Small Business Not Buying “Clean Energy” Ballot Attempt

If a newly organized group calling itself Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan has its way, Michigan’s major electrical utility providers would be mandated to produce 30-percent of their energy — at minimum — from renewable sources no later than 2030, but at least one major business advocacy group isn’t buying it.

Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan is poised to roll out a ballot proposal petition drive in hopes of getting their mandate on the fall ballot for voters to weigh in on. It would propose the substantive increase in the state’s development of solar, wind and other renewable energy sources, but the National Federation of Independent Business — the NFIB — is announcing full-tilt opposition to the group and their petition drive.

As one of the state’s leading advocates for small-business owners, the NFIB is making it clear they want no part of any environmental group forcing Michigan’s electric providers to such a mandate. NFIB State Director Charlie Owens says, “Small-business owners are wary of any policy that seeks to promote ‘green’ energy sources at the expense of rate-payers overall.” He adds, “Many of the renewable sources of power are not viable in the marketplace and only exist because of taxpayer or rate-payer subsidies.”

Owens cited the voter’s rejection of the 2012 “25 by 25” renewable energy ballot proposal as evidence that Michigan citizens are not supportive of forced quotas for green energy sources. That proposal, advanced by the state’s environmental groups, would have required that 25-percent of Michigan’s energy come from renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass by 2025. Currently Michigan law requires that 15-percent of energy produced come from renewable sources by 2022.

Owens referred to a survey of NFIB members done in 2012 in response to the 2012 renewable energy ballot proposal. When asked: “Do you support a Constitutional requirement that 25-percent of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2025?” the result was 89-percent NO, 8-percent YES and 3-percent Undecided. The current ballot effort differs from the 2012 attempt in that it would initiate legislation, not create a constitutional amendment, but that doesn’t change anything as far as Owens is concerned.

He argues, “Small-business owners understand that when you subsidize this kind of economically unviable technology by slapping the cost on existing rate payers, all you are doing is raising energy prices on everyone else so a select few can reap the rewards of a corporate handout.”

Owens says that NFIB will be working vigorously to get the truth out about this proposal and seeking its defeat at the polls.

For more information about NFIB, you can visit www.nfib.com and the NFIB/Michigan state page, www.nfib.com/michigan.

NFIB is one of the nation’s leading small business associations, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. The organization’s powerful network of grassroots activists sends their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through a unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system.