On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Michiganders can vote for a future that will create jobs today and for the next generation, rein in high energy costs and reduce dangerous pollution that harms our air and water as well as the health of our children.
For these reasons, the League of Women Voters of Michigan urges a yes vote on Proposal 3 to increase Michigan's renewable energy standard to 25 percent by 2025.
From a study by Michigan State University economists, we estimate that Proposal 3 will create 94,000 Michigan jobs and generate $10.3 billion in new investments.
President Bill Clinton also urges a yes vote and said: "Proposal 3 invests in Michigan's future so that it won't get left behind by the 30 other states that are already creating new clean energy jobs and lowering consumers' electricity costs." The Illinois Power Agency has reported its 25 by 2025 renewable energy standard reduced electricity prices by $176 million.
Compare that with the status quo in Michigan, where the two largest utilities Consumers Energy and DTE Energy have already increased rates by double digits this year alone. Passing Proposal 3 is the best way to protect ratepayers and businesses from such outrageous price hikes. To protect consumers, Proposal 3 explicitly says utilities can't raise rates by any more than 1 percent in any given year to implement 25 by 25.
More than 30 other states have measures similar to Proposal 3, including our Midwest neighbors Ohio, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota, who are creating new energy manufacturing jobs.
These states are leading the way in clean energy. If they can do it, so can Michigan, and unless we pass Proposal 3 on Nov. 6, Michigan will get left behind in the clean energy race.
Burning coal and oil endangers our Great Lakes, rivers and air, and the health of our families. Moving to more clean, renewable energy reduces pollution, that's why the Michigan Nurses Association has called Proposal 3 "the most important public health initiative in decades."
Study after study also shows that pollution is the culprit for high rates of childhood asthma, lung diseases, heart attacks, respiratory illnesses and even premature deaths. Michigan has among the worst polluting coal plants in the nation, and that they disproportionately harm African Americans and Latinos, according to a recently released report by the NAACP, which also endorsed Proposal 3.
According to the data we found from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Michigan imports all our coal, costing families and businesses more than $1.7 billion a year. The cost of transporting coal to Michigan is also skyrocketing, increasing 71 percent since 2006. That's money and jobs that we should keep here, instead of sending to other states.
On Election Day, Michigan voters have a choice. They can stick with a failed status quo that leads to higher energy bills for families, more money getting shipped to coal states and dangerous pollution.
Or, voters can support clean, Michigan-made energy that will create jobs, rebuild Michigan manufacturing, keep costs in check while reducing our dependence on imported coal and foreign oil, and help reduce high rates of childhood asthma, lung diseases and other illnesses.
For a stronger Michigan, vote YES on Proposal 3.