Republican senators in the minority failed to stymie the Democratic majority’s passage of the Clean Energy Package on Thursday, claiming increased reliance on renewable energy sources will drive up costs for consumers and decrease energy reliability.
The bill package was drafted in response to Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s What’s Next Address, announced in August. In that address, the governor pledged to transition the state to 100% clean energy by 2040. The bills would double the state’s current renewable mandate from 15% to 30% by 2030, doubling again to 60% by 2035, before attaining 100% by 2040.
“Policy shifts of this magnitude should not be so blatantly partisan,” Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-Porter Township, said in a statement. “This extreme, impulsive strategy thrown together by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and legislative Democrats will set Michigan on a disastrous economic course, stifling growth in our communities. Even one of the bill sponsors has admitted that implementing this radical Michigan Green New Deal will force families and job creators to pay much higher energy costs,” he added.
Nesbitt noted Michiganders already are reeling under inflation at grocery stores and gas stations and are feeling the pain of increased housing costs. Increased energy bills, he said, are assured, and will hit households at the same time Democrats are angling to increase Michigan payroll and income taxes by $2 billion.
“Radical ideological approaches to energy policy typically result in having to correct course and revert back to traditional fuels and nuclear power that will make sure peoples’ lights come on when they flip the switch,’ he said
Sen. Thomas Albert, R-Lowell, concurred with Nesbitt.
“The Democrats’ climate agenda is moving too far too fast, and ignores important consequences,” Albert said in a statement. “Michigan already has energy that costs too much and a supply grid that fails too often. This misguided plan would make things even worse for families and businesses at a time they can least afford it. Energy transition should happen more naturally and seamlessly – not through forced and rushed government mandates.”
Albert also opposes another clean energy measure approved by Senate Democrats that establishes a new government office to support the transition from fossil fuels to solar and wind energy.
“The creation of this office appears to be a recognition that the ‘new energy’ policies government is mandating will have a negative impact on Michigan,” Albert said. “New jobs in affected industries could be fewer in number and pay less than the old ones. It is an approach modeled after the failed central planners of socialist societies. This is poor policy and expands government beyond its proper role.”
Shortly after the bill package passed, Whitmer released a celebratory statement.
“I am grateful to the Senate for taking the first step,” Whitmer said. ” I look forward to the House taking action on these bills and other legislation that accelerates the deployment of clean energy soon so we can get this done. As I said in my What’s Next Address, let’s keep our foot on the accelerator and build a brighter future for Michigan.”