STEVEN PRICHARD: Give Granholm’s current energy act a chance before changing the constitution

TO THE EDITOR:

On Nov. 6, I plan to vote NO on Proposal 3, and I urge my neighbors to do the same. In response to the letter printed in this paper on Thursday, Oct. 11, I do not believe that the proposed benefits of this bill outweigh the costs. As with most issues, the facts on Proposal 3 can be shaded depending on whom one chooses to listen to.

When considering this proposal, the most important issue for voters to consider is whether it is necessary to amend the constitution to put these measures in place.

In 2008, then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed into law the Clean, Renewable and Efficient Energy act, mandating that 10 percent of our energy come from renewable sources by 2015. This did not take a constitutional amendment to enact.

Furthermore, according to a study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, this measure will result in consumers having to pay approximately $950 million more than they would otherwise for their energy as a result of rates increasing by 7.9 percent more than they would otherwise. The Mackinac Center estimates that these rate increases will lower employment by 7,220 jobs and impose a net cost on the economy (increased investment minus lost potential investment) of $83 million.

These numbers are bad enough, but the measure on the ballot today would push these costs even higher by increasing the mandate.

While the Mackinac Center study concedes that the measure will cap rate increases at 1 percent per year, the actual cost of producing electricity will still increase by much more.

In order to keep from losing money, this will mean that power companies must find other ways to pass costs on to consumers, or accept a government subsidy (which comes from consumers by way of their tax dollars). It is estimated that higher electricity rates will keep businesses who might otherwise locate in Michigan from doing so, at an approximate cost to our economy of $2.55 billion by 2025.

I will concede that more green energy sounds like a grand idea, but in these difficult economic times, we would be wise to see first what the economic and environmental impacts of the 2008 Clean, Renewable and Efficient Energy act are by its imposed 2015 deadline.

Steven Prichard

Sears

 

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