By Blake Edmonds and Michele Combs
There have been campaigns calling on Americans to eat locally and shop locally. Now, Michiganders can get on board with a plan to power their lives locally.
That’s one of the most interesting elements of Gov. Rick Snyder’s vision for a “no-regrets energy future,” which focuses on cutting energy waste and prioritizing renewable generation. Instead of wasting energy and relying on coal imported from out of state to generate power, a more efficient Michigan can tap its own plentiful natural gas reserves, and take advantage of the state’s tremendous potential for wind, biomass and solar energy, as well.
At Young Conservatives for Energy Reform, we are seeing similarly smart strategies embraced in communities and states across the country. It’s becoming a rallying point for conservatives, especially conservatives living far from the partisan wrangling of Washington. We believe embracing clean, efficient energy offers an all-American way to boost Michigan’s economy, strengthen national security and promote clean air.
As Snyder has pointed out, each Michigan resident uses about 38% more energy than the average American. There are a lot of ways to cut that number down, by helping families, businesses and organizations to become more efficient and cut their energy bills.
As for where you get the energy you still need, why not go local and stop sending dollars to other states for coal? Harness the wind that’s already blowing; catch the sun that’s already shining. Turn agricultural waste into fuel, and tap the landfill gas that’s just sitting there unused. Grow the economy in Michigan — and along the way, clean the air, as well.
Diversifying our energy supplies also helps with national security. Retired Lt. Gen. Richard Zilmer of the CNA Corporation’s Military Advisory Board, spoke to about a hundred West Michigan Young Republicans last year, and shared how our overdependence on oil poses a national security risk. It ties us to regimes that don’t always have our best interests at heart, and limits our ability to act on the world stage. Sure, gas prices are low now, but they’re controlled by a worldwide market and a cartel we’re not part of. Controlling our own energy means controlling our own destiny.
We hope to see Snyder and the Legislature work together to put in place an energy plan that works for all the people who live in the state — and that serves as a model for the rest of the country. Building our energy future on clean, efficient, renewable, homegrown sources is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. It’s an American issue. And it’s the right path forward for the people of Michigan.
Blake Edmonds is the Michigan chairman for Young Conservatives for Energy Reform and the former youth vice-chair of the MI GOP. Michele Combs is the founder and president of Young Conservatives for Energy Reform.