MLUI and a number of community leaders in northern Michigan penned this letter to Gov. Rick Snyder to thank him for his work on energy over the past year and urge action in 2014 on a clean energy future for the state.
January 14, 2014
Dear Governor Snyder,
As your State of the State address draws near, we are writing you from the Grand Traverse region about energy policy.
First, though, thank you for leading such a successful statewide conversation about building a “no regrets” energy future for Michigan.
“Readying Michigan to Make Good Energy Decisions” was unique and remarkably transparent. Sixteen hundred people jammed your seven forums, including Traverse City’s. Hundreds spoke; hundreds more filed submitted comments on the project Web site.
You invited rebuttals, published drafts, encouraged additional comments, and used the state’s utility and energy expertise to sort through reams of submitted information before publishing four final reports, including two on the issues we’re addressing: renewable energy and energy efficiency.
We won’t rehash those findings, other than emphasizing they confirm that more efficiency and renewables is very doable in Michigan. The state now has well-vetted data to help design statewide energy policy. That itself is a great accomplishment.
On January 16, during your State of the State address, you take the next step: urging our Legislature to update the state’s energy policies. We know you will not suggest firm goals beyond 2015, but instead invite lawmakers’ collaboration in defining those goals—and policies to support them.
We know election-year politics are complicated, particularly with energy. Some lawmakers and interest groups flatly reject renewables and efficiency as suitable for state policymaking, no matter the facts and practical experience, and want to make energy policy a highly partisan controversy.
Or, perhaps not: A recently formed, high profile, conservative, pro-clean energy group wants to change that. They are worried, rightly, that without prompt action, we will fall further behind other states with aggressive energy policies.
More broadly, it is clear from polls, from the turnout for and tenor of your energy forums, and from a remarkable and ongoing statewide spate of editorials and op-eds that a large majority of Michiganders will warmly welcome bold, forthright leadership from your office on renewables and efficiency.
Most Michiganders see more clean energy and efficiency as good for the economy, their own energy costs, and the environment.
So, we want to make three points:
First, we applaud your fact-based, non-partisan approach to energy. It should help defuse the politics threatening thoughtful action.
Second, you and lawmakers should work together this year to act on energy because Michiganders deserve to know where their representatives stand on this question before the election, and because each day we wait competing states pull further ahead.
Third, the businesspeople, officials, efficiency and renewables contractors, and citizens signing this letter will support your efforts to work for the positive goals your administration’s recent studies clearly suggest.
We’re looking forward to Thursday night’s can-do message about taking relentlessly positive action on renewables and efficiency.
Michigan must lead in crucial industries, and clean energy is among the most crucial, offering incredible economic and environmental benefits. Your leadership is the key.
Hans Voss, Executive Director, Michigan Land Use Institute
Sarna Salzman, Director, SEEDS; Co-Chair, Grand Vision Energy Group
Kimberly Pontius, Director, Traverse Area Association of Realtors
Liz Kirkwood, Director, FLOW
Brenda M. Archambo, Outreach Consultant for National Wildlife Federation
Gary Howe, Commissioner, Traverse City City Commission
Ed Bailey, Technical Division Director, Northwestern Michigan College
Ann Rogers, Former Councilmember, Traverse City
Ric Evans, Owner, Paradigm Energy; Board, Great Lakes Energy Co-op
Skip Pruss, Principal, 5 Lakes Energy
Tim Pulliam, President, KEEN Technical Solutions
Steve Smiley, Principal, Smiley Energy Services
Randy Smith, CEO, Renewable Energy Services
Matt Vajda, CEO, Voltage Electric
And Snyder Energy Forum Participants: Betsy Coffia, Lisa & Pete Del Buono, Elizabeth Dell, Alison Heins, Jerry & Pat Jehle, Heather & Toby Miller, Laura & Bob Otwell, Paul and Jennise Phillips, Margaret Pierson, Mary Van Valin, Charlie Weaver, Ilene Wolff
CC: Steve Bakkal, Valerie Brader, Bill Rustem, Gary Quackenbush