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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Show us the plan

Proposal 3 opponents say there is no road map for how the renewable energy mandate would be developed. Backers say that’s what the Legislature’s for.

by Sam Inglot

Thursday, Oct. 4 — Opponents of Proposal 3 say the proposed constitutional amendment mandating 25 percent of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2025 lacks a clear roadmap to implementation.

However, supporters say the state Legislature and the Public Service Commission will be responsible for seeing the policy through. 

Voters will weigh in on this statewide ballot proposal, as well as five others, in the Nov. 6 election. The Prop 3 opposition campaign, Clean Affordable Renewable Energy, organized a roundtable discussion this morning calling on proponents to provide specifics on the mandate.


State Rep. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, who chairs the House Energy and Technology Committee, opposes the plan. His biggest beef? He says the proposal lacks a plan of action.


The state Legislature approved a renewable energy mandate in 2008 that requires utilities to produce 10 percent renewable energy by 2015, which the state is reportedly on track to meet. Also, Prop 3 opponents support the 10 percent by 2015 mandate.


“We have some guidelines in the 2008 legislation, but this plan that sits in front of us, Proposal 3, has none. To this day there is no plan to implement Proposal 3,” Horn said this morning. “The components of Proposal 3, as it’s listed right now, make no sense to the system. We don’t know what kinds of laws we’re going to have to implement if this becomes a constitutional item. We’re asking the proponents of Proposal 3 to fess up and tell us what their plan is for implementation,” Horn said.


Monica Martinez, a former Democratic appointee to the state Public Service Commission from 2005 to 2011, agreed with Horn. She said the people who wrote the proposal “just pulled these numbers” out of thin air. She said there are “many questions” and “no clear consensus” on how the energy mandate will be implemented.


The proposal calls for investment in renewable energy sources like solar power, wind, hydropower and biomass technology.


“Where is everything going to be built?” she questioned.


Mark Fisk, of the pro-Prop 3 campaign Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs, said the claims made by Horn and company are some of the same made by big oil and coal companies. He called the criticisms “preposterous.”


“One day they say it’s too rigid and inflexible and now they say it’s too flexible,” he said. “They will say anything to try to confuse voters. They use scare tactics and misinformation against a proposal that will create 94,000 jobs.”


Fisk said the proposal creates the outlined goal of a renewable energy future and it will be up to the Legislature and the Public Service Commission to figure out policy to meet that goal.


“The proposal says the Legislature can influence and shape the proposal as they would with any proposal,” he said. “Our proposal is going to move Michigan toward more renewable energy. It provides flexibility to change the law in the future if we need to adapt to new technology. We disagree with the naysayers. It can be done. It should be done.”

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