Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Michigan Senate and the Friday Night (Environmental) Massacre

This just arrived from the Sierra Club of Michigan. The Repubs seem bent on wrecking the environment just as they wrecked Michigan’s economy under Engler. If you live in Senator Cropsey’s district (which includes Isabella County), let him know this is making Michigan a laughing stock in this era of environmental crisis. 

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For more than a year, a bi-partisan group of lawmakers in the House worked to develop legislation to dramatically change energy policy in Michigan. Some elements of the package were good, some were bad. But on balance, most agreed that the House bills would move Michigan forward by requiring investment in the cheapest forms of energy.

The House package wasn’t perfect, but it was a step in the right direction. The bills contained a modest 1% Energy Efficiency savings standard per year, and a requirement that utilities provide 10% renewable energy by 2015 (a combined standard of 15.85% by 2015). Taken together, these policies would provide Michigan with affordable energy and take the first critical steps toward addressing global warming, while creating good-paying jobs.

Although Senate Republicans talk about clean energy and protecting ratepayers, their votes on Friday told a far different story. During the late night Massacre, they rammed through a completely irrelevant package of energy bills, which includes expensive and polluting coal as a renewable resource (no kidding!) and eliminated anything that could be construed as clean energy.

Under the Senate energy bills, Michigan will get more coal-fired power plants, skyrocketing energy costs, more pollution, more global warming, and few (if any) new jobs. Their combined standard for renewable energy and energy efficiency is 7% (Michigan already has almost 5%!) In short, the Senate energy bills are a joke. Whats even more appalling is that no one asked them to change the House bills!

The House bills passed their version of the energy bills with strong bi-partisan support and had the blessing of virtually every major interest group. There was no reason for the Senate to muck up the package. If they can’t improve the House bills, they should pass them intact, so that Michigan doesn’t end up a national laughing stock. 

Its time to let Senate Republicans know that they should lead, follow or get out of the way. Please send an email Senator Cropsey letting him know he got it wrong and needs to try again!
His contact information is: 
senacropsey@senate.michigan.gov, 
phone: 866-305-2133 
fax: (517) 373-8661

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