PWIR: 94,000 Jobs

Tags: 25 by 25, Michigan Primary, paul ryan, RES, sand dunes

Political Week in Review

It was a big, big week in Michigan environmental politics. 

After the conservation community made some major electoral gains (and one close legislative loss) on Tuesday, an MSU report was released on Friday predicting that the 25% by 2025 ballot proposal could create 94,000 jobs.

In this week's PWIR:

● The 25 by 25 ballot proposal could create 94,000 jobs according to a new MSU study.

● Tuesday’s primary election moved Michigan two steps closer to a conservation majority that will protect our land, air and water.

● Governor Snyder signed the ‘Develop the Dunes’ bill at quarter to five on primary election day; did he think we wouldn’t notice?

● Romney picks Climate-Denying Paul Ryan as his running mate.

25 by 25 Will Create 94,000 Jobs

A Michigan State University study released Friday predicts that the 25% by 2025 renewable energy ballot proposal (25% by ‘25) will create at least 74,000 jobs, though that doesn’t even incorporate all the manufacturing jobs that will be created; added together, we’re looking at 94,000 new jobs in Michigan!

Anyone who tells you Michigan can simply do without those jobs hasn’t lived here for some time. These are jobs doing what Michigan does best; making, building, and operating. The MSU report predicted that 25% by ‘25 would create over 31,000 construction jobs and almost 43,000 operation and maintenance jobs. It did not predict the specific number of manufacturing jobs, because that number will depend on the ability of Michigan manufacturers to capture a bigger share of the market.

The study did predict, though, that if Michigan manufactures fill even half of the renewable energy components needed to implement 25% by ‘25, then additional tens of thousands of jobs would be created. It also said that Michigan is ranked second in the nation in renewable energy manufacturing potential. Since 25% by ‘25 directs the Michigan Legislature to implement policies that favor Michigan workers, it’s easy to see why this report earned headlines all across the state this weekend.

When was the last time that you had the opportunity to cast one vote to create 94,000 jobs? This is such an exciting opportunity for all of us here in Michigan. The other votes you cast in November will impact this, too, though: The Legislature will have to enact the specific provisions of 25% by ‘25 once its passed, and that’s part of why it’s so important to have elected officials who will do the job the citizens tell them to when we win!

Click here to encourage your elected officials to endorse 25 by 25 and the 94,000 jobs it will create!

Two Steps Closer

Tuesday night was a big night for Michigan’s land, air and water. With primary wins by one conservation-minded Republican in a conservative district and one conservation champion Democrat in a more liberal district, we moved the state two steps closer to a conservation - not Republican or Democrat - majority in the State House of Representatives.

Rob VerHeulen, our pick for the Republican primary in the 74th District State House, won handily with 58% of the vote, while Jon Switalski beat fellow incumbent Lesia Liss for the Democratic primary in the 28th District by a landslide 65% to 35% margin!

VerHeulen, if he wins in the general election, would convert a seat currently held by term-limited Rep. Dave Agema (R - Grandville) - one of the worst legislators on conservation issues - to a solid pro-conservation legislator with a history of preserving open spaces and supporting public access to them.

In another example of widely divergent views on conservation within the same party, Jon Switalski beat fellow incumbent Democrat Lesia Liss in the 28th District State House primary by a 65% to 35% margin. Their districts had been redrawn together, and Switalski earned our endorsement for consistently protecting our land, air and water on the very same issues on which Liss had earned the lowest score among any Democrat on our Scorecard.

We also endorsed three Kent County Commission candidates who are strong supporters of farmland preservation. Gary Rolls and Stan Ponstein won their Republican primaries, while fellow Republican incumbent Bill Hirsch was just 16 heartbreaking votes short of winning his. Michigan LCV staffers also campaigned for State House candidates Sam Singh, David Knezek and Jim Pedersen, of whom Singh and Knezek won their primaries. After all the sweat and tears (both happy and sad) on election night, we’re proud of every door we knocked for our candidates this cycle, regardless of outcome. The courage and time it takes to run for any office is incredible.

Governor Signs ‘Develop the Dunes’ Bill

At 4:46pm on Primary Election Day, Governor Snyder quietly slipped out a press release with the frustrating news that he signed SB 1130 and ignored the voices of over 2,500 Michigan LCV members and thousands of other citizens that urged him not to open up Michigan's iconic sand dunes to reckless construction.

The bill, as you probably know from our constant advocacy against it, erodes protections against irresponsible development on Michigan’s critical sand dunes, which the DEQ describes as our “highest and most iconic” sand dunes. It substantially amends a 1989 law which passed by a 90 - 14 bipartisan vote to protect the sand dunes, ushering in over 20 years of responsible development which helped minimize the impact that construction had on the dunes.

Our current anti-conservation Legislature, however, ignored that bipartisan past and pushed through SB 1130 through both houses on July 18, their only day back from summer recess, so far. Governor Snyder caved to partisan pressure to sign it while everyone was focused on the primary, perhaps hoping no one would notice. We noticed, though.

As I told MIRS, the Capitol's political newsletter, “The Governor's attempt to bury the news of his signing of the 'Develop the Dunes Bill' in the midst of Election Day is not going to be successful. Michigan families will not stand by as these landmark protections are being rolled back in favor of new driveways, construction cresting over the dunes, and decreased ability for the state to properly conserve these irreplaceable treasures.”

Romney Picks Climate-Denying Paul Ryan as Running Mate

Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan as his nominee for Vice President this weekend. Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin's 1st District, has an abysmal 3% score on the current national League of Conservation Voters Scorecard and a 20% lifetime score. I suppose it could be fun to see my name on so many lawn signs soon, but Romney’s pick doesn’t make it worth it. 3% is simply awful.

Ryan's shift toward the extreme end of the anti-conservation wing of his party and Mitt Romney's selection of him as a running mate is a dramatic turn away from the conservation legacy traditionally supported by Republicans. While the trees in Michigan might be the right height for Mitt Romney, his VP is the wrong pick for Michigan and our Great Lakes.

Until next week, 


Ryan Werder

Political Director

Twitter: @rjwerder