News Story

Ballot effort seeks to repeal Lansing control of solar, wind siting

Citizens for Local Choice seeks a spot on the November 2024 ballot

A citizens group is working to repeal a new Michigan law that gives Lansing bureaucrats the power to approve large-scale wind and solar developments throughout the state.

Citizens for Local Choice is working toward a place on the November ballot, per media reports.

“This initiative is not a referendum against P.A. 233, but the creation of a new law that would go before legislators for approval,” MIRS reported Thursday. “If lawmakers vote it down or don't take it up within 40 days, it would go on the general election ballot as soon as November 2024.”

The new law would restore the former default in Michigan, wherein final authority on such projects resides with local elected officials.

Public Act 233, which passed along party lines in November, allows the Michigan Public Service Commission — whose three members are appointees of the governor — to have final say on siting of wind and solar infrastructure. This moves decision-making power away from local elected officials, who can be swayed, recalled, or voted out of office, toward unelected members of the commission.

Citizens for Local Choice claims that “87% of voters across Michigan support local control,” according to its website. Committee member Norm Stephens predicts a tough battle.

Related reading: In Michigan, central planning is not the path to freedom

“Opposition to renewable energy is not a right-wing phenomenon,” the group’s website says. “The base of supporters for local control is strongly bipartisan and often led by farmers and environmentalists.”

To make the November ballot, the group will need to collect nearly 357,000 signatures from registered voters. The group is still working on its ballot language, which Michigan’s Board of Canvassers must approve before it faces voters.

Dan Scripps, chair of the Michigan Public Service Commission, told lawmakers that a little more than one-half of one percent of Michigan’s land would need to be covered by solar or wind projects to meet Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s climate-related goals.

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.