Lansing, MI – The House Energy Policy Committee of the Michigan is expected to take a vote this week on two energy bills that would overhaul the state’s energy policy. Advocates for renewable energy and environmental quality are concerned about the impact the bill will have on Michigan’s energy future, health and utility bills.
Residents throughout Michigan received flyers in the mail and are being inundated by ads supporting the bills on TV stations throughout Michigan paid for by the lobby group promoting Energy House Bills 4297 and 4298 sponsored by Rep. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton).
Opponents say the bills are backed by a shadowy utility lobby group called “Citizens for Michigan’s Future” and that if passed, they would have a devastating impact on Michigan families by decreasing air quality, increasing utility bills and halting progress on renewable energy developments in the state.
Impact on Air Quality
Kathleen Slonager, RN, AE-C, executive director of Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America Michigan Chapter said, “These plans are a disastrous step in the wrong direction. Now is not the time to step backwards—we have a real opportunity to reduce pollution and public health by increasing our renewable energy standard.”
MI Air MI Health and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America—Michigan Chapter recently released new data showing Michigan ranks near the bottom of states in terms of health when it comes to asthma rates, deaths from cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and more.
Impact on Consumer Utility Bills
“Michigan has the highest electricity costs in the Midwest and it’s the responsibility of the Legislature to reduce utility costs by strengthening our energy efficiency standard” said Marty Kushler, senior fellow with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. “Instead, the proposed legislation would repeal our highly-successful energy efficiency programs that have saved ratepayers billions of dollars. That would be a major step in the wrong direction.”
Impact on the Growing Green Technology Job Sector in Michigan
“These bills would pull the plug on Michigan’s thriving clean energy sector, which supports tens of thousands of good-paying jobs,” said Charlotte Jameson, policy manager for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “The Nesbitt and Nofs plans are major steps in the wrong direction. We look forward to working with the Legislature to increase Michigan’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards in order to rein in costs, reduce pollution and create jobs here in Michigan.”
According to the Sunlight Foundation, a political transparency advocacy organization, CFMF is organized as a “social welfare organization” under section 501(c)4 of the Internal Revenue Code, therefore as a nonprofit group is not required to publicly disclose its donors, as a political committee would.
An annual report of the lobby group posted on the MI Secretary of State web site shows that one of the board members of the organization is shows that DTE employee Daniel Mahoney, Democratic political strategist Howard Edelson and communications consultant Chris Dewitt direct the organization.
Representative Nesbitt, the sponsor of the bills, is also one of the biggest recipients of political campaign contributions by utility companies, receiving $7,000 from DTW and $2000 from CMS in the latest filing period. Nesbitt serves on the House Energy Policy Committee.
Environmental advocates are urging Michigan residents to contact their state house legislators to urge a NO vote on the Nesbit Energy House Bills 4297 and 4298. If you live in Michigan, click here to find your representative’s contact information.