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E-M:/ "It's time for strong clean energy policy!"

For Immediate Release                                                         Contact: Abby Rubley

July 31, 2007                                                                           (734) 662 - 9797


Michiganders to lawmakers: “It’s time for strong clean energy policy!”

Over 14,000 public comments delivered to Senator Patterson, legislative leaders


Lansing, MI—Standing in front of a symbolic representation of 200 wind turbines on the lawn of the State Capitol, Environment Michigan and a coalition of environmental and conservation organizations delivered over 14,000 public comments calling for strong clean energy policies. 


“This representation of 200 wind turbines is symbolic of the new energy future we envision for the state of Michigan – one with clean, pollution free electricity that would create thousands of jobs,” said Environment Michigan Field Director Abby Rubley.  “They represent enough power for 140,000 homes (every household in Ingham County) and over 600 new direct jobs.”


Thousands of citizens and dozens of advocacy groups are asking Senator Patterson, Chair of the Senate Energy Policy Committee, and Senate Majority Leader Bishop to require 20% of Michigan’s electricity to come from renewable energy by 2020 and to restart Michigan’s energy efficiency programs with a goal of saving 1% of our electricity each year.  With over half a dozen clean energy bills already introduced in both houses, the Michigan Legislature is expected to take action soon after its summer recess.  This message from Michigan citizens also aligns perfectly with the clean energy debate that is heating up on the federal stage – with the U.S. House debating a 20% by 2020 federal renewable energy standard this week.


“After talking to over 50,000 Michiganders, the message is clear – Michigan is ready for a cleaner, cheaper energy future that stimulates rather than drains our economy,” said Rubley.  “Michiganders want our energy needs to be met by clean, homegrown resources, not the polluting resources of the past.”


Currently, 23 states plus the District of Columbia have passed legislation requiring a percentage of their electricity to come from clean renewable sources – including Michigan’s Great Lakes neighbors Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.  Also, twenty-two states have successful energy efficiency programs that are saving their rate payers millions while protecting their environment.  Michigan has neither.


The public comments are part of the efforts of a coalition of over 20 environmental, faith based and labor organizations calling on the legislature to enact “strong clean energy policies that will create thousands of new jobs, reduce the current $20 billion drain on our economy, enable healthier communities, and reduce our global warming emissions.”


“Michiganders are supporting the consensus that clean energy is a big part of the how America will develop good jobs and lead the world technologically and economically” stated Kim Pargoff, Energy Advocate for Environment Michigan.  “Given our economic situation, Michigan citizens are truly ready to harness our technological know-how and create the jobs of today and tomorrow while protecting our environment and way of life.”


These citizen comments also come on the heels of several key reports outlining the economic and environmental benefits of a strong state commitment to renewable energy.  According to NextEnergy, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center, if Michigan were to adopt strong clean energy policies it would create 7,000 – 19,000 new jobs.  Additionally we would see at least a 30% reduction in global warming and other pollution from power plants. 


“The Michigan Senate needs to heed the progress of other states,” says Brian Beauchamp with the League of Conservation Voters.  “Michigan has the opportunity to make new investments in the economy, protect the Great Lakes and once again become a leader in technological development, but we must act now.” 


Environment Michigan is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization.