EDITORIAL: 'No' on Proposal 3

It is not in the best interest of Michigan voters to vote yes on Proposal 3, which would require 25 percent of Michigan's energy to come from renewable sources by 2025.

Currently, state law requires that 10 percent of statewide energy come from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by 2015. That mandate is on its way to being achieved and lays the foundation for future growth in green energy and the jobs that come with them statewide.

While it is vital to the long-term health of the environment for all levels of government to get serious about promoting alternative energy, Proposal 3 asks the state to mandate too much over too long of a timespan.

If the proposal passes, the "25 by 2025" mandate would be set in stone in the state's constitution. While aiming for that standard is admirable, putting it in the constitution would make it too difficult for adjustments to be made in the plan should something go wrong. How many times has the government promised us something and not delivered?

Many other states have similar standards for renewable energy, but not one of them passed those standards through a constitutional amendment. Why? Because they realize that, especially when it comes to lofty goals set by the government, things can go awry. If they do, the law can be easily adjusted to meet those new challenges.

That's not possible if those standards are enshrined in the constitution. If passed, we would be locked into 25 percent renewable energy by 2025. An unforeseen challenge could require utilities to pass new costs onto their customers, putting a strain on the economy all because that standard would still be in place.

While encouraging citizens to use more renewable energy is admirable, it is not the government's role to dictate how the free market works. By boxing Michigan residents into a long-term commitment  through deadlines and time limits, government, or in this case the state, begins to promote and favor industries that do not promote free-market principles.

Setting guidelines and suggestions are nice, but timelines and requirements for a market still relatively small and unknown is not healthy for the state's economy. We encourage a 'no' vote on Proposal 3 on Nov. 6.


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