Environment Picture

News Updates

Take action on 25x25: Send a letter to your family & friends

Oct 29, 2012
MEC Development Director Andy Draheim's recent letter to his friends and family encapsulated his reasons for supporting Proposal 3, the 25x25 renewable energy standard on Michigan's ballot. We provide it here as an educational and outreach tool to YOUR friends and family who are interested in cutting through the confusing fog of television advertising and overwrought hyperbole.

Dear friends and family,

I am voting for Proposal 3 (renewable energy) because it will help put us on track to a healthy and prosperous future. With millions being spent to confuse and scare us, I hope you’ll consider the following reasons and information that convinced me. Please give this a look before voting. It will mean a lot to me.

1. Proposal 3 is good for our health. Coal power pollution is linked to asthma, respiratory illness, cardiac disease and premature death that hundreds of Michiganders suffer each year. According to a recent study, pollution from just nine of Michigan’s coal power plants costs us $1.5 billion in annual health costs/damages. Transitioning to clean energy will have immediate positive impacts on our health.
2. Prop 3 is good for our pocketbooks. Outrageous claims have been made about the price tag of getting 25% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Here are the facts: 
  • Prop 3 explicitly states that achieving the 25% standard cannot cause our rates to increase more than 1% per year.
  • According to the Public Service Commission, the cost of renewable energy is about half the cost of producing electricity by building a new power coal plant ($70 per megawatt hour versus $133). Recent wind power contracts have come in at less than $50 per megawatt hour. The only way we can get power much cheaper than that is to not use it in the first place.
  • Michigan spends $1.7 billion each year to import coal from other states. That tab is growing quickly as transportation fuel costs rise and we have to dig deeper to reach remaining coal. Wind and sun are free. Once we install renewable technologies, our savings start to mount. When it comes to the costs, independent analysts consider this study the most fair and balanced:
3. Renewable energy is good for Michigan workers. A Michigan State University study, released this summer, found that a minimum of 74,000 jobs (calculated in job years) will be created if Proposal 3 is enacted. (http://bit.ly/ONXEg7) That doesn’t even count the manufacturing boost we will see at some of the 241 companies in Michigan that make products in the wind and solar supply chains.

4. Renewable energy is good for our planet. Power plants are major water consumers. Toxic pollutants they emit end up in our lakes and rivers and accumulate in our fish, making them unsafe to eat regularly. Burning coal for electricity also accounts for roughly 33% of America’s greenhouse gas emissions. To get serious about climate change, we have to get serious about clean energy.

5. Requiring a transition to clean energy is important enough to put in our Constitution. I know some people have reservations about putting renewable energy in the state constitution. Since the current constitution was adopted in 1963, it has been amended 31 times for a wide variety of purposes. As Governor William Milliken recently wrote: “There are times when the public is better served when important matters of public policy are protected within our Constitutional framework. . . . The opportunity of renewable energy in Michigan is important enough that the 25% renewable policy should have the long-term certainty of Constitutional protection.”

With campaign contributions and armies of lobbyists, the utilities control our legislators. As The Oakland Press put it, “To reject the proposal just because it entails a state constitutional amendment just further empowers wealthy lobbyists like those working for the utility companies.”

Not many provisions of our Constitution result in savings lives and avoiding the suffering that surrounds having a loved one with asthma or other respiratory or heart diseases – Proposal 3 will do that.

If you have any other questions or concerns about Proposal 3, I invite you to email MEC Communications Director Hugh McDiarmid at hugh@environmentalcouncil.org and he will reply as soon as possible.

Thank you for listening and learning. Proposal 3 means a lot to me and I appreciate your willingness to give it a full and fair consideration.

Warm regards,
© Copyright Michigan Environmental Council, All rights reserved