Michigan Companies Join Clean Affordable Renewable Energy

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GREENVILLE — Major West Michigan companies including Amway, small businesses, area chambers of commerce and citizen groups today announced their opposition to the 25 percent renewable energy constitutional mandate on the November ballot. The groups also announced that they have joined the Clean Affordable Renewable Energy (CARE) for Michigan Coalition.

“We’ve heard it all before – these job numbers promised by the supporters of this proposal grow by the day, which Michigan voters should find highly questionable,” said Mark Stevens, vice president of the Montcalm County Panhandle Area Chamber of Commerce. “Locking energy policy into our state’s constitution will not create the long-term, sustainable jobs our citizens need and deserve.”

The ballot proposal would change the state constitution to require 25 percent of Michigan’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2025, no matter how much it costs customers. It would make Michigan the first – and only – state in the nation to include an energy standard in its constitution.

“Let’s cut to the bottom line: If Michigan hopes to keep and attract good-paying manufacturing jobs in the future, this will hurt those efforts,” said Bryan Harrison, senior policy adviser at Amway. “While Amway purchases a portion of its energy from renewable sources, the decision to do so was based on solid economics, not artificial government mandates that tinker with markets.

“We were able to lock in a long-term predictable price from our provider and that made good business sense,” Harrison said. “Good economic policy does not ignore the environment, and good environmental policy cannot ignore economics. This proposal fails on both ends.”

West Michigan businesses, labor and local government organizations representing tens of thousands of Michigan residents across West Michigan join a growing number of business, labor, and agricultural and local government groups in the CARE for Michigan Coalition. The West Michigan organizations opposed to the renewable energy mandate include:

• Acemco Inc.
• Agape Plastics
• Amway
• Betz Industries
• Eagle Alloy
• The Frederick Douglass Foundation of Michigan
• Grand Rapids Area Chamber
• Great Lakes Die Cast
• Master Finish Co.
• Metal Components, LLC.
• Montcalm Alliance
• Montcalm Commission on Aging
• Montcalm County Panhandle Area Chamber of Commerce
• Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce
• Rothbury Steel
• Steve’s Antique Auto Repair
• Sunrise Acre Farms
• Trendway Corp.
• Wyoming-Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce

“Members of CARE support renewable energy and want to ensure that Michigan keeps making progress toward its current goal of 10 percent renewable energy by 2015,” said Rick Baker, president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. “However, locking an arbitrary 25 percent by 2025 mandate into our constitution is not the future we want for Michigan families, businesses or our economy.”

Energy experts say meeting the 25 percent standard would require building 5,000 megawatts or more of renewable generating capacity. That would cost at least $12 billion, depending on which renewable sources are used. Using wind energy alone would require building up to 3,100 wind turbines, each taller than the state Capitol.  It also would require about 1,210 square miles of land, which is four times the area of Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Saginaw and Traverse City – combined.

The CARE (Clean Affordable Renewable Energy) for Michigan Coalition is fighting to ensure reliable, clean, affordable energy for Michigan families and businesses. The diverse coalition, including labor and business, Michigan energy providers, citizen groups and local officials, supports the state’s landmark 2008 energy policy, which requires energy providers to generate 10 percent of Michigan’s electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar by 2015. Michigan utilities are halfway there, thanks to current challenging but realistic goals.  The coalition opposes efforts to alter the state constitution to inject an arbitrary, ill-considered 25 percent renewable energy standard and urges Michigan residents to support the state’s current reasonable and responsible standard.

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