GOP critics are lambasting Michigan House of Representatives Majority Floor Leader Abraham Aiyash, D-Hamtramck, for a sponsor a bill package that will remove siting of wind and solar farms from local zoning boards to the Lansing-based Michigan Public Service Commission.
House Bills 5120, 5121, 5122, and 5123 passed the House on a Democratic party-line vote last week and are currently under consideration in the Senate. The bills aim to attain a zero-carbon emission goal by 2040.
The bills, if passed, will allow Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to appoint three representatives to the MPSC board.
Sen. Rick Outman, R-The Michigan Senate GOP posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday afternoon:
“The sponsor of the bill represents Hamtramck and Detroit. How many solar or wind farms do you think will be foisted upon his community by bureaucrats in Lansing if this bill becomes law? How many will be forced on Royal Oak? Ann Arbor? West Bloomfield?”
"The sponsor of the bill represents Hamtramck and Detroit. How many solar or wind farms do you think will be foisted upon his community by bureaucrats in Lansing if this bill becomes law? How many will be forced on Royal Oak? Ann Arbor? West Bloomfield?" – Sen. @rickoutman https://t.co/upraz5PmRA
— MI Senate GOP (@MISenate) November 8, 2023
The gist of the social media post is that the population density of Wayne and Oakland counties make both locations highly unlikely for the construction of wind and solar farms, which require acres of vacant land.
Another GOP post reads: “In fact, most of the Democrats who support giving 3 appointees the power to override local government won’t ever see these huge projects in their backyards. Convenient.”
Majority Whip Ranjeev Puri, D-Canton, co-sponsored the bill package with Aiyash.
In a joint statement last week, Puri and Aiyash noted: “The clean energy goals we set out for Michigan are ambitious, and I believe we can achieve these goals in order for Michigan to push forward as the innovative pioneer that we have proven to be in the past. I am thrilled my colleagues and I in the House were able to deliver the Clean Energy and Jobs Act to help put those bold goals into action,” Aiyash said.
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“This legislation streamlines the process so that landowners are free to use their land to produce clean energy as an additional source of revenue, should they so choose. This will make Michigan a clean energy leader, wean us off fossil fuels and provide tremendous benefits to local communities.”
Puri lauded the bills as a win for the state of Michigan.
“The clean energy projects these policies are going to enable will make Michigan an even more attractive place to build, live and grow. We are empowering farmers; we are diversifying our energy sources; we are leading the nation into a cutting-edge energy future. What a day to be a Michigander.”
The Detroit News’ Craig Mauger pointed out on Tuesday the amount of land necessary to construct solar and wind farms able to fulfill the requirements of zero-emission renewable energy.
“Michigan may need a land mass half the size of Genesee County to cover with solar arrays and wind turbines in order to meet the renewable energy mandate that lawmakers are crafting in Lansing this week,” Mauger wrote on X.