Backers of a renewable energy standard, looking at the bright side

Did you know that Proposal 3, in favor of a renewable energy standard for the state of Michigan, got almost 2 million votes yesterday?

Yep…it says so right in a release from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

According to the statement, it got those votes “despite a well-funded disinformation campaign” that was funded by coal interests and people from “out of state,” who are apparently always bad, except maybe when they’re active in the state they’re located. Because then they’re not out of state.

“The ballot initiative was a hard fought battle,” Kevin Knobloch, president of UCS, said in the press release. “More than half a million people signed petitions to put renewable energy on the ballot in Michigan, and poll after poll showed a majority of voters supporting Proposal 3 well into September.”

There’s a lot of things like that in the press release. It isn’t just an attack on the proposal’s enemies, including those all-purpose villians, the Koch brothers. The release also positively touts the benefits of renewable energy, and it says utilities in the state are already on their way to meet a 10% renewable mandate at what the UCS says is a cost less than projected. Proposal 3 called for a 25% renewable standard.

Here’s one thing you won’t find in the release: the word “lose.” Proposal 3 did lose, and not by a little. This story from the Detroit News notes that the “no” vote on Proposal 3 was about 63%.

The only hint you get from the release that success didn’t come to UCS’ initiative is a statement that Detroit Edison’s efforts at defeating Proposal 3 “(denied) Michigan the opportunity to invest in more wind, solar, biomass and other clean energy resources,” and that Detroit Edison is “protecting its coal plants and other investments in coal mining and transport.”

There’s another word that isn’t in the release: Constitution. Proposal 3 wasn’t going to be just a renewable energy law, like many states have; as my colleague Kathy Larsen noted, it was to be enshrined in the state’s Constitution. Critics of the proposal focused in on that as overreach, possibly adding to the trouncing the standard received at the polls.

But the UCS statement tries to keep its best foot forward. It’s like the famous Monty Python song, even in the face of an almost 2-1 defeat.


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