Capital Catch-Up: August 29, 2022
Residents Pack Detroit Michigan Public Service Hearing on DTE’s Rate Case
The Michigan Public Service Commission (the governmental body responsible for regulating utility companies) held a public hearing on Monday night regarding DTE’s proposed $388 million rate increase; embedded in the case is a proposal to increase the fees on solar users. Michigan LCV supported the Defend Black Voters Coalition rally and grassroots organizing calling on DTE customers to speak out against the rate and fee increases. Concerned citizens filed into the hearing room that soon became standing room only, while waiting their turn to speak out against the 8.8% rate increase.
Residents are frustrated with DTE’s high prices, lack of reliable service, and ongoing opposition to small scale solar. Over the past year, residential customers have experienced more than 80,000 interruptions to service and DTE customers pay the highest energy rates in the Midwest! Over the past five years, DTE has raised rates by more than $750 million dollars without meaningful performance improvements to grid and service reliability.
Monday night at the MPSC public comment hearing on proposed DTE price hikes.
Notably, DTE has been working to perpetuate the status quo by continually making large political contributions to Michigan lawmakers – including House and Senate Energy Committee members,and lawmakers who are introducing and supporting voter suppression legislation.
As DTE Energy continues to raise our rates, they have fought against affordable rooftop solar at every turn, blocking common sense bills in the Legislature, and now proposing huge fees that would make it entirely unaffordable. It’s on the Michigan Public Service Commission to stand with ratepayers and reject DTE’s rate hike.” –Nick Dodge, Michigan LCV Communications Director
Tribar Chemical Spill Prompts Revival of Polluter Pay Bill
The Tribar chemical spill of hexavalent chromium into the Huron River has prompted a renewed interest in House Bill 4314. Representative Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) sponsored the bill, which was originally introduced in February 2021. The bill would increase polluters’ accountability to clean up pollution they have caused “to the extent technically feasible.”
Rep. Rabhi at Huron River spill press conference (Credit: Ryan Sun, MLive).
Advocates hosted a rally recently along the Huron River protesting the Tribar chemical spill, where they emphasized that movement on HB 4314 has been hindered by the Republican majority and aggressive lobbying from the Michigan Manufacturers Association and Michigan Chamber of Commerce. The Tribar chemical spill has sparked significant media attention around polluter pay bills, which should make HB 4314 a top priority for the House and Senate when they return to office in the fall.
Lt. Governor Gilchrist Announces EV Charging Partnership
Lt. Governor Gilcrist announced a new partnership between Michigan, Kroger, electric vehicle charging company Volta, and DTE Energy that will install eight new charging stations at multiple Kroger locations.
Line 5 Case to Remain in Federal Court
Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Janet Neff ruled that Attorney General Dana Nessel’s case to shut down Line 5 should be heard in federal court – denying the State of Michigan’s efforts to have the case heard in state court.
U.S. Congressional Subcommittee on Environment Holds Field Hearing in Detroit
Last Thursday, Rep. Ro Khanna and Rep. Rashida Tlaib held a field hearing in Detroit to examine the gaps in current laws and regulations that leave frontline communities vulnerable to pollution and the policy changes necessary to safeguard public health.
Michigan LCV Announces 16 Candidate Endorsements
As with all of Michigan LCV’s endorsed candidates, the group of 16 candidates we endorsed this week demonstrate a strong commitment to protecting the health of Michigan’s communities and democracy, which includes, but is not limited to: cleaning up toxic contamination in water, addressing the climate crisis, protecting our natural resources, tackling environmental inequity, and supporting policies that ensure fair and equal access to the ballot. Read about the newest endorsements here.
For a full list of Michigan LCV’s endorsed candidates, please visit our 2022 Endorsements webpage.
Help Us Reach a Conservation Majority in Michigan!
Michigan LCV needs you to help us achieve a conservation majority in the Michigan Legislature. Join us at one of our next canvasses!
Canvass for Veronica Klinefelt for State Senate
Aug 29 from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Clinton Township, MI
Canvass for Sam Singh for State Senate
Sep 9 from 9:45 – 11:45 am
East Lansing, MI
Canvass for Sue Shink for State Senate and Jennifer Conlin for State Representative
Sep 14 from 3 – 5 pm
Ann Arbor, MI
Canvass for Rosemary Bayer for State Senate and Kelly Breen for State Representative
Sep 17 from 10:30 am – 1 pm
Canvass for Betsy Coffia for State Representative
Sep 17 from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Traverse City, MI
Canvass for Padma Kuppa for State Senate and Sharon MacDonell for State Representative
Sep 28 from 3 – 5 pm
Stay tuned for future volunteer opportunities in your area!