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Original article URL: http://bridgemi.com/2012/11/final-arguments-on-proposal-3/
1 November 2012
Proposal 3 would create an amendment to the Michigan Constitution a requirement that 25 percent of the state’s electrical power come from renewable sources by 2025, with certain caveats.
The primary proponent group for Prop 3 is Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs. As of Oct. 26, it had raised nearly $13 million, most of it from out of state environmental groups.
The primary opponent is CARE – Clean Affordable Renewable Energy for Michigan Coalition. As of Oct. 26, it had raised nearly $23 million, almost all of it from the two major utilities – Consumers and DTE.
For full Bridge coverage of Proposal 3 — and the other statewide ballot proposals this year — visit our Ballot Mania page. Advocates were asked to make their case on how to vote on Proposal 3:
No: Prop 3
By Mark Fisk/Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs
On Election Day, Michigan voters have an opportunity to put people back to work in the fast-growing clean energy industry, by voting “yes” on Proposal 3.
More than 30 other states have already adopted measures similar to Proposal 3, including Midwestern states like Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. These states are creating jobs and saving money. In fact, the Illinois Power Agency reported its renewable energy standard reduced electricity prices by $176 million and has sparked “significant job creation.”
Proposal 3 will increase Michigan’s renewable energy standard to 25 percent by 2025, helping us rein in skyrocketing energy costs by reducing our dependence on imported coal and foreign oil.
Just as technological advances have reduced the price of things like flat-screen TVs and computers, they have also brought down the price of renewable energy. A report by the Michigan Public Service Commission found that renewable energy is now $58 per megawatt/hour cheaper than new coal power.
Proposal 3 is about growing Michigan’s economy and putting Michiganders back to work. A wind turbine has 8,000 parts, and all those parts can be built right here in Michigan. Proposal 3 specifically encourages the hiring of Michigan workers and the use of Michigan-made equipment, helping Michigan flex its manufacturing muscle and simultaneously create jobs.
According to economists at Michigan State University, adopting a 25 by 2025 renewable energy standard will create at least 74,000 jobs in operations, maintenance and construction, plus an additional 19,675 manufacturing jobs if Michigan captures 50 percent of the market – a conservative estimate given Michigan’s manufacturing prowess.
That’s 94,000 Michigan jobs that can’t be outsourced.
Proposal 3 also will help us rein in the high cost of energy. More than 30 other states are already moving in this direction without significantly increasing energy prices.
Nearly 60 percent of Michigan’s electricity comes from coal, and all of it imported from other states. In 2011, Michigan ratepayers sent $1.7 billion– and the jobs that go with it – to other states to finance our dependence on coal. The cost of importing coal has gone up 71 percent since 2006, and will only keep increasing. Because transportation accounts for 75 percent of coal import costs, more renewable energy will help us cut back on our consumption of foreign oil.
It’s time to stop exporting our money and jobs to other states and start investing in building Michigan’s clean energy future.
Proposal 3 protects Michigan consumers by explicitly stating utilities cannot raise electricity prices related to the cost of generating renewable energy by any more than 1 percent per year. According to an independent report, Proposal 3 will cost no more than 50 cents a month for the average Michigan household and rates will go down in the long term.
Any modest cost to implement Proposal 3 is overshadowed by the double-digit rate increases Michigan families and businesses are shouldering year after year from the big utility companies that want to continue locking Michigan into outdated and expensive sources of energy like oil and dirty coal.
While rebuilding Michigan’s manufacturing industry and keeping energy costs in check, Proposal 3 also will reduce dangerous coal pollution that harms public health and the health of our Great Lakes, rivers, air and land. Coal emissions contain toxic pollutants that cause serious ailments, from lung cancer and heart diseases to childhood asthma and neurological impairments in infants.
Proposal 3 is important for our economy, which is why a broad bipartisan coalition of supporters that includes hundreds of businesses, health professionals, faith leaders, Democrats and Republicans, labor and conservation groups support it. Michigan’s future depends on a “yes” vote for Proposal 3.
Bridge welcomes guest columns from a diverse range of people on issues relating to Michigan and its future. The views and assertions of these writers do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan.