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After Expensive Campaign, Proposal 3 Rejected by Voters

The renewable energy initiated constitutional amendment on the November 6 statewide ballot (Proposal 3) was defeated 62 percent to 38 percent. The proposal would have constitutionally mandated that by 2025, 25 percent of the state’s electricity would come from renewable resources. It was the second-most expensive ballot campaign this election cycle.

According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, supporters of the proposal, including the League of Conservation Voters, the BlueGreen Alliance, the American Wind Energy Association, and the Green Tech Action Fund, contributed over $10 million to the campaign. The opposition raised more than $25 million, including $11.5 million from Consumers Energy and $9.4 million from DTE Energy. 

The principal arguments against the proposal were:

  1. energy policy should not be written into the Michigan Constitution and
  2. the cost of the energy would be $12 Billion dollars which would raise electric bills. 

The counterarguments were: 

  1. unless written into the Constitution the utility forces would amend and water down renewable energy legislation; and
  2. the utilities will be spending even more than $12 Billion by 2025 replacing existing generation, and this proposal would have mandated that a portion of that investment go toward renewables.
© 2020 Varnum LLPNational Law Review, Volume II, Number 333


About this Author

Bruce Goodman, Environmental lawyer, Varnum

Bruce practices energy law, environmental law, and construction law. His energy background includes negotiating electric power sales agreements (both for wholesale sellers of energy and for retail consumers of energy) state electric rate cases, developing municipal energy tariffs, and energy project structuring and permitting. For years, he published a blog focused on alternative energy developments in Michigan. Most recently he has been involved in various alternative energy projects, including wind energy, biofuels and solar projects.

His environmental experience includes air...