Letter: Michigan must control its own future

In a recent column, Christopher Douglas (Re: “Snyder invites a federal energy takeover,” Sept. 14) repeats misunderstandings about recently-announced carbon emission reduction targets. The truth is, Michigan has a choice: protect Michigan by writing our own energy plan, or risk letting Washington, D.C., bureaucrats dictate our future. Doing nothing will neither protect Michigan ratepayers nor promote Michigan’s economic recovery.

The Michigan Manufacturers Association represents nearly 2,500 companies in the largest sector of Michigan’s economy. Manufacturing employs more than 598,000 Michiganders. We applaud Gov. Rick Snyder for his leadership on energy policy and support his response to the federal mandate to write a state carbon implementation plan so that Michigan citizens and the business community can have a real voice in crafting a plan that controls costs and Michigan businesses can remain competitive.

While the MMA believes that the EPA rules will hurt Michigan’s and our nation’s competitiveness in the global economy, the reality is that if Michigan fails to craft its own plan and the federal rule remains in place, we will be offering the federal government the opportunity to dictate how Michigan must meet the federal standards, ignoring input from Michigan’s citizens. Rather than reflecting the needs of Michigan’s economy, a federal plan will be written for us by the people who crafted this rule in the first place. Gov. Snyder has opened the door to a state energy policy that builds on our strengths and will control costs in the event these rules become enforceable in the coming years.

Manufacturing is driving Michigan’s economic recovery with the creation of more than 157,000 manufacturing jobs since June of 2009. In fact, Michigan has led the nation in manufacturing job growth for the last five years. Manufacturing is a critical driver in the successful reinvention of Michigan. The state’s unemployment rate has dropped to just 5.1 percent.

The MMA is not the only organization that believes we need to take advantage of every opportunity to keep Michigan’s future in our own hands. Other supporters include Michigan’s energy providers (including every company that owns a coal plant that will continue operation past 2020), businesses, conservatives, religious groups, agriculture, health professionals, environmental groups and more.

We also support legal efforts to overturn this uncompetitive federal rule. We believe a dual approach, including both designing our own plan to meet the federal mandate, and challenging the legal authority of the federal mandate is appropriate. But ignoring the federal mandate and only pursuing a legal strategy is not a prudent strategy for Michigan manufacturers or the citizens of Michigan. Michigan must grab the reins and take control of our energy future by writing our own state carbon implementation plan.

Michigan manufacturers stand ready to work with the administration and legislative policymakers to find ways to craft an energy plan that protects Michigan’s manufacturing-led economic recovery. Working together, we believe we can continue the success of Michigan’s reinvention by crafting an energy future that will control costs and allow us to compete with manufacturers across the country and around the world.

Mike Johnston, vice president of

government affairs

Michigan Manufacturers Association