Lansing–A ballot campaign seeking to add a 25 percent renewable energy mandate to the state constitution picked up a major endorsement and opponent this week.
The Michigan Education Association, the state’s largest teacher labor union, endorsed requiring utility companies to get 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar and hydro by 2025.
In a statement, MEA President Steven Cook said the 150,000-member union supports lowering the state’s dependence on fossil fuels for electricity.
“Using more clean, renewable energy will reduce asthma rates and exposure to mercury, which is a powerful neurotoxin that affects kids and moms,” Cook said in a statement released by the ballot committee, Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Bill Schuette joined former Attorney General Frank Kelley and ex-Supreme Court Chief Justice Conrad Mallett in opposing the initiative.
“The constitution very clearly is not the place for energy policy,” Schuette said in a statement. “In fact, the constitution itself calls for the Michigan Legislature to set energy policy – in Article IV, Section 50 – so Michigan voters should be wary of this misguided attempt to do an end run around that wise provision.”
In 2008, the Michigan Legislature passed a law requiring utilities to obtain 10 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2015.
The Clean Affordable Renewable Energy for Michigan (C.A.R.E.), a utility-funded group opposing the energy initiative, released Schuette’s statement Thursday as part of a fundraising plea for what’s likely to be a multi-million dollar opposition campaign.