Utilities pour millions into defeating Mich. ballot proposition

Source: E&E • Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012

Michigan’s two largest electric utilities have given $11 million each to defeat Proposal 3, which would require state utilities to derive at least 25 percent of their energy from clean renewable sources by 2025.

Clean Affordable Renewable Energy (CARE) for Michigan has raised $24 million to defeat the measure, while Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs, which supports the measure, has raised roughly $12 million.

Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution, a business-backed group that is against three ballot proposals, has spent about $1.4 million fighting Proposal 3.

CARE has received large contributions from Jackson, Mich.-based Consumers Energy and Detroit-based DTE Energy. About 10 percent of its funding came from out-of-state sources, such as the American Natural Gas Alliance, several electric utilities based outside Michigan, and some rail and transportation companies.

“They’ll do anything to protect the status quo — even teaming up with corporate polluter Enbridge,” said Proposal 3 spokesman Mark Fisk.

Enbridge Energy gave $10,000 to the anti-Proposal 3 campaign. The utility was responsible for a 2010 oil spill in the Kalamazoo River.

Supporters of Proposal 3 are funded by largely out-of-state organizations such as the League of Conservation Voters, the Green Tech Action Fund, BlueGreen Alliance and American Wind Energy Association. A New York-based retired hedge fund manager, Julian Robertson Jr., contributed $1 million.

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters contributed $3.1 million, but most of that group’s money came from the national organization based in Washington, D.C.

“This proves that their campaign is indeed funded by out-of-state special interests in an attempt to hijack our constitution,” CARE spokeswoman Megan Brown said in reference to the campaign finance reports (Melissa Anders, MLive.com, Oct. 26). — RE