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Dems’ Resolution Supports Local Farmers, Clean Power

Livingston County Democrats are urging voters to decline to sign petitions supporting a ballot proposal that would make it harder for farmers to lease their land for clean energy projects.

The county party’s executive committee adopted a resolution supporting clean energy and opposing the Citizens for Local Choice ballot proposal. That proposal would repeal laws giving the Michigan Public Services Commission the power to approve sites for commercial solar and wind power operations.

“Livingston County Democrats are supporting the freedom of local farmers to host clean energy projects. At the same time, we want to protect the health of our planet and people, both of which are threatened by the use of dirty fuels,” said Judy Daubenmier, chair of the Livingston County Democratic Party.

The resolution states that many Michigan farmers are interested in leasing their land to solar power operations to earn additional income, making it possible for future generations to afford to keep family farms. But the ballot proposal, if adopted, would interfere with farmers’ freedom to use their property as they see fit when no harm results to their neighbors, the resolutions states.

That’s because false claims that clean energy causes pollution have been spread by opponents of clean power, leading at least 26 governmental bodies in Michigan to pass zoning ordinances that effectively prevent the construction and operation of solar and wind operations, according to the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School.

The resolution notes that generating electricity from clean sources such as solar and wind is now cheaper than generating it from dirty sources such as fossil fuels, according to the Energy Initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Electricity from clean energy can save Michigan households $145 a year on electricity bills, according to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, the resolution notes. In addition, EGLE projects that expanding clean energy in Michigan can create 160,000 jobs and bring Michigan up to $8 billion in federal tax dollars.

The resolution states that that public services commission already has the power to determine routes for pipelines and the sites of other energy transmission facilities, so clean energy projects should be no different.

Energy providers would be required to negotiate with local communities before approaching the MPSC, the resolution notes. They also would be required to provide communities generous payments for hosting clean energy facilities, saving taxpayers money, it adds.

The resolution was adopted at the party’s March 28 meeting.

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