by Lauren Gibbons
A ballot proposal aimed at cleaning up Michigan energy policy has some MSU students excited about the state’s energy future, but others believe a cleaner energy future could be reached through better means.
Proposal 3, commonly referred to as the “25-by-25” proposal, would require 25 percent of Michigan’s electrical energy to come from renewable energy resources by 2025. It will appear with five other proposals on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The proposal has widespread support from environmental groups throughout the state who claim the proposed requirements would bring in new renewable energy jobs for Michigan and provide more environmental stability in the long term.
Others, including Gov. Rick Snyder and many of the state’s energy companies, have denounced the proposal for different reasons. Companies claim the cost of producing energy would go up exponentially if changed so drastically, and Snyder said it was bad policy to place such a law in the state Constitution when the federal government has not issued a stance on renewable energy practices.
Molly Black, the student coordinator for Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition, said she is strongly in favor of the proposal.
Black said sixty percent of Michigan’s electricity comes from coal, some of which is imported into the state. Reducing Michigan’s need for coal could benefit many aspects of Michigan’s economy and quality of life for residents, she said.
“A lot of effort goes along with changing how you get energy, but it’ll be really good for our economy,” Black said. “Cleaner energy would also bring carbon dioxide levels down, so the effort would pay off that way too.”
Even though the idea behind the proposal is solid, media and information freshman Madeline Lucci said putting it into the Michigan Constitution could be a little over the top.
“It would help reduce pollution and fossil fuels, but it might be a little much,” she said.
General management freshman Travis Trainor said a more malleable way to promote cleaner energy uses in Michigan would be to pass legislation through the House and Senate. He said the idea could be modified or expanded upon with more ease if the requirement was passed through a legislative body.
“That way, it would be much easier to make changes to it,” he said.
Black said changing a document as important as the Constitution should not be taken lightly, but is something that should be considered when the health of Michigan’s economy and environment are at stake.
“Laws are meant to change throughout history to fit the needs of the current population,” Black said. “It’s not like it’s set in stone — you can change things. I don’t think it would be detrimental.”