State lawmakers are gearing up to pass some controversial bills during their lame duck session. That’s the time between an election and the end of the year, when many lawmakers no longer face another election for their seat. Some bills pop up out of nowhere. Others finally get the support they need after years of political wrangling in Lansing.
One piece of legislation in the latter category may be bills to overhaul the state’s energy policies and deal with the shutting down of coal plants here in Michigan. They’ve already cleared the state Senate and are now in front of the House.
Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with two people who are intimately involved in negotiations over the legislation, and who fall on opposite sides of the issue.
State Rep. Gary Glenn (R-Midland) says, supposedly, Republican leaders in the House may attempt to hold a vote on the bills as soon as Wednesday. Unlike his fellow Republicans in House leadership, Glenn opposes the legislation. He says it discourages competition in the energy market, both in terms of alternative energy sources and alternative energy providers — in other words, providers who aren’t DTE Energy or Consumers Energy.
“If you want a secure and less expensive market, then it ought to be diverse and competitive,” says Glenn.
Henderson also speaks with DTE Energy chairman and CEO Gerard M. Anderson, who supports the legislation. He says the bills are needed to make sure the state doesn’t experience power shortages as old coal-fired power plants go offline.
“Over the next five years, we will retire power generating units in large numbers in Michigan,” says Anderson. “We retired three units back in April. We will retire eight more by the early 2020s.” He says the legislation requires alternative energy providers to guarantee they have enough energy supply to send out to customers.
Click on the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.