Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Thursday MI Healthy Climate Corps announcement has sparked intense backlash from critics.
Projected to launch in 2024, the Corps aims to instruct a new generation of environmental activists, beginning with 30 AmeriCorps recruits.
“The MI Healthy Climate Corps will field a cohort of 30 AmeriCorps members who will provide critical support to communities tackling climate change,” according to the MIHCC website. “MI Healthy Climate Corps members will receive significant training and career development support to step into Michigan’s climate leadership pool.”
But Jon Sanders, research editor at The John Locke Foundation strongly opposes an identical program announced this week by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.
“By the sound of it, the Climate Action Corps will sink taxpayer money into creating government jobs for environmentalists while letting governors and the president say they’ve done something to ‘take action’ on the climate, which presumably would impress potential campaign donors,” Sanders wrote in an email to The Midwesterner.
“Gov. Roy Cooper’s press release on North Carolina’s new Climate Action Corps reads as if ChatGPT were tasked to produce government environmentalist boilerplate,” Sanders continued. “This is a direct quote: ‘This project will strengthen our clean energy workforce as we continue to lead the way toward a clean energy future.’ It’s all sound and fury, signifying politics.”
Sanders added he doesn’t expect any measurable change coming from North Carolina’s program, but he’s certain the governor and hires will vociferously attest to its importance all the same.
“One of the top items the governor identifies for this ‘corps’ is ‘Climate Action Corps branding to increase visibility and recruitment. ’Basically that means placing the program’s label on current, ongoing activities, taking credit for them, and then being able to argue for increased funding after the fact on the misimpression that those activities wouldn’t be happening were it not for the program,” Sanders wrote.
The MIHCC website was developed by Farallon Strategies, a nonprofit B corporation that perhaps coincidentally shares part of its name with hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer’s Farallon Capital. Steyer and Whitmer appeared together in a 2020 fundraiser for then-presidential candidate Joseph Biden, which was called Clean Energy for Biden.