Proposal 3 fits in Michigan’s State Constitution

The main red-herring raised by opponents of Proposal 3, Michigan’s Clean Renewable Electric Energy Standard (a.k.a. RES or 25 by ’25), is that it doesn’t belong ‘locked’ in the the state constitution. According to Prop 3 opponents, “Our constitution was designed to establish basic rights, not set detailed energy policy.” The anti-Prop 3 crowd also points to the existing 2008 energy legislation as a signature example of how the legislature sagely works to represent the interest of Michigan’s citizens.

Michigan Welcome Center- Clare US 127

Michigan Welcome Center- Clare US 127

Continue reading Proposal 3 fits in Michigan’s State Constitution

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Last week I was lucky enough to attend an inspiring three-day training from the folks at Climate Reality Project.  Yes, Al Gore actually described recent weather as “a nature hike through the book of Revelations,” but I still stand by “inspiring.”

In particular, the folks I met from Michigan — there were at least 20 of us — were just wonderful. Given what a frustratingly uphill battle this problem is, I plan to take some time to really enjoy and appreciate my new friends. But we’re also going to work. Hard.

Another element of the training I’m excited about is its focus on solutions. Unfortunately, folks in many different sectors are flying right past important work that must be accomplished on climate mitigation to delve into adaptation strategies. That the Climate Reality Project refuses to just adjust to the consequences of big polluters gives me hope.

Another thing that gives me hope is Michigan’s 25% by 2025 ballot initiative. The biggest bang we can get from our buck is by going after dirty energy companies and displacing them with decreased demand (a.k.a. efficiency!) and renewable energy. This is the most incredible energy issue we’ve ever had the opportunity to vote on. David Roberts agrees with me. It’s critical to determining whether we’re going to be leaders in a critical sector. Just to be clear: We truly cannot lose this.

Will you join me in helping to make sure we win?

Michigan’s bottle bill: A bipartisan target

Many of you were probably outside this week enjoying this great weather. Meanwhile, our state legislators were hard at work….trying to weaken the bottle bill.

Legislators — including many Democrats — are trying to push through this amendment to the 1976 bottle bill. The amendment is proposing to exempt a new, but increasingly popular, type of beverage container from the bill. The container in question is a flexible, laminated-foil plastic pouch that looks like small bottle and is often used for alcoholic drinks.

No one knows if these can be recycled yet due to their having multiple materials and because no one has even looked into it. Not surprisingly, companies that use these containers for their beverages don’t want to deal with taking them back. And many grocery stores, who are generally always trying to fight the bottle bill, don’t want to deal with them either.

The natural solution? Landfill them! Well, landfill the ones that end up in the garbage. Since most non-deposit-fee containers end up strewn along roadways, that’s likely where the majority of these new bottles will also go to die.

Apparently not all policy has to take for-e-ver to pass Lansing — HB 5660 was introduced on May 23 and is expected to be on a fast track for approval by the House before June. I just called and verified that Ann Arbor’s Representative, Jeff Irwin, opposes this amendment. If you agree that we don’t want these new containers thrown out all over the state, here’s what you can do: Tell everyone you know outside of Irwin’s district to contact their House Rep to ask that they oppose HB 5660. And do it soon!