Energy policy should improve, not dim

If the best energy and environmental policies came from focus-group taglines like “Michigan’s Green New Deal” and “100% clean energy mandates,” then a series of bills Democrats are pushing through the state Senate at the direction of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer would have unanimous support.

But it doesn’t.

And they don’t.

From higher prices to less reliability, it is struggling Michigan families and small business owners who will bear the biggest costs of the kinds of extreme policy shifts being proposed.

One bill sponsor even acknowledged during committee hearings that mandating the new energy policy would be more costly for Michiganders.

That comes at a time when Michiganders are paying more for pretty much everything on the heels of record inflation not experienced in four decades. The job-killing energy bills are so predictably bad that one of the bills creates a state department dedicated to helping energy-transitioned displaced workers and businesses.

On top of that, global political turmoil contributes to energy instability because it disrupts the production, transportation, and distribution of energy resources, as well as the necessary components for domestic manufacturing of renewable energy.

Notwithstanding the unfavorable timing, Democrats continue pushing ahead at lightspeed on their zero-carbon energy agenda, which includes electric vehicle batteries, wind turbines, solar panels, eliminating fossil fuels, and usurping local control.

Energy policy should be unrushed and thoughtfully crafted, use realistic goals and timelines, and acknowledge the evident challenges and limitations associated with solar, wind, and electric vehicle technologies, particularly in a state devoid of continuous sunlight throughout the year.

Ironically, those same policies caused blackouts in California, a state renowned for its sunshine and coastal winds.

The estimated millions of acres of solar and wind farms that would be needed to reliably provide power to Michigan homes and businesses would mean sacrificing a significant amount of farmland, shoreline, and other important state resources and natural wonders.

We can’t simply grow more land. Sacrificing so much limited farmland when other power generation sources are available is a mistake. High food costs are only going to increase as we continue taking valuable farmland out of production.

That is a high environmental price to pay for something that is supposed to benefit the environment.

The plan also strips local control of wind and solar placement. The state should not dictate the landscape of local communities. Rather, locals should be proactive in choosing the role of renewable energy developments through a comprehensive zoning plan.

A prudent energy policy would incorporate existing and reliable sources — such as natural gas and nuclear energy — and the government should refrain from encroaching upon communities’ sustainable alternatives.

Locals from every community should make their voices heard now!

There are so many ironies in the disastrous plan, it’s like the lightbulb of reason has been turned off.

For example, the proponents of the plan ignore the amount of carbon produced by the facilities where those massive fleets of wind turbines and solar panels are produced — and the footprint left after their eventual decommissioning.

Also ignored are the carbon dioxide emissions, reliance on communist countries, and child labor abuses that occur during the mining of the components required for that green energy drive, despite the fact that the same politicians prohibit the mining of those elements in America.

The trillions of dollars invested in that energy agenda have already triggered inflationary burdens on Michigan families while lining elitists’ pockets — just as it was designed to do. The bills threaten to worsen energy affordability and reliability while creating new environmental issues.

It is possible to be both environmentally conscious and help lower costs. Unfortunately, the proposed plan does not accomplish that.

The market, infrastructure, and technology are not ready for such radical shifts in energy policy.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this topic or any other important state issue, please do not hesitate to contact my office by phone at 517-373-7946 or by email at SenMHoitenga@senate.michigan.gov.

State Sen. Michele Hoitenga, R-Manton, represents Michigan’s 36th state Senate District, which includes Alpena, Alcona, Arenac, Crawford, Iosco, Kalkaska, Missaukee, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon, and Wexford counties, along with portions of Bay and Manistee counties.


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