A proposal requiring that 25 percent of Michigan’s energy come from renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass by 2025 will be on the November 6 ballot this year, as Proposal 3. We believe that this gives Michigan voters the chance to create a positive energy future for the state.
Jan Wright, chair of our Climate Change and Earth CareTask Force, explains why we should vote yes for Proposal 3:
Why Adopt Proposal 3? The proposal would:
- Protect public health and our Great Lakes – Right now, Michigan gets almost 60% of its electricity from coal-burning power plants, a notoriously dirty source of power, while under 4% comes from renewables. Using more wind and solar energy and less coal will protect our air and water and will cut down on asthma and lung disease, ultimately saving lives.
- Create tens of thousands of jobs – This ballot proposal is expected to create at least seventy-four thousand new jobs as we build, maintain and service the equipment needed to produce renewable energy in our own state, according to a recent study from Michigan State University. This could increase to as much as 94,000, to the extent we build the components in Michigan.
- Rein in long-term energy prices for Michigan consumers and businesses – The proposal limits any rate increases related to complying with this standard to 1% per year, to protect individual consumers and businesses. Studies by independent economists predict that it would cost the average Michigan household an average of $1.25 a month, and in the long run could reduce our energy bills as the cost of conventional fuels rises.
- Cut our carbon emissions, helping to slow climate change – Our over-use of fossil fuels is already producing signs of climate disruption. Coal, the current source of most of our electricity is at the top of the list in producing carbon emissions. Natural gas, although cleaner, is still too carbon-intensive to be sustainable. If our utilities are required to move toward a goal of providing 25% of our electricity from renewables by 2025, it will cut our carbon emissions substantially.
Why should this go into the Michigan Constitution? This is a valid question. It is problematic when special interests, whether from the Left or the Right, use the constitution to enshrine their particular interests. However, the Constitution should reflect what we in Michigan value and hold important. Proposal 3 is non-partisan and broadly supported by wide segments of the population–constituencies that don’t often work together. Pro-business free marketers are cooperating with environmentalists and progressives to pass this initiative. 25 x 2025 is a goal, not legislation. It will not dictate how utilities will reach that goal and it gives plenty of room for the legislature to create policy.
How does our faith relate to this issue? As people of faith, we are taught to care for all people and for the earth we share. We are concerned about those whose health is jeopardized by pollution, about those who are unable to find jobs, and about the damage being done to our planet. Each voter should learn about Proposal 3 and make up his or her own mind, of course, but we believe that passing this renewable energy initiative is one significant way to speak to each of these concerns.
Is it realistic? More than 30 states, including Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa, already have adopted renewable energy standards (RES) similar to Michigan’s proposal. Both Iowa and South Dakota are already getting over 20% of their energy from renewable sources. The more than 30 states that have adopted measures similar to this obviously believe that using renewables in much greater proportions is realistic and are on their way to proving it. Will Michigan join them?
Answers to questions about Proposal 3 Download these answers for your newsletter or bulletin.
For more information on the proposal, visit www.MIenergyMIjobs.com
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