Federal Threats Out of Touch with MI Energy & Climate Goals

Sunset2 by Barbara Eckstein via Creative Commons

As Michigan moves forward on clean energy and climate action, President Trump counters with attempts to undo the Clean Power Plan and prop up coal and nuclear plants. At a time when the administration should be supporting the progress made in Michigan and across the country, they seem to be attempting to stifle a healthier, more innovative tomorrow.

The Federal Threat

Over the last few weeks, President Trump and the EPA packed a one-two punch to our country’s energy and climate. First, Energy Secretary Rick Perry proposed a massive bailout for coal and nuclear power plants. The effects would be to burden utility customers with higher costs, impose obstacles for cleaner and less risky energy sources such as solar and wind, and increase air pollution. The second assault came when EPA chief Scott Pruitt proposed the repeal of the Clean Power Plan, the first regulation of its kind to limit the power plant pollution that drives dangerous climate change and threatens the lives and health of millions across the country. Both proposals are blind to the economic, health, and climate realities Americans face every day.

Michigan Progress

Michigan on the other hand is continuing to pursue its clean energy and climate goals. In April, new bills were enacted that preserved and improved aspects of the energy efficiency and renewable energy standards along with long term planning for energy resources. Right in step, the state’s two biggest utilities, Consumers Energy and DTE, have been steadily retiring coal plants, one of the largest sources of carbon pollution in our country, and ramping up energy efficiency and renewable energy resources. DTE even went so far as to say they plan to reduce their carbon emissions by more than 80 percent by 2050, which aligns with the target scientists have broadly defined as necessary to address climate change. 

By pushing forward, Michigan also continues to reap the benefits, proving that you don’t have to choose between a healthy economy or a healthy environment. EPA’s own disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions from large facilities shows that Michigan’s emissions have gone down by 12 percent since 2012 while the real GDP has increased by 8 percent. Not surprisingly, one sector in particular is thriving. Michigan’s clean energy economy grew 5.3 percent to over 92,000 jobs between 2015 and 2016 which is almost three times faster than all other jobs in the state. For context, that’s more than the number of waiters and approximately the same number of registered nurses in the state of Michigan. This is not a niche market of the future. Expansive and diverse jobs offerings from technical installers to administrative support exist today across the state.

Make Your Voice Heard

A federal system like the Clean Power Plan would only support and enrich these successes. We need states like Michigan to keep striving and demanding federal solutions to climate and clean energy. The EPA is required to take public comments on the proposal and is likely to hold hearings to get the public’s view. It will be crucial for Michiganders to make their voice heard. Tell the administration you support the Clean Power Plan and the clean energy and climate goals it stands for! 

About the Authors

Ariana Gonzalez

Energy Policy Analyst, Midwest program
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We had a Clean Power Plan. Now we're getting a Dirty Power Plan.

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