Michigan Politicians Attempt to Derail Efficiency and Clean Energy

politicians
Gita Subramony for Zondits, March 19, 2015

Last year, Michigan policy-makers proposed questionable changes to the state’s definition of clean energy; a house bill attempted to expand clean energy to include the burning of waste material and garbage in order to meet the state’s clean energy goals. State representative Aric Nesbitt, who proposed the initial changes, is continuing to pursue these damaging policies. In addition to including the burning of toxic scraps as “clean” energy, Nesbitt wants to freeze the percentage of electricity derived from clean energy sources at 10%, a goal that the state is set to reach by the end of 2015. Nesbitt’s legislation also proposes a repeal of energy efficiency rules that require utilities to provide energy efficiency programs that reduce energy use by at least 1% each year.

Renewable and energy efficiency industry jobs have helped Michigan create more opportunity for the state’s workforce. Additionally, energy efficiency proves itself to be far less costly and far less environmentally damaging than building new power plants. Not surprisingly, Nesbitt is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group funded by the Koch Brothers which drafts model bills that support the interests of big coal. ALEC’s influence in derailing efficiency and renewable standards was recently at play in states like Ohio and Indiana.

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Michigan’s Energy Policies Are Working. Michiganders Want More Clean Energy. Let’s Do the Opposite ~ Rep. Aric Nesbitt

NRDC Switchboard, March 10, 2015

Rep. Aric Nesbitt’s new legislation is “renewable energy”! You’d know that this is not a compliment if, like Rep. Nesbitt, chair of the Michigan House Energy Policy Committee, you had sponsored legislation last week that would redefine a heap of garbage as a “renewable energy source.”

Here’s what Rep. Nesbitt is proposing:

  • Rep. Nesbitt’s legislation redefines “renewable energy source” to include the burning of garbage, including such things as scrap tires. Michigan’s current law defines “renewable energy source” to only include such things as wind, solar, hydro, and biomass (i.e. “actual renewable energy”).
  • Rep. Nesbitt’s legislation inhibits further development of “actual renewable energy.” Under current law, Michigan set a renewable energy target. Specifically, utilities are required to ramp up the percentage of electricity derived from renewable energy sources to 10% by the end of 2015. Rep. Nesbitt’s legislation would halt further development of renewable energy at 10%.
  • Rep. Nesbitt’s legislation repeals Michigan’s energy efficiency laws. Under current law, utilities are required to design programs to reduce energy use by 1% annually.
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