LANSING, MI — Michigan utilities, businesses and advocacy groups on Tuesday responded positively to Gov. Rick Snyder’s intent to implement a state-based carbon reduction policy to comply with the federal Clean Power Plan.
“DTE supports Gov. Snyder’s decision to move forward with developing a state plan to comply with the EPA Clean Power Plan,” the energy company said in a statement. “If Michigan would choose not to submit a state implementation plan, the EPA could impose a compliance plan on our state. We believe Michigan knows what’s best for Michigan and that the state should maintain control of its energy future.”
Consumers Energy also supported the state-based plan.
“Consumers Energy fully endorses a Michigan-first energy policy,” the company said. “We support Governor Snyder’s announcement to begin the complex process of developing a State Implementation Plan to comply with the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan.”
The state could have opted to go with a federal plan but has more flexibility with state implementation.
“Placing our energy future in the hands of Washington would be unwise, putting at risk the reliability of electric service for millions of customers and jeopardizing the significant progress Michigan has made to improve rate competitiveness,” noted a statement from Consumers.
The Michigan Municipal Electric Association fully supported the Snyder administration’s pursuit of a state implementation plan.
“With carbon controls for utilities on the way, Michigan public power would much rather work with our Michigan regulators to establish the best approach, because Michigan DEQ understands the value of public power and has always worked with us to find reasonable, flexible, best-cost approaches to clean air improvements,” said MMEA Executive Director Jim Weeks.
Environmental and business groups also spoke highly of the plan.
“Today, Governor Snyder made the right choice for Michigan. By embracing the Clean Power Plan, the Governor is supporting the health of our families, our communities and our air, land and water. The Clean Power Plan is a tremendous opportunity to curb pollution that impacts our Great Lakes and that contributes to climate change,” said MLCV Director Lisa Wozniak.
“Governor Snyder’s announcement is the first step toward a cleaner, healthier future in Michigan, but it requires strong follow-through from his administration. We look forward to working with the Governor to design and implement a plan that accelerates our transition away from expensive, dirty sources of energy to clean, reliable, efficient energy.”
The Michigan Environmental Council also praised the decision to pursue a state plan.
“We’re glad that Gov. Snyder and state leaders have chosen a path that allows Michigan to determine its own energy future,” said Chris Kolb, MEC president. “The Obama administration has provided a solid framework for making necessary carbon reductions and the flexibility needed to craft a plan that plays to our strengths. If we get it right, this plan will accelerate the growth of Michigan’s clean energy industry while saving ratepayers billions of dollars, improving public health and preserving a livable world for our grandkids.”
Wind advocacy nonprofit Wind on the Wires also praised the Snyder administration’s decision.
“Wind on the Wires congratulates Governor Snyder for taking bold action in support of clean energy for Michigan and Clean Power Plan compliance,” said Wind on the Wires Executive Director Beth Soholt. “The state’s previous energy policies have put Michigan on a path for success, and building on a trend that is already taking place is the smart thing to do. On behalf of our members, Wind on the Wires looks forward to participating with Governor Snyder’s Administration in the stakeholder process.”
For the Natural Resources Defense Council, Michigan is doing the right thing.
“Governor Snyder is demonstrating much-needed leadership on clean energy for Michigan, the Midwest, and the nation. Creating a plan to reduce dangerous carbon emissions is a common-sense step other governors interested in protecting their states’ economies and health will surely follow. Given the high stakes for our kids’ future, Governor Snyder is doing the right thing,” said Henry Henderson, Midwest Program Director of the NRDC.
Michigan Biomass said that wood-fired plants contributed to renewable energy in Michigan.
“On behalf of Michigan’s wood-fired power plants, Michigan Biomass applauds Gov. Snyder for taking action to create a Michigan-first Clean Energy Plan,” said Gary Melow, Director of Michigan Biomass. “We’re pleased that the U.S. EPA has determined that electricity generated from wood and similar biomass feedstocks has net carbon benefit under the Clean Power Plan. We’re pleased to support a Michigan-centered plan to meet these requirements.”
The nonprofit Ceres, which focuses business leaders and investors around sustainability issues, praised the plan in a statement.
“Governor Snyder’s commitment to submit a state implementation plan is in the best interest of Michiganders,” said Ceres President Mindy Lubber. “The Clean Power Plan provides an opportunity for Michigan to catalyze further investment and job creation in the clean energy sector. That’s why 18 companies and investors with a footprint in Michigan called on the governor to meet the new EPA standards by focusing on renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions.”
Businesses, including Brewery Vivant, of Grand Rapids, had urged support of the Clean Power Plan in a letter.
“We have worked to have all of our facilities 100 percent renewably powered through Consumer’s Energy Green Generation program, and we are the first LEED Certified commercial microbrewery in the United States. We urge Michigan’s leadership to make a commitment to sustainability and renewable energy, starting with full implementation of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan,” said Kris Spaulding, co-founder of Brewery Vivant.
Nonprofit Environmental Entrepreneurs Midwest advocate Gail Parson said it was positive for business, too.
“Governor Snyder has just signaled that when it comes to one of the most innovative, high-growth industries in our nation – clean energy – Michigan is open for business,” she said.
But the broader business community is split over the Clean Power Plan.
John Dulmes, Executive Director of the Michigan Chemistry Council, said Michigan should take an “all of the above” approach in forming its specific plan.
“We recognize the ongoing legal challenges to this regulation, and support Gov. Snyder’s decision to craft a State Implementation Plan (SIP) that can best protect Michigan’s ratepayers if those challenges are unsuccessful,” Dulmes said. “As the administration prepares its SIP, it should consider all available options to ensure that Michigan’s ratepayers aren’t saddled with a huge energy bill. Energy-intensive industrial users must be a key part of these conversations. Finally, the Michigan Legislature should work to establish energy policies that can help the state meet these challenges, remain competitive, and grow jobs.”
Health professionals have long been in favor of reducing carbon to reduce the incidence of related diseases.
“The Clean Power Plan is the most significant public health initiative in decades and we applaud Gov. Snyder for committing to crafting a Michigan plan to reduce pollution and improve the health of Michigan families,” said Kathleen Slonager, executive director of Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America Michigan Chapter. “Michigan’s asthma rate is 25 percent higher than the national average and moving to clean, renewable energy will reduce dangerous pollution, reduce asthma, heart and lung disease and save lives.”
The group MI Air MI Health has commissioned polling it says shows a majority of voters support the Clean Power Plan.
Conservative groups including the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum and the Christian Coalition of Michigan also lent the state-based plan their support.
“Congratulations to Governor Snyder for his bold leadership in announcing that Michigan will develop its own Clean Energy Plan. This step will help ensure that Michigan is deciding Michigan’s energy future,” said Mark Huizenga, mayor of Walker and a member of the MCEF Leadership Council. “The reality is, renewable, clean and efficient energy businesses and jobs are now part of Michigan’s economic infrastructure – this is our future, and we need to protect the amazing progress we’ve made as a state. Thank you Governor Snyder for leading on clean energy.”
The Christian Coalition also applauded the state implementation plan announced Tuesday.
“The Christian Coalition applauds Governor Snyder’s leadership on clean energy – for our national security, economic security and family security. We believe that support for clean energy is pro-life and pro-family – and we look forward to supporting the Governor’s stakeholder process to develop a forward-thinking plan that is Pure Michigan,” said Keith den Hollander, Chairman of the Christian Coalition of Michigan.