and will soon need to close down.

Michigan is at a crossroads and we have a moral obligation to choose the path that protects our children and future generations from the danger and cost of environmental destruction,” said Alexis Blizman, policy director for the Ecology Center. “Our elected leaders have a choice: protect our clean air and drinking water, or allow destructive industries to sacrifice our health and our kids’ future.”

On March 3, Michigan House and Senate Democrats voiced support for increasing the state's renewable energy standard to 20 percent by 2022. Two days later, Rep. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) introduced an eight-bill package that would corrupt Michigan’s renewable energy standard by classifying burning hazardous waste as renewable energy and repeal the state’s energy optimization standards for both electric and natural gas utilities.

Clearly, Governor Snyder now needs to lay out clear and defined goals. Today, as with the last three years, the governor’s speech had a lot of rhetoric but no substance,” said Eric Keller, campaigns director for Michigan Clean Water Action. “What we need is for the Governor and our elected officials to lead the way. This means first being leaders themselves and going beyond rhetoric and the bare minimum.”
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Clean Energy Now is a coalition of groups that supports policies that will move Michigan beyond coal power and toward greater use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency as a way to protect public health, the environment, and build prosperity. Follow the campaign at CleanEnergyNowMI.org.