Capital Catch-Up: December 10, 2021
Enough is Enough: MLCV Holds Rep. Bellino / Utilities Accountable for Continually Stalling Clean Energy Legislation
A bipartisan effort to eliminate the damaging and arbitrary 1% cap on rooftop solar, HB 4236, is stalled in the House Energy Committee. As part of our ongoing work to eliminate the 1% cap, Michigan LCV has directed public accountability efforts towards House Energy Committee Chairman, Rep. Joe Bellino (R – Monroe).
Michigan LCV is committed to holding any and all accountable for standing in the way of Michigan’s clean energy and climate friendly future.
View some more of our ads below, and read more detail about the campaign here!
Throughout his time in office, Chairman Bellino has taken over $78,000 from Michigan’s major utilities and other utility special interests, including a free golf outing with DTE executives which is currently under investigation by state officials for violating campaign finance laws.
While no one can wholly understand the motivations of another, the House Energy Committee under Chairman Bellino’s leadership has too often protected the interests of Michigan’s major, for-profit private utilities – even while they continue to charge residents the highest energy rates in the Midwest. Despite paying those exorbitant rates, utility reliability has been terrible in Michigan with the second worst power restoration time nationally, even on days without severe weather events.
And it’s not just Michigan LCV that is tired of the games. Groups like Michigan United, the Conservative Energy Forum, Vote Solar, and others have run out of patience with the stall tactics and are taking their case directly to Michiganders!
MI United led a press event and direct action on the Capitol steps calling out Chairman Bellino and the utilities for their unsavory financial contributions.
Conservative Energy Forum’s MIRS News Billboard running now.
Elimination of the cap is a crucial step towards achieving a clean energy economy, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, and making the state’s energy grid more resilient against the effects of climate change. Enough is enough, we cannot allow the utilities to continue obstructing Michiganders’ access to clean energy. Michigan LCV is committed to holding Chairman Bellino accountable for his obstruction and passing HB 4236.
Public Service Spotlight: Marie Mihelich’s Work to Protect MI Water!
In this week’s edition of the Public Service Spotlight, Michigan LCV is featuring Marie Mihelich. Marie works as the Chief of Staff for Sen. Jon Bumstead, (R-Newaygo) who was the lead sponsor for SB 565. Marie’s work behind the scenes on stakeholder engagement, policy analysis, and bill drafting was critical in the push to pass the bill through the Senate, and the people of Michigan are lucky to have her as a resource on this issue!
Q: What are some environmental issues you feel are most important in Michigan?
A: There is no place in the world with the freshwater resources that we have here in Michigan, and protecting our natural resources from contaminants and pollutants is very important to me. This includes maintaining and preserving our natural water resources, including the Great Lakes and our inland lakes, rivers and streams.
Q: In your opinion, what does the passage of SB 565 mean for the state?
A: This bill is not only historic because of the total investment into the state, but also because every community big and small will be positively impacted from this funding — especially with the infrastructure failures that our state has had over the last several years with Flint and the Midland Dam. The safety and structural soundness of our water and water infrastructure is something that residents of our state should have trust in, and this investment is a huge step in the right direction.
Thank you for your service, Marie!
Scorecard Notice! Scoring SB 565, a Transformational Investment in MI Water
Michigan LCV’s digital accountability suite allows voters to see how state legislators, executive officials, judges, and legislation meet the mark on environmental priorities. This week, as part of our scorecard focus, we want to highlight the recent, unanimous state Senate passage of SB 565, a $3.3 billion investment in Michigan’s crumbling water infrastructure. The bill, which initially provided for $2.5 billion in spending, was increased to account for the new funds allocated to Michigan under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, or Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill), which passed at the federal level last month.
The bill includes provisions for lead pipeline replacement, wastewater and stormwater system upgrades, drinking water infrastructure improvements, dam safety and infrastructure improvements, PFAS remediation at contaminated sites, Filter First hydration stations in K-12 schools and childcare centers, and more.
Our state currently has a $20 billion need for water infrastructure upgrades and improvements over the next 10 years, as outlined by former Gov. Rick Snyder’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission. By utilizing federal COVID relief funds, SB 565 starts the process of updating the state’s aging water infrastructure at a low cost to taxpayers.
Quick Hits: Economic Development Bills, Port Legislation, and the Climate Resiliency Corps Proposals
- A series of economic development bills were fast-tracked through both chambers this past week after taking up most of Lansing’s legislative oxygen. The bills, which aim to get more “shovel ready” industry sites in Michigan, come on the heels of Ford’s decision to move a multi-billion dollar EV-battery plant investment to Kentucky and Tennessee. To spur economic development, the bills will use billions in American Rescue Plan funds to prepare more industry-ready sites and provide more incentives for companies to invest in Michigan. You can read more about the bills here.
- Sens. Stephanie Chang (D – Detroit), Wayne Schmidt (R – Traverse City), and Dale Zorn (R – Ida), introduced a suite of bills to boost Michigan’s maritime industry and ensure its competitiveness with other states. The bills, if passed, would also require each port to develop a five-year environmental impact plan to protect Michigan’s environment. The need for enhanced port infrastructure is clear in light of the recent collapse at the Revere Dock in Detroit.
- Sen. Chang and Rep. Rabhi introduced SB 747 and HB 5581 to establish a Michigan Climate Resiliency Corps. The Corps would partner with local governments, non-profits, and universities to enhance community resilience to climate change through education and green infrastructure projects.