State Rep. Graham Filler voted against a partisan plan to radically alter Michigan’s energy policy, voicing strong concerns that the new mandates will burden Michigan families with electricity that is more expensive and less reliable.
Filler, R-Clinton County, said the plan, advanced by House Democrats, calls for utilities to have 100% clean energy by 2040, with several other mandates that will also increase costs. The mandates are similar to those issued in California which resulted in rate hikes and frequent blackouts.
“In my past life, I spent two years as an Assistant Attorney General at the Michigan Public Service Commission working on rate cases, working on all the calculations that go into keeping rates low. At the same time, I was helping ensure that the lights stayed on for the hospitals, manufacturers, and homes in our communities. From my perspective, this is a piece of legislation heavily laden with talking points and very light on realistic, constructive energy policy.
“This legislation will make natural gas more expensive and, in some cases, unobtainable. That puts manufacturers like Hemlock Semiconductor at risk. It puts the jobs of those employees who live in mid-Michigan at risk. It puts Michigan’s high-tech future at risk. That’s bad for my community, and that’s really bad for Michigan’s manufacturing future, where we should instead be a leader.”
The “clean” energy mandates under the bills would effectively ban reliable natural gas plants, with an impractical exception only if a plant incorporates expensive, rare carbon capture technology. They would also cap nuclear energy as just a small part of a provider’s energy portfolio, even though nuclear is a reliable, clean, powerful source that provides 20% of Michigan energy.
“This is an attack on Michigan nuclear; a clear signal to businesses considering building nuclear or adding small modular reactors that our energy grid is unstable, and they are not welcome here,” Filler said.
A forthcoming study projects that monthly electric bills could go up by more than $100 on average under the legislation, and California, which adopted similar mandates in 2018, has seen rate increases dramatically outpace national increases. California has also started to backtrack on its energy mandates after blackouts and brownouts.
“Under these bills, the people of Michigan get higher energy rates, less reliable energy, and an unstable business climate,” Filler said. “The people of the state of Michigan suffer.”
Other measures approved by House Democrats would strip control away from local communities concerning the construction of large-scale solar and wind energy projects. Under House Bill 5120-5123, Filler said the Michigan Public Service Commission could force the projects on local communities with little regard for residents’ concerns, local zoning ordinances or affordability – and people would have no ability to hold the unelected commission members accountable.
Each of the bills was ultimately approved by the House along party lines. They now move to the Senate for further consideration.
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