LANSING, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - A major package of clean energy bills got Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's signature earlier this week.
"I'm going to sign seven game-changing bills that are going to lower household energy costs by an average of $145 a year, improve reliability, and create 160,000 good paying jobs," Whitmer said at the bill signing on Tuesday.
The overarching package of bills requires Michigan to reach 100% clean energy by 2040, includes language to speed up the permitting process for wind and solar projects, and brings our state in line with similar targets from 20 other states across the country. That's according to the Clean Energy States Alliance.
However, the act was met with frequent and continued opposition from Republican lawmakers in the Michigan legislature.
"This is going to result in more expensive and less reliable energy," said Republican State Rep. Andrew Beeler. "So for the middle class, who is just trying to make ends meet week-to-week, one of your monthly bills just went up maybe 10 times. We got an estimate from an independent source that says this bill package is going to cost Michigan $200 billion over the course of its implementation. Utilities don't pay that. That is deferred to the ratepayers."
That's a view Courtney Bourgoin, the senior policy and advocacy manager for Evergreen Action, pushed back upon.
"I'm not sure where that $200 billion number has been coming from," she said. "Modeling that we commissioned shows that this is going to reduce energy costs. I think the comprehensive nature of the bills that the governor signed are going to really work hand in hand to do that. Things like coal are just getting increasingly uneconomical by the day as the global market energy market moves toward cleaner sources, things like coal are just getting increasingly expensive."
For Beeler, it was the cost and what he called "a lack of diversified energy options."
For Roshan Krishnan with the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, the package doesn't do enough.
"There's a pretty significant lack of ambition in terms of renewable energy rollout," he said. "As an alternative to that, we are being saddled with a lot of really expensive polluting technologies that are. Unlikely to reduce emissions, while very likely to increase pollution in already overburdened communities."
for more features.