MI Enviros Expose Governor's Mediocre Energy Strategy

Aggressive investment in renewable fuels and energy conservation in Michigan could generate 6,800 jobs, slash statewide energy bills by $2.2 billion, and reduce power plant emmissions linked to global warming by 30 percent as early as 2020, according to an impressive report released today by Environment Michigan.

Ironically, the report is the latest blow to Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm's energy innovation agenda. The authors compared their recommendations - which include a mix of energy conservation, renewables spending, and resistance to new coal plants - to the recommendations set forth in Gov. Granholm's recently released 21st Century Energy Plan. The comparison revealed a timid state energy plan.

"[The governor's plan] would bring only 1/3 as many jobs and approximately half the consumer savings because of its tepid recommendations on clean energy," Environment Michigan stated in a press release.

Ouch. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for a governor who has staked her state's economic resurgence on a bold, supposedly cutting edge ultra modern energy initiative. If this were a baseball game, the governor would be out on a called third strike.

Strike one, the governor backed away from embracing a more aggressive and visionary renewable energy goal in her 2007 State of the State. The state's Urban Core Mayors called for 15 percent renewables by 2015. The governor called for 10 percent.

Strike two, the governor continues to resist a gas tax increase, even though the idea is supported by state business leaders and Republicans and is arguably the most direct route to promote energy conservation and the expansion of alternative fuels.

Strike three, a prominent member of the state's environmental community, typically staunch supporters of the Granholm Administration, issues a stinging rebuke that essentially says her energy plans is mediocre at best.

Governor Granholm can step back up to the plate, and get back in the energy game, by taking a strong position on a coal-fired power plant proposed for Northeast Michigan. Will she seize the opportunity?

Stay tuned...