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Stop the Coal Boondoggle, Protect Ratepayers Now
Legislation aims to protect Michigan residents' pocketbooks
from bad coal power investments
LANSING – As the legislature debates Michigan's energy future, a coalition of conservation, and watchdog groups stood with lawmakers today in announcing a plan to protect the pocketbooks of Michigan consumers from the skyrocketing costs of coal and bad energy investments.
"Michigan ratepayers deserve to be protected from efforts to build more outdated coal burning plants in our state," said State Representative Fred Miller (D-Mt.Clemens). "Building coal plants we don't need will encumber our state with outmoded technology and high costs just as we are fighting to move our economy into the 21 st century. That's why we are introducing legislation to protect Michigan ratepayers from bad investments."
The Michigan Ratepayer Protection Plan would protect Michigan consumers by making utilities – not ratepayers - absorb the costs of future regulations on dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.
Big energy companies are working hard to build at least seven new coal plants in Michigan, even as other states are refusing such bad investments. Since 2004, over 59 coal plants were denied across the country because of their impact on consumers, skyrocketing costs, and global warming. Even energy trade groups like the Edison Electric Institute admit construction costs of coal plants have surged an average of 40% since 2000. Additionally, the delivered costs of coal have increased by another 40.8% over the same period, says the Energy Information Administration. Coal-burning costs will climb even higher as the nation cracks down on dangerous CO 2 emissions.
"Under the Michigan Ratepayer Protection Plan, corporate shareholders would have to assume the risk of bad billion-dollar investments in outdated coal, while Michigan residents would be protected, said State Representative Marie Donigan (D-Royal Oak) another sponsor of the legislation. "Energy giants must not be allowed to profiteer at the expense of Michigan ratepayers."
Instead of coal, other states are investing in renewable energy and efficiency and the good paying jobs that come with them. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, renewable investments like wind and solar create 2.3 times the number of jobs as coal plants. Renewable energy investments and efficiency also keep energy dollars in Michigan instead of flowing out to coal mining states. Michigan exports $20 billion a year to other states and nations to buy energy.
"Michigan is at an energy crossroads and faces a critical choice," said David Holtz, Director of Michigan Clean Water Action . "If we choose to allow big utility companies to build more dirty, coal-fired plants in Michigan, we keep our state dependent on imported energy and pump billions of dollars out-of-state. But if we choose, we can protect our state from such bad investments and instead lead the way in renewable energy and energy efficiency and the tens of thousands of new, good-paying jobs that come with them."
"Our scarce resources should go toward creating the jobs of the future by investing in renewable energy, not to increasing the bottom line of the large corporations," said Anne Woiwode of the Sierra Club. "These legislators are right to stand up to utility giants and protect ratepayers from a boondoggle. Michigan must not be tricked into allowing big energy companies to profiteer at the expense of consumers when better alternatives exist.