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MEC’s Urgent Action Fund unleashed to tip the balance toward sound energy policy

The Michigan Environmental Council’s Urgent Action Fund demonstrated its worth this summer in the battle to pass modern energy policies in the Michigan Legislature.

Hope sprang eternal early in the summer when a reasonable energy package passed the House of Representatives with a modest requirement that utilities generate 10% of their energy from renewable sources by 2015; create a 1% per year energy efficiency savings for customers; and establish a resource planning process that puts clean energy and efficiency programs on a level playing field with expensive, polluting new coal plants.

Hopes that the package would be improved by the State Senate were crushed when senators voted for a feeble substitute energy package that required virtually no new renewable energy generation and a dismal effort at efficiency programming. The Senate package would rank Michigan dead last among 27 states with renewable energy standards.

Michigan Environmental Council and its energy coalition partners responded vigorously. Letters flowed into legislators’ offices and local newspapers, a demonstration was held at the State Capitol, and the Council unleashed more than $30,000 from its Urgent Action Fund to purchase newspaper ads (example on this page) comparing the competing bills and urging citizens to call their legislators.

The Action Fund is designed as a flexible tool to be used when fast-moving policy decisions dictate decisive action.

The ads were reportedly included in high-level meetings among legislators and state agencies working on the energy package, and generated positive buzz in the communities they targeted—Oakland County, Macomb County, Saginaw, Monroe, Holland and Grand Rapids.

Days later, the House of Representatives voted not to accept the Senate’s substandard plan. At press time, discussions about resolving the impasse were underway.
RELATED TOPICS: clean energy
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