Attorney General Bill Schuette joined a lawsuit last week to block the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants in Michigan — his latest disappointing move to challenge common-sense protections for our land, air and water.
While business leaders, nurses and doctors, faith leaders of all denominations and Gov. Rick Snyder want to see Michigan comply with the Clean Power Plan (CPP), Schuette is stepping in to try and stop it. The CPP will limit pollution that contributes to soaring asthma rates in children, mercury levels in fish and climate change. Schuette's attempt to block the CPP directly conflicts with his charge as our state's lead attorney to protect the health and safety of Michigan families.
Schuette suggests that the Clean Power Plan is unachievable. The truth is, due to our 2008 clean energy legislation, Michigan is already halfway toward meeting the CPP goal of reducing carbon pollution from power plants by 32 percent of 2005 levels by 2030. Since 2008, we have created tens of thousands of jobs for Michiganders in the clean energy sector. We have begun our transition from outdated, expensive coal power to more clean energy. And, we have charted a course of powering our state in ways that reduce pollution of our air and water. If we can do that in seven years, imagine the progress we can make over the course of the next 15 years.
According to research by Public Policy Polling, 68 percent of Michigan voters, spanning party lines, support the Clean Power Plan. Given that the CPP allows each state to write a plan that meets unique needs and circumstances, Michigan has the opportunity to ensure continued investment in energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy, rein in high electricity costs, create jobs and — in the process — protect our Great Lakes and our families from pollution.
Schuette fancies himself "Michigan's voice for victims." He has spent years trying to build that reputation, which is inherently at odds with his current effort to block a plan that will protect our children's health, lower health care costs, and protect our air, land and water.
Michiganders deserve a clean, safe and healthy future. We also deserve leaders who will stand up for us, not use taxpayer dollars to wage expensive and ill-conceived attacks on public health safeguards. It is embarrassing that our attorney general has decided to put his own political agenda ahead of the people he was elected to serve.
There are plenty of pressing problems facing our state that the attorney general should be taking on, but fighting against cleaner air and cleaner water is not one of them.
Lisa Wozniak, executive director
Michigan League of Conservation Voters