Capital Catch-Up: March 6, 2023
EGLE Presents MI Healthy Climate Plan to the House Energy Committee
During last week’s House Energy, Communications, and Technology Committee hearing, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE)’s Office of Climate and Energy Advisor Cory Connolly presented on Gov. Whitmer’s 2022 MI Healthy Climate Plan to achieve carbon neutrality in Michigan by 2050. EGLE’s presentation focused on action steps to achieve energy and emissions goals while transitioning the electric grid to clean energy, decarbonizing homes, and incentivizing electric vehicles.
Committee members asked questions on clean energy reliability, pricing, and how the transition would impact power outages. Mr. Connolly emphasized that Michigan is “at the point where renewable energy is cost effective, especially with federal investments [like the Inflation Reduction Act]”.
He also explained “There are a number of solutions that have to do with decarbonization that will improve reliability. If you look at the investments, the utilities [DTE Energy and Consumers Energy] are transitioning away from coal and fossil fuels. If we don’t get on this pathway, we’re going to see decreased reliability.”
Michigan’s electric utilities prioritize profits over people
Between DTE and Consumers Energy, more than 763,014 homes and businesses were left in the dark amid freezing temperatures – some for more than a week — and almost everyone in lower Michigan has been impacted in some way by the recent ice storm and subsequent widespread power outages.
A second storm threw hundreds of thousands more out of power this past weekend as climate change fueled extreme weather proved once again too much for our vulnerable power grid. Despite years of calling for holistic solutions and real action, Michigan’s utilities have systemically failed to deliver a reliable grid that protects the health and safety of our communities. That must change now.
The good news is that Sen. Sean McCann, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment and Representative Helena Scott, who chairs the House Energy, Communication & Technology Committee, have both called for hearings to dive deep into the issue. In a statement released last Monday, Rep. Scott said:
Public safety is the immediate need we are focusing on; however, once things have settled down, rest assured that my colleagues and I are going to take a very close look at the utility companies and anyone who should be held accountable for things taking so long. We keep seeing more frequent intense storms, so we need improved infrastructure and well-prepared utilities to ensure fast restoration times during weather events like these.”
ELCRA Expanded to Include LGBTQ Rights
Last Wednesday, the Michigan Senate passed Senate Bill 0004 to expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to protect the rights of LGBTQ Michiganders under Michigan’s anti-discrimination laws. The legislation passed via a 23-15 vote and is expected to be signed by Gov. Whitmer.
Update From Washington
Holding elected officials accountable for their votes is one of the most important ways Michigan LCV and our national partners LCV succeed in keeping the environment on the agenda in Lansing and in Washington D.C. Yesterday the League of Conservation Voters released their annual scorecard which tracked every vote on the national level that had an environmental impact.”
Read the full article here.