Utility Front Group Inundates Michiganders with Misleading Ads

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

News from Clean Energy Now

December 7, 2015

Contact: Marissa Luna, 989-798-3051, marissa@engagemichigan.org

Utility Front Group Inundates Michiganders with Misleading Ads

Utility-backed ads seek to mislead public to support bad energy bills that eliminate Michigan’s renewable energy, energy efficiency standards

MICHIGAN – Citizens for Michigan’s Energy Future (CMEF), a utility front group, has begun to inundate Michiganders’ mailboxes with misleading ads asking people to call their representatives to tell them to support legislation that would eliminate Michigan’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. The group also released a video ad in September calling for public support for the same legislation. The ads falsely claim that Michigan is facing an energy shortfall that the only solution is to build more expensive, dirty power plants.

“Michiganders are tired of being bombarded by these misleading, erroneous ads. I have personally be contacted by several folks who are angry and confused by the mass mailings that CMEF has been sending out,” said Mike Berkowitz, Legislative Director, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter. “Michiganders know that best solution to meet our energy needs is to invest in renewable energy like wind and solar and that’s what utilities should be supporting. Utility companies aren’t fooling anyone with these ads.”

CMEF has already spent more than $800,000 on TV ads this year. In addition, utilities have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations and lobbying.

“Utility companies might have millions of dollars to spend on misleading ads and buying off representatives in the legislature, but they don’t have the support of the majority of Michiganders who want more wind and solar,” said Nic Clark, state director of Clean Water Action. “According to a report from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, Michigan’s prominent energy companies contributed over $500,000 in political contributions from November 24, 2014 through October 20, 2015.”

Utilities in Michigan are on track to meet a 2008 renewable energy standard that requires that they generate 10 percent of their energy from renewable sources like wind and solar by the end of 2015. Additionally, most coal plants in Michigan are old and outdated and need to be retired. Elected officials in Lansing must now determine where utilities will be required to obtain the energy to power Michigan homes and businesses.

“Since 2008, Michigan’s utilities have obstructed efforts to further expand renewable energy and energy efficiency standards in the state, despite evidence that these measures can protect public health and Michigan’s Great Lakes, save people money on utility bills, and mitigate climate change,” said Alexis Blizman, policy director for the Ecology Center. “It’s clear that the utilities’ main motivation for promoting increased investment in dirty fossil fuels is short-term profit and their bottom lines, even if it means sacrificing our health and environment. Our elected leaders, on the other hand, have a duty to the people of Michigan to keep building a sustainable clean energy economy so that we can continue to enjoy an inhabitable planet and that’s the course of action that they should be taking.”

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Clean Energy Now is a coalition of groups that supports policies that will move Michigan beyond coal power and toward greater use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency as a way to protect the environment and build prosperity. Follow the campaign at MICleanEnergyNow.org.

Posted in Press Release

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