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Fact check: Pro Prop 3 commercial 'Forward'

12:19 PM, Oct 4, 2012   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Voters will decide Proposal 3 in the November election and groups supporting and opposing the measure are flooding the television airwaves with commercials, touting their side.

Here is the official wording for the November ballot:

A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO ESTABLISH A STANDARD FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY

This proposal would:

Require electric utilities to provide at least 25% of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable energy sources, which are wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower, by 2025.

Limit to not more than 1% per year electric utility rate increases charged to consumers only to achieve compliance with the renewable energy standard.

Allow annual extensions of the deadline to meet the 25% standard in order to prevent rate increases over the 1% limit.

Require the legislature to enact additional laws to encourage the use of Michigan made equipment and employment of Michigan residents.


The pro Proposal 3 group, "Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs" is running a commercial entitled "Forward."

"Moving forward or falling behind. Michigan is falling behind in the clean energy race. 30 other states have already passed measures similar to proposal 3, states like Iowa, Illinois and Ohio. In Illinois, clean energy is creating jobs while reducing electricity costs for consumers. Proposal 3 would create 94,000 jobs that can't be outsourced. Things are turning around in Michigan. We can't afford to fall behind again. Vote yes on Proposal 3."

Here is our WZZM 13 Fact Check of the commercial:

"Moving forward or falling behind. Michigan is falling behind in the clean energy race. (This is purely opinion)

30 other states have already passed measures similar to proposal 3, states like Iowa, Illinois and Ohio. (This is misleading.  Michigan already has a renewable energy requirement in place, requiring 10% of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2015. The law took effect on 10/6/2008. So, Michigan is one of 30 states with a Renewable Portfolio Standard.)

In Illinois, clean energy is creating jobs while reducing electricity costs for consumers. (The source cited for this claim is the Illinois Power Agency. However, the claim is misleading. The report says costs have gone down, but the source does not have a direct correlation between clean energy and job creation.

The "Key Findings" of the report reads: The Illinois Power Agency has been presented with evidence that the Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) appear to have enabled significant job creation and economic development opportunities as well as environmental benefits. Care must be taken, however, to not optimistically extrapolate these results without limit, as factors such as market prices for energy, transmission constraints, and uncertainty in the load serving responsibility will affect the cost-effectiveness of near term future additions to the renewable resource generation stock in Illinois. *Editor's Note: Emphasis added.)

Proposal 3 would create 94,000 jobs that can't be outsourced.
  (The source cited for this claim is a jobs and investment impact study by Michigan State University (8/10/12) The claim is misleading.  According to the Michigan Truth Squad, the study was paid for by the Michigan Environmental Council, a pro-prop 3 group.  The Michigan Truth Squad also says the 94,000 number is "job years" which is an economic term for one full time job for one year.  If a job is projected to last 25 years (25 job years), the study would have counted that job 25 times.  Since the economic impact is over a number of years, that does not mean 94,000 jobs created.)
Things are turning around in Michigan.  We can't afford to fall behind again. Vote yes on Proposal 3. (This is opinion)

Overall, the ad is misleading for the claims of job creation and for suggesting that Michigan does not already have a clean energy requirement in place.

Click here for a look at all of the proposals on the November General Election ballot.

For our WZZM 13 analysis of the anti-Prop 3 ad, click here.

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