Heavy-handed policies also strip local control of wind, solar projects
State Rep. Bob Bezotte 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.
Bezotte, R-Howell, 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 that resulted in rate hikes and frequent blackouts.
“People throughout Michigan are sick and tired of paying exorbitant rates for electric service that seems to fail every time a storm blows through,” Bezotte said. “This reckless plan does nothing but exacerbate our problems. It appeases extreme environmental lobbyists while turning a blind eye to the issue people want us to address – delivering reliable and affordable electricity.”
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.
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.
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, Bezotte 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.
“Respecting the voices of the people who reside in a community is a fundamental principle we should all respect,” Bezotte said. “When we allow the state to override local zoning decisions, we undermine the very essence of self-governance. Residents should have the right to decide what fits best in their community.”
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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