A diptych: the first image features a close-up shot of solar panels on a rooftop set against a backdrop of trees and a city skyline, the second image features wind turbines in a bright grassy field.

Michigan Moves Toward a Healthy Climate Through Clean Energy Legislation

This April, Michigan Senate Democrats introduced the Clean Energy Future Plan, a package of bills designed to help support and sustain Michigan’s longstanding fight for climate justice by moving the electric, transportation and housing sectors away from fossil fuels. Senate Majority Floor Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), who introduced the plan alongside Sen. Sue Shink (D-Northfield Twp.),  said these bills are intended to bring aspects of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate Plan into state law, including by making clean energy more affordable and accessible for low-income families. 

The seven-bill package includes measures that would update standards for renewable energy, establish a state-level standard for clean fuel, create plans to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2030 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from homes and business buildings, and allow the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to examine factors like climate change, equity, reliability, affordability, cumulative health effects and emissions outside of carbon when evaluating public utilities.

“We support this effort to take up the Governor’s climate plan and enact legislation–including policies that promote both clean energy and clean transportation–to meet our state’s climate challenge,” says Charles Griffith, Ecology Center Climate & Energy Director.

One aspect of the plan that has inspired conversation among environmental organizations is the clean fuel standard and how that will affect corn ethanol production and use. The Ecology Center supports a well-designed fuel standard that would move us away from petroleum and higher-carbon biofuels toward electric vehicles and other climate-friendly fuels. 

Overall, we are glad to see the Governor’s climate plan coming to fruition. We especially appreciate that Michigan legislators are prioritizing communities made up of higher proportions of people of color and people who are economically struggling. As Senator Shink has noted, “These residents often suffer the worst effects of pollution from power generation and are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.'' As we fight to preserve our planet, we must create within our state an ecologically just and sustainable home.