Michigan's Ambitious Green Energy Mandate Sparks MAJOR Controversy

Written By BlabberBuzz | Wednesday, 29 November 2023 21:20
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In a move that has been described as one of the most assertive green energy mandates at the state level in the United States, Michigan's Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law the Clean Energy and Jobs Act on Tuesday.

This legislation sets Michigan on a trajectory towards achieving 100% green energy generation by 2040, a goal that has sparked controversy and debate.

The new law empowers the state's utility regulator, which is chaired by appointees of the governor, to override local governments in the siting of green energy infrastructure. This aspect of the legislation has been met with criticism from some quarters, with Matt Hall, a Republican serving in Michigan’s House of Representatives and the minority leader, stating to the Daily Caller News Foundation, "In order to meet this mandate of 100% green energy, the only way the Whitmer administration can do it is by taking away local control of land. These local governments are closest to the people and are trying to protect the character of their communities."

Hall's comments highlight the potential conflict between the state's green energy ambitions and the preservation of local communities. According to MLive, Michigan currently utilizes approximately 17,000 acres of land for wind and solar energy generation. However, to meet its green energy targets, the state may need to expand this by up to 209,000 acres, as reported by The Detroit News.

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The legislation stipulates that by 2040, Michigan utilities must derive 60% of power from strictly green technologies, such as solar panels and wind turbines. The remaining 40% can be generated by nuclear, hydrogen, or natural gas that employs carbon capture equipment, as per NBC News.

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The legislative package, which comprises several bills, underwent numerous amendments in the state Legislature before reaching Governor Whitmer's desk. Despite unanimous opposition from Republicans in every vote, the slim Democratic majority in both chambers ensured the package's passage.

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State Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt, a Republican, expressed his disapproval of the signing, stating, "This is a dark day for hardworking Michigan families, farmers, and small business owners. While the people of Michigan are still struggling with higher costs, Lansing Democrats are applauding the imposition of far-left, unworkable energy mandates that will further increase energy costs and make Michigan energy less reliable."

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Governor Whitmer, however, contends that the new laws will result in an average annual saving of $145 on utility bills for Michigan residents. This claim is disputed by the Mackinac Center, a pro-free market think tank, which predicts that the package will lead to an additional annual energy cost of $2,746 per citizen and potentially more power outages.

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Hall further criticized the legislation, telling the DCNF, "The Democrats talked a big game, but when it came down to it, they handed the pen to the utilities and allowed the utilities to write this legislation. The utilities lock in the profits, and then pass all the costs to the ratepayers."

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He also warned of "major utility bill increases for manufacturers, small business owners, and homeowners" in the state. As of June 2022, Michigan had approximately 711,000 manufacturing jobs and over 12,000 manufacturing companies, according to data from IndustrySelect.

Despite the criticism, Governor Whitmer maintains that the new laws will lead to the creation of 160,000 jobs in the state by 2040.

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