The Michigan House passed a slew of so-called “clean-energy” bills Thursday night around midnight.
Opponents of the bills say the legislation will increase utility rates for households by at least $200 a month, and also expressed concerns the bills will remove control of utility-scale wind and solar projects from local zoning boards by granting more authority to unelected members of the Michigan Public Service Commission in Lansing. Polls indicate the majority of Michigan residents also oppose the bills.
Kevon Martis is a spokesman for Our Home Our Voice, a grassroots advocacy group dedicated to local land-use control.
“Today’s action by the House is an assault on small communities across Michigan,” Martis said in a statement. Over 87% of voters support local control, but today, legislators completely ignored the will of the people they promised to represent. Local communities’ voices are being ignored and silenced. The fight to stop this legislation is not, yet, over. Our Home, Our Voice, will continue to advocate against these bills and urge the Senators to not make this bill a law.”
Martis added that his organization asserts that effective zoning should be crafted by communities, not developers.
“There are many false narratives out there, one being ‘We need farm ground (265,000 acres) to provide clean energy for Michigan,’” he said. “The State of Michigan owns 4.6 million acres of ground. All the solar we need could be sited there by using just 6% of that ground. Michigan has 42,912 brownfield sites covering tens of thousands of acres. Solar can go there with no farmland impact. Michigan alone has 2 million roofs and 77% of them can host solar with a potential of 42.3 million Mwh per year. Again, there would be no impact to Michigan’s farmland with this option.”
Under local control, Michigan has installed nearly twice as much wind capacity as Ohio and Wisconsin combined with their state siting, Martis said, noting that Michigan has installed nearly identical amounts of solar as Wisconsin and Ohio.
“Developers exaggerate the roadblock local control presents,” he said.
Rep. Matt Hall, R-Richland Twp, noted on X, formerly Twitter, his opposition as well. He said the zero-emission goal by 2040 would circumvent local zoning authority.
As Democrats held votes late into the night, they can be grateful the lights stayed on, because under their extreme Green New Deal, blackouts and brownouts will become routine.
Utility companies will push the costs onto Michigan families and profit off this legislation.
— State Representative Matt Hall (@RepMattHall) November 3, 2023
“As Democrats held votes late into the night, they can be grateful the lights stayed on, because under their extreme Green New Deal, blackouts and brownouts will become routine. Utility companies will push the costs onto Michigan families and profit off this legislation,” Hall wrote.
Mackinac Center for Public Policy Environmental Policy Director Jason Hayes warned the bills, if passed into law, will increase utility costs, make power more unreliable, and threaten the environment solar and wind power are ostensibly supposed to protect.
“If we actually put these bill packages in place your bill could go up by a couple $100 a month at the end of the day so it’s going to be expensive,” Hayes said in a statement. “We’re also going to be dealing with less reliable electricity. We all know that the wind does not blow 24/7 and the sun does not shine 24/7, but if we’re relying on wind and solar for 60% plus of our electricity we’re going to see decreased reliability,” he added.
“The average Michigander is being sold this package of bills on the notion that what we’re doing is we’re protecting the natural environment, but the reality is we’re not.”
He pointed out that wind turbines and solar farms require an enormous amount of land, and also pose environmental hazards and harm wildlife. Once turbines and solar panels wear out, he said, disposal becomes problematic.
“When we dispose of them, as we will have to, they will potentially leach the same sort of chemicals from solar panels that people are concerned about leaching from coal ash,” Hayes said.