Governor says he'd block right-wing rollback of state's clean energy laws -- do you believe it?
Speech cites support for renewable energy standards
Many Michigan-based environmental groups, including the Ecology Center, found reason to object to Governor Rick Snyder's long-awaited message on energy and environmental policy, delivered at the end of November.
Since that Nov. 28 speech, more contentious issues have captured the public's attention, especially the right-to-work legislation that was rushed through the legislature's lame-duck session last week, after the governor promised the public that it was not on his agenda.
But before that, Snyder's far-reaching recommendations on energy generation, transmission and delivery, as well as on recycling and other environmental issues, were panned by many environmental groups.
“While Governor Snyder indicated his strong support for maintaining the current energy efficiency and renewable energy standards, many of his own party have pledged to roll them back,” according to Charles Griffith, climate and energy program director at the Ecology Center. "Clearly we'll need to hold his feet to the fire to make sure he keeps to his commitment."
Among other critics of the governor's message, Jim Dulzo of the Michigan Land Use Institute said: “The governor has a golden opportunity to make Michigan a leader in clean energy, but he’s not yet taken it. By utilizing low-cost energy efficiency and wind and solar power, we can create a more prosperous, cleaner and better Michigan. Since he’s invited a statewide conversation on next steps for the state’s energy systems, we will work very hard to convince him those should be bold steps--the kind that strong leaders take.”
Snyder’s pledge that “we must make sure our energy choices always recognize our responsibility to protect Michigan’s environment” was one of the few bright spots of the speech for environmentalists.
“And we are happy that he has committed to begin the process of increasing those standards beyond 2015," Griffith said. "But we wish he would have made a stronger commitment to specific targets, recognizing the strong support voters expressed to pollsters after the election earlier this month. Otherwise, the process could easily get bogged down by energy interests opposed to clean energy."
In his remarks about energy, Snyder said, “There are three pillars that every decision must stand on: excellent reliability, an affordable price and a protected environment.”
“The best way to achieve all three of those goals is to commit Michigan to energy efficiency and generating more of our power from renewable sources right here at home,” Griffith said.
EcoLink — December 2012 An online publication of the Ecology Center