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Six Clean Energy Campaign Lessons that Matter for 2013

By: Heather Taylor-Miesle NRDC Action Fund Tuesday January 8, 2013 1:00 pm

It is the start of a New Year, and the long election of 2012 is behind us now, but that doesn’t mean the campaigning is over. A new Congress and a second Obama term present opportunities to advance clean energy and climate action, yet given the persistent gridlock in Washington, it will take a sustained effort to generate the public pressure and bolster the political will to put smart policies in place. The 2012 race offers some lessons about how best to build that momentum.

The 2012 election revealed a good deal about energy politics. Energy received more coverage in campaign ads than any issue except jobs and the economy. Fossil fuel companies spent more than $150 million in ad campaigns by mid-September, and Former Governor Romney echoed the industry’s talking points on the stump, calling for more drilling, more coal-fired power, and skirting the reality of climate change on more than one occasion.

Yet despite the dirty ad blitz and anti-environmental rhetoric, Americans roundly rejected this polluting energy platform. Up and down the ticket, they chose candidates who support clean energy, clean air, and strong public health safeguards.

Now we have to help leaders deliver what voters asked for. How can we keep the momentum going for expanding wind and solar power and reducing toxic smokestack pollution? How can fight back against deep-pocketed polluters? How can we persuade Congress the time has come to confront climate change? The 2012 campaigns provide some answers.

1. Local Success Stories Inspire Support

Everyone is familiar with the old adage: all politics are local. The same is true for the politics of clean energy and climate change. A few years ago, we noticed it was easy to build support for clean energy in California, because the clean energy sector is such a vibrant part of the state’s economy—generating jobs, attracting investment, and enhancing the local tax base. Now that wind farms and fuel efficient automakers and other climate solutions have spread across the country, more and more people are experiencing the benefits of strong environmental policies in their own communities. Yet no matter how broad the clean economy becomes, the lesson remains the same: use local success stories to build support for broader policies.

Smart campaigners heeded this lesson. Candidates shot commercials at a local solar plant or wind farm. And when they spoke about clean energy, they didn’t focus on national policy. They talked about your neighbor, who works at a steel mill making wind turbines. The strategy paid off when voters overwhelmingly cast their ballots for clean energy champions.

As candidates shift from campaigning to governing, they should remember to maintain the local focus. Beltway debates about national energy policy or carbon limits may fall flat back home, but stories about clean energy opportunities in familiar communities will excite voters. Just look at the recent debate over wind energy incentives. Some Republicans called for ending these incentives in the recent budget deal, but the incentives passed with bipartisan support—perhaps because more than 80 percent of installed wind power comes from Republican-majority states.

It’s never been easier to make the connection between clean energy policy and local benefits. The wind industry relies on a domestic supply chain of more than 400 manufacturers in more than 40 states. More than 100,000 Americans work in the solar sector, and more than 150,000 have jobs making cleaner cars in 43 states. Lawmakers should trumpet the numbers from their own districts.

2. The Most Effective Messages May Surprise You

As part of our broader work, the NRDC Action Fund set out to elect environmental champions to office in 2012. We know smart climate policies will make America’s air safer to breathe, spur economic growth, and generate a host of other benefits for our nation. But that doesn’t mean we made climate the focus of the campaigns where we were active. Instead, we let local issues determine our central message and we stuck to it.

Take the Senate race in New Mexico. Former Representative Martin Heinrich has a terrific record of supporting the state’s burgeoning renewable energy sector and talking about New Mexico’s extreme drought and wildfires in terms of climate change. He also stands strong against contaminating the state’s water with a toxic gasoline additive known as MTBE – something his opponent, Heather Wilson wavered on while accepting campaign contributions from its producers. It turns out that while the large majority of voters appreciated Heinrich’s climate positions, they cared most about the drinking water issue. Early on, our environmental coalition decided to trust our research and make safe drinking water the central environmental issue of the race. We stuck to this decision, because our ultimate goal in this race was not to necessarily campaign on climate change but to elect an environmental champion to the Senate. This strategy paid off when Heinrich beat Heather Wilson soundly.

As 113th Congress kicks off, we have to be smarter about building public support.  Sometimes the problem of climate change seems so big that people tune out and feeling helpless to make a difference.  Building a relationship with people on issues that they already care about (and feel empowered to deal with) is a good way to gain trust and educate the public how their concerns may be tied to climate change.

3. All that Money Made People Panic, but the Deep Pockets Lost Anyway

We knew polluting industries would spend unprecedented amounts of money in 2012, but the stockpiles of cash they amassed still exceeded expectations. Fossil fuel companies and their allies lavished $270 million on ads in the last two months alone. Together with GOP strategist Karl Rove’s groups and oil industry giants David and Charles Koch, outside money invested in dirty energy campaigns totaled at least $1 billion.

This avalanche of money made pro-environmental campaigns nervous. In the past we may have panicked or let the oil companies push us off message. Wherever I went on the campaign trail, people asked the same questions: how are your fundraising numbers? Are you keeping up with the other side? The truth is clean energy and clean air supporters could never match fossil fuel spending. But we didn’t have to because the majority of Americans favor a clean, sustainable future over the polluting past. In most cases, candidates who ran on clean energy triumphed, and those who didn’t failed. One of Karl Rove’s Super PACs spent almost $105 million to support anti-regulatory candidates but was successful in less than 2 percent of its races.

The same pattern played out in numerous senate races. In Ohio, oil, gas, and coal companies and their allies spent $20 million to defeat Senator Sherrod Brown and elect Josh Mandel. Mandel doesn’t believe humans contribute to climate change and opposes government incentives for clean energy. Brown, in contrast, calls for robust climate action and says that smart government measures like new fuel economy standards “can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save consumers money, and address our dependence on foreign oil.” Ohio voters agreed with Brown on this and many other issues, and rejected Mandel and his polluter backers.

4.  Not all Polls Serve the Same Purpose

Every campaign pollster faces a choice: do you poll for internal use or to rally the public?  The first kind of polling is conducted to test messages and measure public support. It asks the hard questions and yields important truths campaigns must consider as they plan their path to victory. The second kind of polling puts on a “happy face.” It frames questions in ways that make your candidate or issue appear hugely popular, and campaigns love to push share the results with funders or media.

Once in a while, both kinds of polls yield the same numbers—like on a lot of environmental issues—but campaigners need to decide at the outset of a polling project what they want: brutal reality or a great story to tell.  If you don’t know the difference, you run the risk of failing to see the truth or make necessary changes. You also have to be aware of whom you are polling and confirm that your demographic model is on track with the voting population.

Romney’s team underestimated the youth vote, and it cost him dearly. I have spoken to members of his campaign who said they were absolutely convinced Romney would win because all their internal poll numbers favored him, but they under polled traditionally progressive voters.  They also trusted their own polling even in the face of independent polling that favored Obama. In fact, nearly every single external poll correctly called the election for Obama.

This cycle taught us to poll with intent.  You can poll for of facts or for perception.  You just have to know the difference and when you get the numbers back – whether it is on a candidate or on a message, trust them unless there is strong evidence to the contrary.

5. There Is Such a Thing as Too Many Campaign Ads

Campaigners want to run as many ads as the budget allows. If someone told me I could buy 10 spots in an hour instead of three, I would have jumped at the chance. But this year’s cycle showed timing is just as important as volume. If you run your commercial when everyone else is running them, it may be drowned out. But if you get out early and ahead of your opponents, you can achieve greater influence and insert your issue in the race.

Many campaigns made big ad buys in September and October, but polling numbers didn’t move much throughout the fall. Campaigns were in search of the seemingly mythical undecided voter but most people had made their decision long before they ever put on their fall jacket.  The chance to persuade the largest number of people about any given issue came much earlier on the cycle. In New Mexico, our campaign kicked off in July. When we started, Heinrich was in a statistical dead-heat with Wilson. After a robust environmental community campaign, he pulled ahead and never looked back.

Lawmakers can apply this lesson when they are mobilizing voters on an issue. Instead of waiting until the week before a big energy vote to educate constituents, pave the way months in advance. And don’t overdo the negative. Negative campaign ads have proven to be effective, but I believe campaigns can hit a saturation point. We are still collecting data on this, but many people tuned out after the months long barrage of nasty attacks. It turns out they don’t want to watch a negative commercial nine times during Grey’s Anatomy. It gets annoying and arouses suspicion, and it can even make people root for the underdog.  After all, polluting industries blasted the airwaves with one campaign ad after the other in and yet almost all of their candidates lost.

6. Voters Wants Leaders with the Courage of their Convictions

The 2012 cycle took us into unchartered territory. We had a volatile and protracted GOP nomination process. We had enormous, unprecedented and unrestrained amounts of money poured into the campaign process. And we had an economy still struggling to recover from the worst recession in decades. In the midst of all this uncertainty, voters favored candidates who demonstrated integrity and spoke more about problem-solving than dogma. 

Take Senator Jon Tester of Montana. Tester had used his first term to carve out moderate, reasoned positions on a variety of issues, including clean energy and climate change. Yet corporate interests rallied around Tester’s opponent Denny Rehberg, and they saturated the airwaves with attack ads that painted Tester as an out-of-touch Washington insider.  The race got tight, but Tester never backed down from his record or stopped saying that clean energy and climate action was good for Montana. He also didn’t stop being the rancher they had come to know or the straight-talking elected official who fought for them in the nation’s Capitol. In the end, the red state of Montana went for Romney and reelected Jon Tester. Voters may not agree with every one of Tester’s positions, but they chose to be represented by a man who entered the Senate to solve problems, not to dismantle government.

As we head into the new Congress, lawmakers should remember that most Americans are more interested in pragmatic solutions than ideological battles. And when it comes to economic, health, national security, and environmental challenges, clean energy is one of the most powerful solutions we have.

 

Romney Gets the Energy Facts Wrong in Wednesday’s Debate

By: Heather Taylor-Miesle NRDC Action Fund Thursday October 4, 2012 4:15 am
WCROC RE Tour (30)

(Photo: Clean Energy Research Teams (CERTS)/flickr)

The post-debate analysis is in full swing, and while pundits are talking about Governor Romney’s aggressive manner and President Obama’s subdued performance, the real story is how many times Romney strayed from the facts. On energy issues alone, he not only distorted the truth but he also misrepresented his own positions.

It began when Romney said he supported clean energy. This passing remark came after he spoke at length about expanding oil and gas drilling and building the Keystone XL pipeline for dirty tar sands oil. It also came after he let us know: “I like coal.”

I am not surprised Romney paid lip service to clean energy. Nine out of 10 Americans say developing renewable energy should be a priority for the president and Congress, and that includes 85 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Independents. And two thirds of Americans want to extend tax incentives for clean energy.

But Romney’s own positions would thwart the rapidly growing clean energy economy and the tens of thousands of jobs it creating.  He wants to kill incentives for wind power—incentives that enjoy strong bipartisan support, perhaps because more than 80 percent of installed wind power comes from Republican-majority states. And his economic plan calls for cutting clean energy investments by 90 percent, down to just $1 billion in 2014.

Romney repeatedly criticized Obama for his clean energy incentives. But once again, his facts were wildly off base. He cited the $90 billion the Obama administration invested in renewable energy projects, energy efficiency measures for homeowners, public transit, and other stimulus projects, and tried to claim that clean energy received more government help than fossil fuels.

The historic record proves otherwise. A study of by DBL Investors found that the oil and gas companies have received $446.9 billion in subsidies (1918-2009) and the nuclear industry scored $185.7 billion (1947-2009). Up until 2009, meanwhile, the renewable sector outside of biofuels had gotten only $5.9 billion.

The $90 billion the Obama administration has invested in clean energy since then has already delivered amazing returns: wind power has doubled in three years, solar power has quadrupled in four years, and more than 1 million homes have received energy-saving retrofits. More than 150,000 Americans have jobs making parts for and assembling clean cars—hybrids, electric cars, and other advanced vehicles that weren’t even available 10 years ago. And consumers can find nearly 60 fuel-efficient models in showrooms today—up from 27 in 2009.  These cars are putting more money in Americans’ pockets and helping American automakers come back from the brink.

Romney tried to ignore this success by saying half of Obama’s clean energy investments had failed. That’s simply false. While a handful of companies granted loan guarantees have folded, hundreds of other companies are succeeding. In fact, the failure rate for clean energy loan recipients was only 1.4 percent by the end of 2011.

When all the smoke clears and the conversation shifts from style to substance, voters will realize the clear choice before them. One candidate will keep America hooked on the same fossil fuels that have been polluting our air for decades. The other has presided over the largest increase in clean energy in our nation’s history and strengthened public health and environmental protections. Those are the facts and hopefully they will garner greater attention as we head into the next debate.

 

 

Mitt Romney is Out of Step with the American People on Energy Policy

By: Heather Taylor-Miesle NRDC Action Fund Thursday August 23, 2012 10:13 am

Last year New Mexico was No. 1 in the nation for installing solar power.

It is one of the top states in the country for wind energy.

New Mexicans also benefit from energy efficiency programs. With $8.9 billion in annual energy expenditures each year, energy efficiency programs could save New Mexico residents some serious money – and reduce the amount of toxic power plant emissions they have to breathe as well.

Yet what’s the crux of the energy vision Mitt Romney laid out in New Mexico today?

He wants to get rid of the renewable energy and energy efficiency programs that are employing New Mexicans and saving them money.  His solution?  Pretend it’s 1900.  More drilling, more fossil fuels, more of the same.

In disclosing his so-called energy plan in Hobbs, N.M. today, Romney didn’t even bother to mention that one of our country’s most significant energy savings programs is about to be finalized as early as this week.

The Obama Administration is about to implement new clean car standards that will push average auto mileage to 54.5 per gallon by 2025, saving consumers around $8,000 on gas during the life of a vehicle.

In New Mexico, that also will mean residents will save a total of 135 million gallons of fuel and $575 million when fully implemented – not to mention reducing thousands of tons of tailpipe carbon pollution each year, according to a NRDC analysis released just this week. For a dog’s-eye view of what these standards will mean for America, make sure to check out: http://www.doublethempg.com/  

Few issues illustrate the stark differences between Mitt Romney and President Obama like their views on where to take America on energy.

If your desire is to:

  • move America backward;
  •  keep us shackled to Big Oil;
  • forever be dependent on foreign oil supplies and the wild price swings in the international oil market; and
  • leave the planet in terrible shape for our children.

 Then Romney’s your man.

If you want to move America forward, and keep developing the growing clean energy economy that’s benefitting New Mexico and every other state in the country – then remember what President Obama has done so far.

As Bloomberg News reported this week, electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar has increased by 73 percent since President Obama took office. President Obama’s clean energy programs have helped create an estimated 2.7 million clean economy jobs, according to the Brookings Institution. Those are real jobs, providing real paychecks to real Americans, many of whom live and work in New Mexico.

If Congress ignores Mitt Romney and reauthorizes the Production Tax Credit that has already created 75,000 jobs in the wind energy industry (and that many Senate Republicans support), America could get as much as 20 percent of its electricity from wind by 2030.

If Romney and the GOP would stop trying to denigrate and decimate America’s solar industry, we could get as much as 25% of our energy from rooftop solar panels alone in 40 states (51% in Nevada and 52% in California). Instead of focusing on the failures of a few companies, they should be noting the enormous growth in solar overall.  Ideology has blinded them, and they can’t see the forest for the trees.

Mitt Romney is simply out of step with the American people on energy policy, as with so much else.   In survey after survey, Americans overwhelmingly say they want Congress and the White House to do more to increase clean energy sources in this country, and wean us off of fossil fuels. Those opinions do not differ in New Mexico, which is why we support environmental champion Martin Heinrich in his bid for U.S. Senate. Increasing clean energy sources is good for our economy, good for our health and strengthens our national security.

Either Mitt Romney doesn’t get this message from the American people or our voices are being drowned out by the millions of dollars in campaign contributions from dirty polluters.

It’s your choice. Which America do you want?

 

Mitt Romney Energy Plan Fact Sheet

Where Does Heather Wilson Stand on the Ryan Budget?

By: Heather Taylor-Miesle NRDC Action Fund Tuesday August 21, 2012 7:22 am

Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate has thrust Ryan’s controversial budget proposals into the national spotlight. On the campaign trail, candidates are being asked about the Ryan budget. Unfortunately for voters, some candidates, like New Mexico Senate candidate Heather Wilson, refuse to come clean about where they stand on this proposal to dramatically shrink the federal government and change or eliminate popular programs – including many that support clean energy investment.

That’s right. While the press has understandablyfocused on the Ryan budget’s impact on Medicare, the Ryan budget would decimate other critical government initiatives as well.  Just one example – the Ryan budget would eliminateour nation’s investment in clean energy and kill a lot of clean energy jobs in the process.

According to an analysis by Congressman Henry Waxman, the Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Ryan budget “would cut billions of dollars in funding for development of clean energy and eliminate programs that have helped support over 60,000 jobs.”  Waxman’s analysis finds that:

  • The Ryan budget would cut the Department of Energy’s budget by 57%. Cuts of this magnitude would cripple efforts to improve energy efficiency and make renewable energy commercially available at a competitive cost;
  • The Ryan budget would eliminate successful clean vehicle loan programs. These programs are helping the U.S. become a leader in plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle technologies and creating jobs in the auto industry; and
  • The Ryan budget would eliminate clean energy loan guarantees that are helping to launch large-scale wind and solar energy projects.

On top of these cuts to clean energy, the Ryan budget preserves nearly $40 billion in tax breaks for oil and gas companies.

Where does Wilson stand on this? We don’t know. According to the Albuquerque Journal, Wilson  “has refused for two consecutive years to take a definitive stand on Ryan’s controversial budget blueprints.”

We don’t know whether she and Ryan share the same view on his budget, but we do know that many of the same Big Polluters are funding both campaigns. Over the course of her political career, Wilson has taken $741,132 from the oil and gas industry, making her one of the top-20 recipients of oil and gas money to serve in the House of Representatives. Ryan’s still-hefty haul of $244,250 may pale in comparison, but he takes another prize: Koch Industries’ $65,000 in donations make them his largest energy-related donor.

We know where Wilson’s Dirty Energy donors stand on the Ryan budget. It’s time for Wilson to tell us whether or not she agrees with them.

 

 

Romney & Ryan’s Fossil Fuel Favoritism: Starve Clean Energy, but Feed Oil with Taxpayer Money

By: Heather Taylor-Miesle NRDC Action Fund Wednesday August 15, 2012 4:42 am

Mitt Romney announced last week he would not extend an incentive for wind and solar power if he were elected president. Clean energy is often cast as a Democratic issue, but the incentive has broad Republican support. More than 80 percent of installed wind power comes from Republican-majority states.

Romney, however, persists in deriding the success of renewable energy. In an op ed this spring, he said wind and solar power were part of President Obama’s “imaginary world.”

Yet any American who has taken a road trip this summer knows clean energy is very real. Wind turbines have sprouted on ridgelines across the country, employing steelworkers, producing income for farmers, and generating clean energy that doesn’t endanger our health.

Roughly 35 percent of new power built in the United States in the last four years has come from wind, and more than 100,000 Americans now have jobs in the solar industry.

Clean energy has become one of the brightest spots in our economy and helped retain our competitive advantage in the global market. But Romney can’t see where the future is headed. He wants to end renewable incentives, yet continue underwriting oil and gas companies with billions of taxpayer dollars every year. He wants to turn his back on the innovative edge of the energy market in order to prolong the same coal, oil, and gas habits we have used for the past century.

His new running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, shares Romney’s fossil fuel favoritism. The Ryan budget passed by the House would dish out $40 billion in subsidies to oil companies over the next ten years, but would slash clean energy investments by 90 percent by 2014—down to just $1 billion.

Romney and Ryan’s failure to support clean energy is a failure of imagination. They are so eager to appeal to the far-right side of their party and placate their deep-pocketed donors from the fossil fuel industry that they can’t see what any American driving through Indiana, Kansas, Utah, Ohio, Michigan and countless other states can see: clean energy is already taking root in our communities, already putting people to work, and already making our air safer to breathe. We should nurture this growth and prosperity, not thwart it.

 

The Best Ticket Dirty Money Can Buy

By: Heather Taylor-Miesle NRDC Action Fund Saturday August 11, 2012 1:31 pm

Koch Brothers (image: Truthout.org / flickr)

Saturday we awoke to news that Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) will be Mitt Romney’s running mate. 

I am sure the Koch brothers are smiling this morning because they have been cultivating Congressman Ryan since he set foot on Capitol Hill, giving him one of his first donations in 1999.

Koch Industries, owners of one of the largest petrochemical companies in the world, has been the 6th largest contributors to Cong. Ryan during his career, giving him $65,500.  In fact, the oil and gas industry has given him $244,250 since 1999.  Now sure, the Koch Brothers are behind Philip Morris, and the NRA, but they played the long game with this career-politician pick and Ryan as VP will solidify their support.

The fossil fuel industry was already sitting pretty even before the Ryan selection.  The Romney campaign has already benefited from the overwhelming spending of outside groups, like Restore our Future, a well known Koch-funded entity, that has already spent $14,011,137  in a brazen effort to buy the White House. What has this money bought for the polluters?

Romney went from standing in front of a coal plant talking about how they kill people in 2003 to standing with one of the most radical members of the Senate, James Inhofe (R-OK) to stop EPA’s efforts to reduce mercury from power plants.  As my colleague at NRDC, John Walke, says, “It’s appalling that anyone would vote to expose our children to more mercury, a dangerous brain poison, and over 80 other toxic air pollutants that power plants in the U.S. spew every day.”  John goes onto note that these standard are projected to prevent 11,000 premature deaths; nearly 5,000 heart attacks, 130,000 asthma attacks, 5,700 hospital and emergency room visits; and 540,000 days when people miss work and school. 

For his part, Cong. Ryan, with his abysmal 16% League of Conservation Voters score, has voted to delay long-overdue air pollution control standards for industrial boilers and incinerators that also emit mercury.  He voted against efforts to protect communities from coal ash – the toxic byproduct of burning coal that contains arsenic, lead, and other heavy metals – metals that when some are ingested have devastating results like lower IQ

As someone who spent much of her youth in towns in Appalachia surrounding these coal facilities, I can tell you that the devastation is enormous and the fact that Ryan took the side of the polluters instead of children with learning disabilities caused in some part by that pollution is astonishing.  Add on top of all of this, the cuts that Ryan’s budget proposed – cuts that would’ve devastated community water systems and kept enforcement cops off the street who keep companies from breaking laws that protect our communities.  Heck, his budget would’ve even eliminated programs for sidewalks, not to mention public transportation infrastructure

Yes, Koch Industries is sitting pretty today.  Let’s hope that the voters see in November see that a Romney/Ryan ticket isn’t about protecting their families or helping us get on the right track – it is the best ticket dirty money can buy.  Look no further than the record to see for yourself. 

Will the True Extremist Please Stand Up?

By: Heather Taylor-Miesle NRDC Action Fund Thursday August 9, 2012 11:23 am

It can’t be easy being a climate denier this summer. Record-breaking heat waves, freak storms, enormous fires, and the worst drought in 50 years are making it harder to ignore the reality of climate change.

Dark clouds of a Derecho

Derecho Wind Storm (Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Flickr)

Many meteorologists, network news shows, and public health officials are speaking candidly about the connection between extreme weather and climate change. These conversations confirm what so many of us can see with our own eyes: We just have to look outside or turn on the Weather Channel to see what global warming is doing to our communities.

And yet some candidates persist in denying the facts in front of them, even while their own states bear the brunt of climate change. Sticking your head in the sand is never a good position for a leader to assume, but it becomes downright irresponsible when people all around you are struggling.

Take New Mexico, for example. In the senate race, Former Representative Heather Wilson paints her opponent, Representative Martin Heinrich, as an environmental extremist because he wants to address climate change. Wilson, meanwhile, has rejected the idea that human activity is causing global warming.

Wilson likes to position herself as a moderate, but ignoring one of the biggest threats to your state’s economy and well-being is not a sign of moderation; it is a sign of recklessness—especially when your state is as vulnerable to climate change as New Mexico.

In May, Governor Susana Martinez declared the entire state was in a drought. “Fire danger is high, water reservoirs run low and in some cases, we’ve seen towns like Las Vegas take dramatic steps to reduce basic water consumption in their residents’ homes and businesses,” the governor said.

Win-Win-Win

By: Heather Taylor-Miesle NRDC Action Fund Friday July 6, 2012 6:20 am
I Live in St. Joseph Photo by Michigan Municipal League

(photo: Michigan Municipal League/flickr)

I like to win.

I don’t think that makes me very different from most people.  But, it’s not often that I get to declare a win-win-win though. Which is why today’s announcement in Michigan is so exciting!

Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs collected more than 500,000 signatures to ensure a proposal will be on the November 6, 2012 ballot which will require that 25 percent of Michigan’s energy come from renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass by 2025.

Win #1-Job Creation

Currently, Michigan imports its energy from other states and countries. This means jobs and billions of dollars being sent outside of the state. This ballot proposal will help Michigan build a clean energy industry within the state, allowing residents to stop exporting their money and jobs. The proposal would also establish incentives to hire Michigan workers.

Win #2-Reduced Energy Prices

Studies by independent economists predict that it would only cost the average Michigan household an average of $1.25 a month, but in the long run could reduce their energy bills. Think about the possibilities of expanding Michigan’s clean energy production without increasing energy prices. The proposal would also limit consumer rate increases related to the generation or purchase of renewable energy to no more than 1 per cent per year.

Win #3-Public Health

Renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass are clean energy sources which will reduce pollution and further protect the health of all Michigan families. This proposal will give Michigan cleaner and healthier air and water. It will protect the Great Lakes, reduce asthma and lung disease and ultimately save lives.

Scores of Michigan businesses, organizations, individuals and public officials are supporting the ballot proposal and the NRDC Action Fund is proud to stand with them today as we march towards a win for all of Michigan this November.