MichiganVotes Bills

Michigan House takes solar, wind siting power from local communities, gives to governor

The Michigan Public Service Commission is appointed by the governor

The Michigan House on Thursday approved bills that would strip local communities of the power to accept or deny large-scale wind and solar projects, giving that power to appointees of the governor.

House bills 5120 and 5121 are headed to the Senate. They met opposition from municipal groups, but it wasn’t enough.

“Zoning is a vested interest of local government and should remain as such,” Madeline Fata told lawmakers on behalf of the Michigan Association of Counties.

The House passed both bills by identical 56-52 margins, with two lawmakers not voting each time.

Read them for yourself: House Bill 5120 and House Bill 5121

The bills take another step toward elevating Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate Plan into law. A related piece of legislation, Senate Bill 271, would require Michigan utilities to meet a 100% clean energy standard by 2040. It has passed both houses of the Legislature.

“This radical plan will ban natural gas, close power plants, and depend too much on fluctuating, unreliable wind and solar energy — and let Gov. Whitmer’s administration ignore local decisions and force wind and solar farms in rural Michigan communities to make their blackout nightmare a reality,” said Rep. Matt Hall, R-Richland Township, in a statement after the bills passed.

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.