MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – State Representative Jenn Hill held an informational session this morning for local elected officials and leaders to learn more about the recently passed energy package.
Local officials and members of the public voiced their concerns regarding the newly passed legislation during today’s meeting. Rep. Hill was joined by Senator Ed McBroom and Dan Scripps, the chair of the Michigan Public Service Commission.
Local leaders in attendance were able to write down questions and open a dialogue regarding how the bill’s will directly affect townships and municipalities.
“I wanted the township officials to ask those questions to the person they will be working with to implement the bills,” said Rep. Hill.
Many of the questions asked by township officials related to the zoning stipulations of the package. Senator McBroom and Rep. Dave Prestin voiced concerns last week regarding zoning control being taken out of local governments hands. According to Rep. Hill she fought to ensure the final version of the package actually puts local leaders at the front of decision making.
“It has to start at the local planning level,” Rep. Hill went on to say “Compatible, renewable, energy ordinance, that is the zoning a community has to figure out where to put this kind of infrastructure.”
Township leaders also questioned the bill being voted for along party lines, traditionally energy packages have been bi-partisan.
“For this kind of important legislation to not be bipartisan, I have been a democrat for most of my life but I am an independent now, I hate to see this fighting going on and not helping us people,” said a township official attending the meeting.
Rep. Hill chose to not support an amendment that would grandfather in carbon emission reductions made by the 4 year old $600-hundred-million reciprocating internal combustion engine (RICE) generators in Negaunee, she says she knew the amendment would be voted down by her democratic colleagues, according to Rep. Hill the current legislation will not shut down the RICE generators early but it may impact their usage and payments, which are currently scheduled to run through 2049.
“So you extend the payments, that happens with capital investments when market conditions shift, this is a market condition shift” remarked Rep. Hill.
Rep. Hill collected questions from all of the township officials in attendance this morning and will be providing answers through her office.
The energy legislation has not yet been signed into law by Governor Whitmer, but is expected to be in the next few weeks.