News Story

Governor's Commission Rejects Voters' Judgment On More Windmills

Citizens voted down 25 percent 'green energy' mandate by huge margin; Snyder wants 30 percent

A report released by a commission created and appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed the state take steps to get 30 percent of its electric energy by 2025 through renewable sources, such as wind and solar energy.

The 21st Century Infrastructure Commission report echoes a 2015 goal expressed by Snyder of having “a minimum of 30 percent clean energy – and potentially much more.” A press release on the report calls for natural gas to be included as a way to reach the 30 percent clean energy goal.

But the recommendation flies in the face of Michigan voters, who soundly rejected a 2012 ballot initiative that would have required 25 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewables.

In 2016 Snyder created a 15-member 21st Century Infrastructure Commission, all appointed by himself.

“Gov. Snyder’s 2015 proposal and the commission’s report are goals for the state,” said Snyder's Press Secretary Anna Heaton. “Prop 3 was a mandate.”

Julie Bennett, spokeswoman for the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission, said the goal set forth in the report was similar to Snyder’s own energy goals.

“That is one of the desired future state/vision statements the commission developed for the future of energy infrastructure (before making recommendations, the commissioners described the desired future state they were seeking to create with the recommendations),” Bennett said in an email.

Voters flatly rejected Proposal 3 in 2012. The measure, placed on the ballot by an environmentalist group, would have put a mandate in the state constitution that 25 percent of the state’s electricity must come from renewables by 2025. Proposal 3 was defeated by a vote of 62 to 38 percent. There were 2.84 million votes against it and 1.72 million votes for it

Leon Drolet, chair of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, said politicians, energy companies, environmentalists and lobbyists get together and can agree on a plan that benefits all of them because stakeholders never include ratepayers in their discussions.

“The only explanation for putting forth a plan that the voters overwhelmingly rejected is disrespect for voters,” Drolet said. “Can you hear me now? People keep saying, ‘No’ to Lansing. But the governor can’t seem to hear them. He seems to want to govern without the citizens.”

Editor's Note: Information from a press release on the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission has been added to this story after publication.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.