State Rep. Jaime Greene today voiced strong opposition to legislation introduced in the House that would strip control away from local communities concerning the construction of large-scale solar and wind energy projects.
House Bill 5120-5123, introduced by House Democrats on Tuesday, would give the unelected Michigan Public Service Commission the authority to permit large solar and wind construction, taking control away from local governments. The three-member board is made of governor appointees, and the governor is publicly supporting a plan to add thousands of square miles of new wind and solar farms in rural communities.
“We deserve to have a say in what happens in our own backyards,” said Greene, R-Richmond. “This is a blatant attempt to silence our voices, and a ruthless power grab that will deprive us of our ability to hold people accountable for the impact these projects have on our environment, economy, and quality of life.”
People throughout the state have turned out in droves to voice opposition to wind and solar projects planned in their communities. In many cases, local boards and commissions have denied construction plans for the projects after listening to their residents’ concerns. Additionally, voters in many Michigan communities have soundly rejected ballot proposals that would have expanded the ability to install wind or solar facilities in their area.
Under House Bill 5120-5123, Greene said the MPSC could force the projects on local communities with little regard for residents’ concerns, and the community would have no ability to hold the unelected commission members accountable.
House Democrats previously introduced House Bills 4759-4761, which would force Michigan electric companies to use entirely carbon-free power sources by 2035, prematurely closing natural gas plants and driving the cost of electricity through the roof.
“This is outrageous,” Greene said. “I am fighting to protect the integrity of our local decision-making authority and ensure that the people who live in rural communities like ours have a say in their future.”
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