News Story

Nessel to sue fossil fuel industry, but still flies over driving

Nessel’s flights cost a total of $6,202

Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a May 9 press release that Michigan intends to sue fossil fuel companies over alleged contributions to climate change, as CapCon previously reported.

Nessel claims these companies have had a climate impact, and she seeks private law firms to submit proposals to partner with the state to sue oil and gas firms for that alleged impact.

“The fossil fuel industry, despite knowing about these consequences, prioritized profits over people and the environment,” Nessel claimed in a press release. “Pursuing this litigation will allow us to recoup our costs and hold those responsible for jeopardizing Michigan’s economic future and way of life accountable.”

Results from a Mackinac Center records request sent to the attorney general’s office show that Nessel travels on a state-owned plane instead of driving. Nessel took seven flights powered by fossil fuels from January 2022 through May 2024. Two were commercial flights to Washington, D.C., and back; five were within Michigan. All were taxpayer-funded at a total cost of $6,202, public records show.

Flight records show Nessel flew from Oakland to Traverse City to Marquette to Alpena to Lansing from August 17 to 19, 2022. The most expensive flight was from Oakland to Mackinac Island and back for $1,457.50.

The state of Michigan owns two similar airplanes, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. One aircraft is a Cessna 182R, which burns around 14 gallons per hour, according to BWI Fly.

Nessel chose to fly instead of driving an electric vehicle. But in April, Nessel joined a multistate coalition to defend Environmental Protection Agency rules requiring about 67% of new car sales to be electric by 2032.

“The EPA’s Final Rule is a critical step in reducing the amounts of harmful pollutants in our air,” Nessel said in a statement. “By curbing these emissions, we not only protect the environment and public health, but also unlock economic opportunities in cleaner technologies in the Motor City.”

Range anxiety, vehicle cost, and inconvenient charging are barriers to adopting EVs. Michigan is 2.3% of the way toward reaching its goal of 2 million EVs by 2030.

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.