Michigan's Energy Policy and the current environmental agenda

After months of lengthy hearings and intense lobbying by power companies and other special interest groups, the House Energy Committee in Michigan finally advanced broad legislation touching on renewables, energy choice, energy efficiency and rate processes in 2015.

Snyder has publicly backed the package, which aligns with what he has called "fair choice," allowing 10 percent of customers to continue purchasing electricity from alternative suppliers on an open market instead of their incumbent utilities. The legislation also calls on utilities to prioritize energy efficiency. It sets a goal that by 2025, 30 percent of Michigan's energy would come from either renewable sources or energy saved through efficiency programs.

That goal is not a mandate, however, a reality which has frustrated environmental groups. Current law mandates that 10 percent of our electricity come from renewable sources by the end of the year, a threshold that Michigan is poised to meet.

On the other hand, recently Donald Trump has cut Great Lakes restoration funding by 97% in an early budget plan, and recently signed a sweeping executive order Tuesday that takes aim at a number of his predecessor's climate policies.

Trump will order a review of that and a number of other climate efforts, including:

• a federal moratorium on coal leasing
• a measure that requires federal agencies to consider climate change during their rule-making process
• the "social cost of carbon," which puts a dollar figure on carbon pollution

"In taking a sledgehammer to U.S. climate action, the administration will push the country backward, making it harder and more expensive to reduce emissions," said Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute, in a statement.

"Climate science is clear and unwavering: mounting greenhouse gas emissions are warming our planet, putting people and business in harm's way."

My questions for the caucus are:

• How do you think Donald Trump’s environmental agenda will affect Michigan’s efforts to have an energy policy overhaul?
• What are your thoughts on Trump’s executive order that will highly affect the use of coal? Do you agree or disagree with this platform?
• What are ways Michigan can implement positive climate change initiatives regardless of Trump’s agenda?
• What steps should the Michigan government take specifically to either support or combat Trump’s agenda?