A well-funded campaign has received preliminary approval for ballot language, which would roll back laws passed in November to facilitate siting of solar arrays, battery storage, and wind turbines. The legislation, Public Acts 233 and 234 of 2023 addressed the growing challenge of some local governments' opposition to all proposed large renewable energy facilities, even when local farmers were seeking approval of the proposals.
Sierra Club joined a diverse coalition of organizations and individuals supporting the passage of the two statutes and worked to ensure that important protections for communities and landowners were included in the laws. The protections include the right for townships and counties to adopt ordinances consistent with the state standards, have complete control over projects smaller than 100 MW for wind and 50 MW for solar, set requirements for restoration of land used for the clean energy facilities to their original condition when the structure is removed, and require a community benefit element of $2,000 per megawatt of capacity to each participating local municipality. The benefit payment will help communities by providing much-needed tax revenue that supports fire and police, schools, roads and more vital services.
Combined with the Clean Energy Future package, these reforms will enable economic opportunities, create jobs, lower household energy costs, and provide clean air and climate benefits. To ensure we are doing our part in tackling the climate crisis and achieving the new 100% clean energy by 2040 requirement, Michigan must keep these two statutes intact.
To get on the November 5 ballot, the campaign must collect more than 356,000 valid signatures by May 29 or take six months total to qualify for the November 2026 ballot. The Michigan Chapter is urging Michiganders to decline to sign the petition to place this measure on the ballot. Over the coming months, more information about this issue will be shared by Sierra Club, and readers are invited to send in questions to be addressed to email@example.com.