In a last-minute, late-night session of the House of Representatives, the controversial Energy Legislation was passed and is being sent to the Governor’s desk for a signature. All four UP representatives and Senator Casperson voted against the bill protecting the interests of ratepayers in the UP. Senator Schmidt voted for the bill.
Cloverland Electric has been closely monitoring this legislation as it has been debated and rewritten for the past year and a half. Of concern is the one sentence allowing the iron ore mine in Marquette to exercise its choice to move 100 percent of its load to an alternate electric supplier (AES). The special exemption, approved in 2008, has potentially cost Cloverland members millions of dollars in operating costs for the closing Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette.
“Cloverland members have done an outstanding job in communicating our concerns to the Senate and House members,” stated Dan Dasho, Cloverland’s president and CEO. “We appreciate the Representatives and one Senator who heard our concerns and voted against this legislation.”
Dasho further explained that the favorable long-range planning for generation and transmission in the UP was removed in the final version of the bill. “We appreciate Senator Noffs’ attempt to get the Legislature and Governor’s administration to conduct a complete study of the infrastructure needs for the entire Upper Peninsula. All we’ve seen is a public relations event announcing two new gas-fired units to be online near the end of 2019.”
While the Lower Peninsula benefits from the passage of this legislation and gets the goodies, the Upper Peninsula got a bag of coal this Christmas from the Grinches in Lansing. But, come to think of it, maybe there is a greater need for more coal.