Bills taking effect will protect the environment, power the economy, lower costs for customers
LANSING, Mich., Feb. 11, 2024 — For the first time in 40 years, Democrats gained control of the Legislature and the governor’s office last year. With its majority, the party that puts people first had a remarkably productive year that resulted in a historic number of bills passed and signed into law. Today, Michigan House Democrats celebrate Day 8 of the Countdown to a Better Michigan project with a focus on policies that improve energy and the environment.
“Low-income Michiganders and communities of color have paid the price for environmental injustice for far too long. The wages of environmental injustice is a price too high to pay — the toll on human health and quality of life, property and communities has run its course and we’ve taken action to deliver a future with cleaner energy, making it better for all Michiganders, while continuing to protect the precious environment where people work, live and play,” said state Rep. Abraham Aiyash, (D-Hamtramck).
On the roster of legislation signed into law is a bill that requires the consideration of certain factors such as environmental justice, affordability, compliance with clean energy standards and others when evaluating energy plans.
As of 2021, a plurality of Michigan’s energy came from coal, at 32%, followed by nuclear energy at 30% and natural gas at 27% and renewable energy provided about 11% of Michigan’s electricity net generation, with three-fifths of that power coming from wind energy.
“Michigan Democrats ensured our state is a national leader on clean energy. We’re taking bold action to boost clean energy production while creating good-paying jobs and lowering costs,” said state Rep. Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton). “And our Michigan Jobs, Michigan Energy package pairs with our Filter First legislation to keep kids safe from lead exposure. Both invest in the next generation, tackling environmental and public health concerns. It’s plans like these that help make our state a healthier, safer place to raise a family.”
Democratic leaders have moved forward with historic investments in clean energy that will spark economic growth opportunities, creating good paying jobs for Michiganders. The clean energy goals aim to generate 60 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable resources, phase out remaining coal-fired power plants by 2030 and limit energy burden from powering and heating homes to not more than 6 percent of annual income for low-income households.
“As chair of the energy committee, my colleagues and I spent time last summer traveling the state to hear from Michiganders about their experiences with access to energy and their expectations for a cleaner energy future. Time and time again, lowering the bills and having safer, more reliable and cleaner energy was at the top of the list. We’re listening to what Michiganders need and Democrats are working hard for a better, renewable and sustainable energy that’s reliable and doesn’t break the household budget or cause further damage to the environment and the delicate ecosystem of our state. Democrats will continue to help Michiganders transition to cleaner energy in ways that make the most dollars and sense for them and their households,” said state Rep. Helena Scott (D-Detroit).
Michigan’s Clean Energy plan will grow the economy by creating good paying jobs for Michigan. Legislation signed by the governor will bring nearly $8 billion of federal tax dollars home to Michigan for clean energy projects.
“For the first time in decades, the legislature is making transformational investments to protect our environment and public health. The Department of Energy, Great Lakes, and the Environment has long been underfunded without the staff they need to complete their mission. Thanks to bills we’ve passed, which are now being enacted, Michigan will soon have cleaner communities, air and water. Our work is not just about protecting the environment; it’s about protecting people and our kids from harmful exposures that can destroy lives. Michigan’s legislature is responsible to ensure our state is healthy and habitable.” said Rep. Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids).
Legislation passed this session will help in the development of community solar and ensure local municipalities are empowered to chart the course for Michigan’s clean energy future.
Third-generation farmers for over 150 years of two centennial farmsteads, Clara and Aaron Ostrander, from Milan Township in Monroe County, testified before the House Energy Committee in support of solar siting. An excerpt from their testimony:
“Our greatest fear is that we would have to do the same thing my dad did, sell the rest of the farm, our family’s heritage, to pay for medical expenses instead of passing it on to the next generation.
Fortunately we found an opportunity that would help keep the farm in the family by hosting a solar farm – using our land to harvest sunlight and generate clean power. At first, we were very hesitant, so we did our research. We reached out to the experts at Michigan State and U of M. I thought about my parents and grandparents – I even asked them for guidance. I know my dad would be happy that we ultimately decided to sign up to host solar on our farm. If he were still alive, he would be smiling and saying, ‘this is what we need.’”
The passage of bills in the Michigan Jobs, Michigan Energy package helps protect personal property rights and allows farmers or other landowners the opportunity to generate solar or renewable energy on their property.
For more information about the Countdown to a Better Michigan, including an easy topical guide to the full list of bills passed and signed into law, please go to HouseDems.com/countdown.