By Aric Nesbitt
Senate Republican Leader
A legacy has been left by past leaders that made our air clearer, our water cleaner, and the land healthier than the previous generation. A key part of that legacy is responsible innovation in our energy sector that provides reliable, affordable power to our communities.
Unfortunately, the extreme, spontaneous proposal thrown together by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and legislative Democrats would set Michigan on a disastrous economic course and stifle growth in our communities.
The undeniable truth of the Lansing Democrats’ “Green New Deal” is that Michigan families and job creators will pay much higher energy costs. In fact, during one of the very few hearings held on this proposal, one of the bill sponsors admitted implementing these radical policies would be more costly.
Most of that additional cost burden will be thrust upon Michigan families and businesses — as if the prices of groceries, gas, and housing aren’t enough. This, on top of the almost $2 billion in payroll and income tax increases proposed by Lansing Democrats, will make life, for some, unaffordable.
This rushed plan also does nothing to address the reliability of our electric grid; in fact, it reduces its reliability by increasing the likelihood of forced blackouts and rolling brownouts.
Wind and solar, while the most accessible forms of renewable energy, are still subject to Michigan’s unpredictable weather and limited to certain times of day. If you eliminate natural gas, nuclear and other forms of generation, as Democrats propose, you eliminate the ability to have adequate amounts of electricity on the grid.
Whether it’s states like California and Illinois grudgingly bringing nuclear plants back online or countries like Germany that shuttered nuclear plants only to become reliant on Russian natural gas, extreme environmentalist approaches to energy policy typically result in having to correct course and revert back to traditional fuels and nuclear power that will make sure the lights come on when you flip the switch.
In 2016, the legislature passed a bipartisan energy package that updated our laws, kept costs consistent, and strengthened the reliability of the electric grid. The process, in the House alone, included 12 committee hearings where legislators heard almost 40 hours of testimony from over 70 individuals.
But what we have seen up until this point has been a shell of what energy policy debate and reform has been under previous legislatures.
There is no telling the missteps that will occur as a result of the rushed nature of these bills, which are seemingly being fast-tracked to pad a certain someone’s far-left presidential resume.
Crafting and implementing a state energy policy is not something you rush through for political gain and expediency.
When all forms of energy are promoted and utilized, America is a strong, energy-independent nation and a powerful energy exporter in the world economy.
Michigan and America need an “all of the above” energy approach that will allow us to utilize affordable, reliable energy, like natural gas and nuclear power, to help us transition to cleaner, renewable resources. Democrats should slow down, work in a bipartisan manner, and find real solutions to our future energy challenges.
If not, the consequences will be devastating.
Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-Porter Township, represents Michigan’s 20th Senate District. This op-ed appeared in the Set. 26, 2023 edition of The Detroit News.