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Last night my son scrambled over to me all wide eyed and urgent "Dad! DAD!! The TV had a commercial that was saying bad things about Proposal 3!!!!" (Proposal 3, for those who aren't aware, is the ballot initiative to increase Michigan's use of renewable energy - Wind, Solar, and Biomass - to 25% by 2025. And it's something I Very Much Support. I support Proposal 3)

Kids these days, eh? Between Netflix, YouTube, and Dinosaur Train on PBS I don't think they're getting a healthy desensitization to commercials like I did when I was a kid.

But then again maybe none of us is fully desensitized. Some folks are alarmed at the 30 second TV spots with the spooky voices and predictions of doom about renewable energy. Opponents scream catastrophe to try to scare Michiganders away from what we instinctually know to be good for Michigan. We know renewable energy is putting Michigan to work. Many of us know folks working in the industry. We KNOW it's cleaner. We know it's affordable. We KNOW most of America is already ahead of us.

We know that.

We also know that it's good to just cut through the crap. Forget the commercials. Both of Michigan's major utilities each spent 11 million bucks to kill Prop 3. Forget what they're saying, look at the real world and what we know.

For example...We know that most US states are already way ahead of Michigan in the Renewable Energy race, and they're doing fine compared to Michigan. Here's a short list of just a few US states that either have more renewable energy than Michigan or a higher renewable energy standard:

Iowa
Texas
Oregon
Colorado
Washington
New Mexico
Arizona
Montana
North Dakota
South Dakota
Nebraska
Kansas
Wisconsin
Illinois
Indiana
Ohio
Virginia
West Virginia
Maine
Minnesota
 Okalhoma
Missouri
North Carolina
Hawaii
Pennsylvania
New York
Vermont
Maryland
New Jersey
Idaho

There's more, but why belabor the point? Right? We KNOW the notion that renewable energy will cause dramatic problems is simply made up. It doesn't happen. Made up. Michigan has the 9th highest electricity costs in America, and is among the lowest adopters of renewable energy. Which is strange because...

We know renewable energy is putting people in Michigan to work and sparking new businesses

Energetx, Astraeus, Dokka Fasteners, L3 Communications, Burke E. Porter Machinery, Great Lakes Heavy Haul, Four Elements Energy, Mart Dock in Muskegon...these are all businesses in Michigan working in the renewable energy sector. Putting Michigan to WORK in the renewable energy sector. I've spoken to steel workers, electricians, crane operators, truckers, home installation folks, all working on renewable energy projects. And what about Michigan farmers whose crops were devastated this year by horrible weather? Some with land lease agreements from wind farm projects were able to make it through another year, save their farm.

Renewable energy puts Michigan to work.

We know the status quo is making Michigan's electricity costs uncompetitive

Even as utilities scream made up statistics about price hikes from renewable energy, those same utilities are raising Michigan's power rates by DOUBLE DIGITS year after year after year based on the rising cost of coal. DTE raised their rates by 14% recently, and cited the rising cost of shipping and diesel as the reason. Consumer's Energy just raised their rates by about the same citing maintenance to Michigan's power plants....the SECOND OLDEST IN AMERICA.

The status quo is killing our businesses. Taking money from our families pockets. The cost of renewable energy is falling, while the cost of coal is rising. And worse, Michigan gets 60% of its power from coal, and imports 100% of it. We have to ship 35 million tons of it 1000 miles into our state year after year as the cost of diesel climbs. We can't afford that.

We KNOW renewable energy is good for Michigan. So the opposition has a fallback argument.

So the opposition's fallback argument, when dozens of successful examples in the US are presented, when real renewable energy jobs are presented? The fall back option is to quibble about legislative process.

Opponents don't want the Michigan People to decide this issue, suggesting it shouldn't be in the Michigan constitution...as they hope and pray people hear the word Constitution and think US Constitution instead of MICHIGAN constitution -- which was re-written in 1963 and has been amended 32 times since them. Not the same thing.

"Let congress decide this for you!" the opponents to Prop 3 suggest, knowing full well they have far more sway over Congress than you do. Or I do.

There's no free-market way for Michigan citizens to move toward the cleaner, cheaper, Michigan made power source: renewable energy. Our utilities are monopolies. And there's no legislative pathway to more Michigan made energy, because the utilities hold huge sway over our congress.

Fortunately, the Michigan constitution has a way for Michigan citizens to act.  Michigan citizens have a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to create the laws that serve Michigan best. Laws that put Michigan to work, create clean energy, help us COMPETE for jobs, innovative businesses and a new industry.

Michigan's past Governor Milliken recently said "There are times when the public is better served when important matters of public policy are protected within our Constitutional framework....I think the opportunity of renewable energy in Michigan is important enough that the 25% renewable policy should have the long-term certainty of Constitutional protection."

I couldn't agree more. Let's get this going.

Originally posted to Muskegon Critic on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 02:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Hawks, Michigan, My Michigan, and DK GreenRoots.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Welcome to California, MC (3+ / 0-)

    The initiative process has been UTTERLY corrupted since the corporations direct democracy was supposed to rein in learned how to use it and how to fight genuine consumer actions.  

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent, and we are all Wisconsin.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 02:45:28 PM PDT

  •  You have no idea how many (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steve Canella

    Michiganders think "They want to change the constitution!" and get all up in arms over it.

    Romney/Caligula 2012!

    by sujigu on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 02:50:03 PM PDT

  •  Thank you! (2+ / 0-)

    I put this up on my face book page.

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 03:36:53 PM PDT

  •  Also on Facebook. Thanks! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steve Canella

    I.t is obvious we need some revamping in our political processes--at most levels

    Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by maybeeso in michigan on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 04:53:26 PM PDT

  •  posted on fb for all my Michigan friends too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steve Canella

    MO has a renewable energy standard, but, unfortunately, they can buy the renewable energy from out-of-state so it has not really helped Missouri get more renewable energy in-state.  We get most of our renewable energy from KS, IL, and OK.

  •  The flyers we are getting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    daveygodigaditch, Steve Canella

    in the mail against Proposal 3 are ridiculous, but I'm afraid people who haven't seen real wind farms will fall for them.  I think the windmills are stunning, and to see a line of them trailing off into the distance is stunning.  But the flyers show them on a beach, or in a back yard, within 50 feet of one another.  That's preposterous.  I've talked to reps about windmills.  We have vacant land in the upper peninsula that we would love to use for windmills, but there are actually very few locations that are suitable, and our land isn't one of them.

  •  Excellent Diary. Loads of information. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steve Canella

    The second oldest power plants in America?
    I live here and didn't know that.
    Good work!

  •  In Maine we are (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steve Canella, Odysseus

    bombarded with PAC attack ads against Angus King who is running for senator- the seat formerly held by Olympia Snowe. King, a former governor and an independent has promoted and invested in wind farms in Maine. The ads show people sitting on their porches on a lake looking up to a mountain ridge where a bunch of windmills are. They are really indignant about their view being "destroyed". It's sad that ad people think this is a winning idea. I guess on a very limited level I can understand, but these people don't own the land miles away from them and people get upset with any change, like a clearcut, or a Walmart or whatever, it doesn't have to be a windmill that sets them off.

    Most of us know from experience how quickly we get used to changes in our surroundings. It's despicable that this campaign is using fear tactics to demonize something that is so positive to our energy future.

    music- the universal language

    by daveygodigaditch on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 10:23:07 PM PDT

  •  Used to live in MI (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, Amber6541, Turbonerd

    Midland, in fact and Consumers Power and Dow Chemical tried to force a nuclear power plant on the town.  One woman, Mary Sinclair and her attorney, Don Cherry faced them down and stopped the plant.  Turns out it would have been located in a seismically unsafe area.

    Keep up the good work, my brother.  One person can make a difference.

  •  It breaks my heart to see all of the money (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hector Solon

    spent on opposing something like this, when it could be better spent toward the goal of clean, renewable energy.

    Both of Michigan's major utilities each spent 11 million bucks to kill Prop 3.

    Mother Teresa: "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."

    by Amber6541 on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 07:52:35 AM PDT

    •  Also considering... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Turbonerd, Amber6541

      ... two major utilities in Michigan - CMS Energy (Consumers Power) in the West and DTE Energy in the East - got $1.2 in tax credits 2008-2010 mostly for alternative energy projects - and during the same period 2008-2010 - paid NO Federal TAXES AT ALL - and spent $10.2 million on lobbying AND... the best part... made $4.1 Billion in PROFITS.

      SEE "Corporate Taxpayers & Corporate Tax Dodgers REPORT by Citizens for Tax Justice (Page 4).

      Snyder's new big business tax break - corporate cronyism bill-by-bill - policy means they will now pay also NO STATE INCOME TAXES at all either in the future.

      They were for it before they were agin' it. Weird how they can harvest all that taxpayer money without paying a dime. Big Business is going great in the Great Lakes State.

      All Hail the Plutocrats!

      For the occasional reluctant tweet

      by Hector Solon on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 09:35:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As an Ohioan who wishes the state would do more (0+ / 0-)

    I think enshrining the renewable energy standard in the state constitution is a great idea.

    Ohio's 20% by 2020 renewable standard was written in the lege, and had a fairly balanced approach that former Gov. Strickland was able to make stick. I wish the standard had been written into our state constitution. Since Republicans won control of all three branches in 2010, the standard has been whittled away and includes things like "clean coal" and other weasel routes.

    But with a strong manufacturing presence in neighboring states, and a native market for those renewables, there will be competition for the jobs those opportunities create - and that's something all pols will support.

    This will probably be the last time you hear me say this before the Big Game, but GO MICHIGAN!

    Reforms come from below. No man with four aces howls for a new deal.
    Keystone XL will raise gas prices!

    by Turbonerd on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 09:12:29 AM PDT

    •  oh, and American Wind Energy Assn pushing too (0+ / 0-)

      they've organized a phone bank for Oct. 30, trying to reach 60,000 Michiganders. Anyone who would like to help can  sign up here for a 2 hour shift on the phones.

      Reforms come from below. No man with four aces howls for a new deal.
      Keystone XL will raise gas prices!

      by Turbonerd on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 11:54:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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