It’s all about power – and local control over land use
Jan. 6, 2024 PLYMOUTH VOICE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Recently enacted Michigan climate change legislation now gives state regulators, rather than local officials, the power to approve zoning for certain wind and solar projects over local objections.
According to Bridge Michigan, critics and opponents of the new laws, farmers and landowners alike, are pushing back, and plan to challenge and overturn the laws in November through a ballot measure.
“Public Act 233 was passed as part of a broader suite of energy bills to steer the state more quickly toward renewable energy… and create a statewide permitting system for large-scale wind, solar and energy storage projects, which were previously vetted by local governments. Instead, the three members of Michigan Public Service Commission, who are appointed by the governor, will have authority to approve or deny projects.”
The MPSC already has authority to site natural gas and petroleum pipelines.
The Citizens for Local Choice needs approval of the ballot language from the Board of State Canvassers before collecting signatures. With approval the group has 180 days to collect 356,958 valid signatures from registered voters.
“Zoning is, and should remain, a local issue,” said Rep. Dave Prestin, a Republican from Cedar River in the Upper Peninsula. “Local governments know their communities better than any unelected Lansing bureaucrat, and they especially know better than the three members of the Michigan Public Service Commission.”
“This is not about whether renewables are appropriate or not,” said Roger Johnson, chair of the Deerfield Township Planning Commission in Lenawee County and a member of the ballot committee’s leadership team. “It’s not whether wind and solar is the answer to issues of global warming. It’s about siting. And Michigan’s tradition has been that villages, cities, townships…deal with land use.”
“These decisions on the location for the renewable facilities create a lasting change for a community, for their future development, for their businesses, for their farmland. And this is all for a minimum of 25 to 50 years. So it should not be taken lightly,” Judy Allen-Michigan Townships Association as quoted to NPR-Michigan Radio.