MAREC to host public discussion on Proposal 3
Grand Valley State University’s Muskegon Alternative and Renewable Energy Center has invited a panel of seven law, business, state and non-profit experts to discuss with and educate the community about Proposal 3, also known as “25-by-25,” which would increase the Michigan renewable energy portfolio standard to 25 percent by 2025 if passed. The event is free and open to the public and will be held Oct. 22 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the MAREC building in Muskegon.
“Proposal 3 is one of six proposals on Michigan’s Nov. 6 ballot,” said Arnold Boezaart, director of MAREC. “Proposal 3 addresses the question of whether Michigan’s renewable portfolio standard, which is legislated at 10 percent of energy from renewables by 2015, should instead be increased to 25 percent renewable energy by 2025.”
Though there will not be similar events held for the other proposals on the Nov. 6 ballot, this one has received a large amount of community support and involvement and will be video-recorded by individuals from Muskegon Community College and Grand Rapids Community College.
“It is our collective interest in energy conservation that led to our internal discussions regarding Ballot Proposal 3,” said John K. Koches, associate research scientist at the Annis Water Resources Institute and member of the Muskegon Area Sustainability Coalition. The coalition is sponsoring the event.
“We thought that it might help our membership and the communities that we support if we were to sponsor a dialog about the topic at one of our meetings,” Koches said. “Because of the interest expressed by our members, we decided to change the meeting from our regular scheduled noon to 1:30 p.m. event to an evening session that might accommodate more people.”
The panel is made up of one law expert, Bruce Goodman of Varnum Law Firm; two non-profit experts, Tiffany Hartung of Michigan Beyond Coal Campaign and the Sierra Club and Cindy Larson, president of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce; two experts on state affairs, James Clift, policy director for the Michigan Environmental Council, and Nancy Moody, director of State Government Affairs for DTE Energy; and two business experts, Wes Eklund, president of Fleet Engineering, Inc., and Art Toy of 4 Elements Energy.
Speaking in support of the proposal are Cliff, Hartung and Toy, while Larson, Eklund and Moody speak against the proposal. Goodman will be speaking not as representation of either side, but as an expert on law and how the proposal will effect Michigan’s constitution. Boezaart will be moderating the discussion and the subsequent question and answer period afterward.
Koches said the panelists were chosen by MASC for their expertise in various areas, with the hope that this would bring a fair and balanced perspective to the discussion. MASC, which was created in 2006, includes representatives from private and public sectors as well as businesses, non-profit groups, local government, faith-based organizations and even education providers.
The event will open with a 10-minute briefing by Goodman about Michigan’s constitution and how the constitution gets changed, as well as the history of Michigan’s actions and policies regarding renewable energy. The briefing will be followed by short opening presentations by each of the other six panelists. Finally, there will be an extended question and answer session between the public and the panelists that is expected to last about 45 minutes.
You can find out more about MASC by visiting www.muskegonasc.org.