March 16, 2016

Sierra Club to lawmakers: Increased clean energy standards can’t wait

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Contact: Jen Flood, Byrum & Fisk Communications, (586) 531-8767

Sierra Club to lawmakers: Increased clean energy standards can’t wait

LANSING—More than 70 members of the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter today traveled from across the state to meet with lawmakers to discuss the future of Michigan’s energy policy.

“We simply cannot wait any longer to pass clean energy policy that builds on the successes of our thriving clean energy sector,” said Mike Berkowitz, legislative and political director of Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.  “Utility companies may spend millions of dollars on corporate lobbyists and television ads, but Sierra Club members today are pushing back and urging legislators to do the right thing and increase our renewable energy and energy efficiency standards.”

The Sierra Club Michigan Chapter has organized more than 400 meetings between citizen activists and lawmakers this session alone. The organization represents more than 80,000 environmentally conscientious citizens across Michigan.

“I’m proud to be a sponsor of legislation to build on the success of our clean energy sector—reducing pollution, creating jobs and launching new businesses in our state,” said State Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D-Taylor), Democratic vice chair of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee. “When it comes to reducing pollution and protecting public health, we can’t afford to wait.”
The Sierra Club has been aggressively urging members of the Michigan House and Senate to increase the renewable energy standard to 30 percent by 2030 and the energy efficiency standard to 2 percent.

“I urge my colleagues to take action on our energy future,” said Rep. Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights). “Increasing our renewable energy and energy efficiency standards will provide much-needed cost savings for Michigan families and businesses. Thanks to advances in technology, the cost of renewable energy has declined drastically over the past five years. Michigan has the highest energy costs in the region and it’s crucial that we manage these costs to grow our economy and create jobs.”

Reports from the Michigan Public Service Commission show that investment in renewable energy has leveled off as the state met its goal of generating 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources.

“The right to breathe clean air should not depend on your income or skin color, which is why our legislators need to act now to increase our clean energy standards,” said Dorthea Thomas, Environmental & Climate Justice Organizer for Michigan United and Sierra Club Executive Committee Member. “Pollution disproportionately affects low-income and communities of color who are much more likely to live close to a power plant.”

“It’s time for Michigan to reduce its over-reliance on burning coal and transition to more renewable energy and energy efficiency to reduce pollution,” said Dave Errickson, R.N. and Sierra Club Central Michigan Group Chair. “Increasing our renewable energy and energy efficiency standards will reduce dangerous pollution and protect the health of Michigan families.”