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Republican energy bills cause stir among environmental, free market groups

A coal-fired power plant
Holland BPW
James De Young coal plant near Lake Macatawa in Holland.

One of the top Republicans in the state House has introduced bills that would make sweeping changes to Michigan’s energy policies. It comes ahead of Governor Rick Snyder’s address on the issue next week.

House Energy Policy Chair Aric Nesbitt’s plan would not require utilities to generate more of their energy using renewable sources.

“Let’s look at it through a wider approach, both on an energy efficiency side, a renewable side, and a mix of energy,” said Nesbitt, R-Lawton, “ instead of artificial goals that may or may not make sense for the best value for the ratepayers in Michigan.”

Democrats and environmental groups say the plan would promote dirtier sources of energy.

“It eliminates Michigan’s successful energy efficiency program, weakens Michigan’s clean renewable energy economy, and  really opens the door to generation of dirty energy sources that pollute our air and drinking water to count towards renewable energy,” said Jack Schmitt with the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

Nesbitt says his plan would reduce energy costs. He says new federal rules already force utilities to increase clean energy production.