To the editor:
Michigan voters have an opportunity to support Proposal 3 to increase the renewable energy standard for electric utilities to 25 percent by 2025. If approved, this will create much-needed Michigan jobs and attract billions of dollars in investments to the clean energy sector, the world's fastest-growing industry.
Not only can Proposal 3 help rebuild Michigan's manufacturing sector and put people back to work, it can also reduce pollution that threatens public health and endangers our Great Lakes, rivers, lands and air.
Here in the Western Upper Peninsula, healthy natural resources are essential to our quality of life and to local economies, including tourism, forestry and fishing. By increasing our use of clean renewable energy, Proposal 3 will reduce pollution that puts these sectors at risk and keep our natural resource strong for future generations.
More than 140 scientists, academics and experts support Proposal 3. We join a broad, bipartisan coalition of more than 300 businesses, faith leaders, Republicans, Democrats, conservationists, health professionals and others in urging Michigan to vote yes on Proposal 3. Michigan has the manufacturing capacity, innovation, entrepreneurship, more than enough wind, biomass and solar resources, and the skilled workforce to become a leader in the clean energy sector.
An August study by Michigan State University economists shows that Proposal 3 can generate at least 74,000 Michigan jobs. The study also shows that Proposal 3 can bring in $10.3 billion in new investments to the State.
Many other states have renewable energy measures similar to Proposal 3, including Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. They're creating jobs and driving their economies forward. Michigan has an opportunity to catch up in the clean energy race. Nearly 60 percent of Michigan's electricity comes from imported coal.
In 2011, Michigan families and businesses spent more than $1.7 billion importing coal from other states, shipping out our money - and jobs. Proposal 3 can help us keep more of our money in Michigan and grow economic opportunities here.
To protect ratepayers, Proposal 3 limits rate increases from the measure to 1 percent annually. An independent study shows that initially, the cost will be only 50 cents a month, with electricity costs being reduced in the long run.
Proposal 3 is vital to our future here in the Upper Peninsula, benefiting our local economy, strengthening our natural resources, and protecting our way of life. On November 6, vote yes on Proposal 3.
These are the personal views of the authors and don't represent official opinions of Michigan Technological University.
BARRY SOLOMON, Houghton
AND SARAH GREEN, Calumet