News Story

Whitmer Declares Energy Emergency — Appears Short Of Legal Standard

Law authorizes lockdowns, closing gas stations, more

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sent mixed signals in declaring a statewide energy emergency on Feb. 20, casting doubt on whether she met the legal standard for such a declaration.

A 1982 state law defines an “energy emergency” as a condition of danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the residents of this state due to an impending or present energy shortage.

Whitmer’s comments in the press release announcing the energy emergency, however, suggest there is no impending danger.

“While I am confident that our state has the energy supply we need to get through these cold winter days, we aren’t taking any chances after what happened in Texas this week.”

She also implied that the state of emergency was declared because other states have instituted their own.

“All of Michigan’s neighboring states, and the majority of states in the nation, are under some form of federal or state energy emergency declaration,” Whitmer stated in the press release.

The statute authorizing energy emergencies gives the governor the power to close commercial, industrial, government and school buildings; restrict private use of vehicles and fuel sales to the public; order an “energy resource supplier” to deliver power to “essential services” and more.

Whitmer’s office didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

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.