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Msg  515052 of 519902  at  12/8/2023 7:44:02 AM  by

W


Michigan Dems Sell Out Their Voters To Government Subsidized Climate Oligarchs

 

Michigan Dems Big Foot The Locals

Michigan strips rural communities of zoning authority, becomes fourth Democratic state to side with Big Wind and Big Solar against landowners

DEC 7, 2023
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer with legislators at a ceremony on November 28, at which she signed legislation that strips local communities of their zoning authority over large wind and solar projects. Photo: Bridge Michigan, Janelle D. James.

When it comes to zoning and property rights in rural America, Big Wind and Big Solar can count on Democratic legislators to carry their water.

The latest proof of that came on November 3, when Democratic legislators in the Michigan House of Representatives, on a party-line vote, passed two bills that will give bureaucrats in Lansing the authority to site wind and solar projects. Identical bills passed the state’s senate, again, on a party-line vote. One Michigan media outlet explained that the measures will “let state regulators override local decisions about where to allow large-scale wind and solar arrays. The bills, which pitted environmentalists against local government advocates, passed narrowly along party lines, 20 to 18, with unanimous support from the Senate Democratic majority.”

Last week, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, signed the bills into law. In addition, she signed a measure requiring utilities in the state to sell 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040.

In passing the legislation, Michigan became the fourth state controlled by Democrats to strip rural communities of their zoning authority and give it to bureaucrats in their respective state capitals. In doing so, it follows California, New York, and most recently, Illinois. In January, that state’s governor, Jay Pritzker, a Democrat, signed into law a measure that “prevents counties from enacting preemptive local ordinances that outright ban local wind and solar projects.” That quote comes from a press release issued by the Illinois Environmental Council, which carried the headline, “Gov. Pritzker Signs Legislation Protecting Clean Energy Projects.”

The IEC’s press release headline shows how far environmental protection has strayed from its traditional roots.

Today, it’s not people or the environment that need protecting. It’s clean energy projects that need protecting. It must also be noted that the IEC, like the Sierra Club, is stridently anti-nuclear. Earlier this year, both groups lobbied to prevent Illinois from lifting its decades-old ban on new nuclear power plants.

Indeed, this big footing of local communities in Democratic states in favor of Big Solar and Big Wind is the quintessence of centralization of political power. It’s not just the centralization of power for the sake of politics; it’s the centralization of power in service of the NGO-industrial-corporate-climate complex. It’s centralization of power in the name of climatisim and renewable energy fetishism. It’s centralization of power that benefits big business, big law firms, and big banks and allows them to extract more rent (read tax credits) from the government.

The vote in Michigan shows, again, the enormous political and cultural divide between urban America and rural America. Democrats don’t care about rural America. They don’t get votes from rural Americans, so their attitude is, to put it bluntly: “fuck them.” The urban-rural divide can easily seen in the 2020 presidential election, in which Trump won nearly five times as many counties as Biden. (Trump won 2,588 counties, Biden prevailed in 551.)

The 2020 presidential election results, by county, with red showing Republican counties and blue showing Democratic counties. Map credit: Wikipedia.

The urban-rural divide is also obvious when it comes to Big Wind and Big Solar. Here’s what I wrote in June about the situation in Ohio, which borders Michigan but is controlled by Republicans:

In 2021, the Ohio legislature passed SB52, which affirms the right of local communities to have control over the construction of renewable energy projects. The bill, which was signed into law by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, (a Republican) passed both chambers of the Ohio legislature but did not get a single vote from a Democratic legislator. In response to SB52, in 2022, several dozen Ohio townships and counties passed measures prohibiting the construction of big renewable projects.

Michigan has long been a hotbed of resistance to large-scale wind and solar projects. As seen in the Renewable Rejection Database, out of the 603 rejections or restrictions passed against wind or solar in the U.S. since 2015, 59 have occurred in Michigan. The latest rejection came last month when planning commissioners in Fort Gratiot unanimously vetoed a permit for a solar project that would have covered 900 acres of the township.

These battles have been ongoing for years. In 2017, in National Review, I wrote about the lawsuits that NextEra Energy, the world’s largest producer of renewable energy, filed in federal court against Ellington and Almer Townships as part of an effort to intimidate the townships into accepting a massive wind project they didn’t want. I explained that the townships were:

Fighting a 118-megawatt NextEra project that would put more than four dozen 500-foot-high wind turbines on roughly 10,000 acres in Tuscola County; the facility would cover about 15 square miles. NextEra’s litigation against the two townships is the latest example of the backlash against Big Wind in rural Michigan.

As I noted in these pages in April, rural communities are fighting the landscape-blighting sprawl of Big Wind and Big Solar for many reasons, including reduced property values and noise pollution:

A 2020 study in Rhode Island found that prices of homes located close to solar projects went down by as much as 7%. A study released last month by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory concluded that solar projects can reduce the value of nearby properties by as much as 5%. Wind projects can also reduce property values. A 2014 study by the London School of Economics found wind projects can reduce the value of nearby homes by as much as 12% and a 2019 study of German homes by research outfit RWI found that evaluating some three million offers from an online real estate website, wind projects can reduce the value of nearby homes by about 7%.

The undeniable fact is that solar and wind projects are politically popular but nobody wants to live near them. That’s particularly true for wind projects. Rural residents don’t want to see red-blinking light atop 50-or 60-story high wind turbines all night, every night, for the rest of their lives. They are also rightly concerned about the annoyance and deleterious health effects that can be caused by prolonged exposure to the low-frequency noise, infrasound, and noise pollution that is generated by giant wind turbines, a problem that was documented way back in 2009 by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Back in Michigan, news outlets are quoting Dan Scripps, the chair of the Michigan Public Service Commission, which regulates the state’s biggest utilities, including DTE and Consumers. Scripps estimates Michigan needs to cover 209,000 acres of land with wind and solar developments to meet the state’s renewable energy goals. Scripps has also said the big utilities can’t meet those goals because of stiff local opposition. “It’s difficult to see how we meet these commitments or our broader renewable energy goals without meaningful siting reform,” he said

That 209,000 acres that Scripps says is needed for wind and solar is roughly equal to 327 square miles. For perspective, the city of Detroit covers 139 square miles. In other words, Michigan Democrats are eager to cover a land area 2.3 times the size of Detroit with oceans of solar panels and forests of wind turbines in the name of trying to do something about climate change.

I recently talked to Norm Stephens, a resident of Almer Township. Stephens was at the forefront of the fight against NextEra’s massive wind project in 2017. He told me Whitmer and Michigan legislators “have allied themselves with Fortune 500 companies to force rural Michigan residents into accepting intermittent, unreliable, non-dispatchable and weather dependent renewable energy projects within shouting distance of their homes.” He continued, calling the move “corporatocracy.”

He went on (my emphasis added):

It’s an economic and political ploy by businesses, corporations and the government to push their agenda on an unwilling and an understandably angry constituency. Under the guise of clean and green energy, Michigan's legislators and the Governor have resorted to a power and money grab for the urban elite.

Last week, before she signed the bills on renewable siting and zero-carbon electricity, Whitmer resorted to one of the oldest bogeymen in modern American politics. She issued a statement that falsely claimed the new zero-carbon electricity mandate would reduce “reliance on foreign” oil. She also claimed that giving state bureaucrats authority over wind and solar projects was needed because, “It's your land, you should have the freedom to use it however you want.”

Somewhere, George Orwell must be smiling.

 


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