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Michigan energy transition will cost people their jobs, lawmakers admit

Lawmakers create bureaucracy to make plan for workers displaced by energy transition

Both houses of the Michigan Legislature have passed a bill that admits the state’s energy transition will cost people their jobs.

Senate Bill 519 must now be passed in identical form by both houses before heading to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk.

As the House Fiscal Agency explains:

Senate Bill 519 would create a new act, the Community and Worker Economic Transition Act, to provide for the creation of a state entity to develop a plan regarding, and coordinate efforts addressing, the impact on workers and communities of the societal and economic shift away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy resources.

Read it for yourself: Senate Bill 519 of 2023

Democrats in the Legislature have portrayed Michigan’s energy transition as market-driven, as a “societal and economic shift away from fossil fuels.” 

When the Senate debated bill 519 last week, Sen. Mallory McMorrow, D-Royal Oak, said that “anybody who is trying to convince you that it is a mandated transition is lying.”

But a minute prior, McMorrow admitted the role of government in the transition from gas engines to electric vehicles.

“The reality is that more than a dozen countries around the world, including the population of most industrialized nations have already determined that they will be phasing out internal combustion vehicles within a few years,” McMorrow said. “Maybe within the next five years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years.”

McMorrow added: “If every country has determined that they will no longer be allowing the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles, what prosperity exists if there are no customers left to sell your products to?”

Sen. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing, sponsored the bill. He has pushed back at suggestions that the new office is duplicative of MichiganWorks, arguing MichiganWorks is different because it’s local in focus. Singh argues that a statewide solution is needed for a statewide problem.

The bill identifies three groups likely to be affected: auto workers, construction workers and energy workers.

Last week, Michigan lawmakers passed Senate Bill 271, mandating that utilities such as DTE and Consumers run on 100% clean energy by 2040.

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.