FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 9, 2010
Renewable energy standard, energy efficiency will create jobs, strong energy economy
LANSING – ReEnergize Michigan! today called on House Speaker Andy Dillon and House energy committee Chair Jeff Mayes to immediately pass energy reforms – including a stronger renewable energy standard and doubling energy efficiency – that can create new jobs and strengthen Michigan’s future in the wake of the Kalamazoo River oil disaster.
The call for action also comes as a National Wildlife Federation report shows Michigan ranks ninth nationally in pipeline incidents, with 61 significant pipeline and other oil-related incidents in the past 10 years, resulting in five deaths and 26 injuries. In addition, oil companies are seeking to build more pipelines to carry crude tar sands oil through the Midwest, possibly including Michigan and potentially endangering Lake Michigan.
“The Kalamazoo River oil disaster proves Michigan needs real energy reforms now, and that means ramping up clean energy and shutting the tap on oil,” said Gayle Miller of the Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Speaker Andy Dillon and Chairman Jeff Mayes must end the delays and immediately pass energy reforms that will help make our state a leader in the fastest growing sectors of today’s economy. More clean energy and more energy efficiency will create Michigan jobs and help Michigan families save on their energy bills, while at the same time protecting our Great Lakes for generations to come.”
The Michigan House has repeatedly delayed action on important energy reforms that include:
- Raising Michigan’s renewable energy standard from 10 percent by 2015 to 30 percent by 2025
- Doubling Michigan’s energy efficiency requirements for electricity from 1 percent to 2 percent and for natural gas from 0.75 percent to 1.5 percent
The ruptured pipe that spilled more than 1 million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River in late July was carrying crude oil from tar sands in western Canada through Michigan and to Sarnia, Ontario. Processing oil from tar sands is an especially destructive process, devastating the environment and presenting serious health risks to people. The Kalamazoo River oil spill has already killed fish and wildlife, and raises real health concerns for people who live or work near the river, including possible respiratory illness and potential exposure to known carcinogens.
“As long as Lansing politicians drag their feet on clean energy reforms, Michigan communities will continue to be put at risk of oil disasters like the one that devastated the Kalamazoo River,” said Susan Harley of Clean Water Action. “Clean Michigan energy is the best way to reduce our dependence on oil and create Michigan jobs. The Kalamazoo River spill is a stark warning to Lansing that we must act now to build a clean energy economy for Michigan.”
“Clean energy is our future, and we urge Lansing to put our future ahead of the profits of Big Oil,” Progress Michigan Executive Director David Holtz said. “Andy Dillon and Jeff Mayes have repeatedly trumpeted their support for clean energy, Michigan jobs, the Great Lakes and public health – and yet they have repeatedly stonewalled real energy reforms that can make Michigan stronger for the future. A million gallons of crude oil that is devastating one of the great rivers of the Midwest should be a clear enough sign to Lansing that business as usual is unacceptable.”
A Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance report shows that increasing Michigan’s electricity efficiency standard requirements from 1 percent to 2 percent by 2019 will save more than $15.6 billion in energy costs for ratepayers through 2025. The reports also shows that doubling the annual natural gas savings rate from 0.75 percent to 1.5 percent will save consumers $7 billion through 2025. The MEEA reports that increasing our energy efficiency will help create more than 7,600 new jobs by 2019.
By 2020, clean energy will create up to 42,000 jobs in Michigan and as many as 1.9 million jobs nationally, according to an October 2009 study by researchers at the University of Illinois, Yale University and the University of California-Berkley.
Even in tough times, clean energy has created more than 100,000 jobs in Michigan – an 8-percent increase while jobs overall declined 5.4 percent from 2005 to 2008, according to a May 2009 Michigan Green Jobs Report.