Who: Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs — Pro-Proposal 3 group
Featured Truth Squad Material: TV ads
Truth Squad call: Technical foul
Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs (MEMJ) is a ballot proposal committee supporting Proposal 3, a measure to require utilities to obtain 25 percent of Michigan's electric needs from renewable sources by 2025 (with some caveats). MEMJ is a coalition of environmental, alternative energy, union and business interests.
In the latest reporting period ending July 20, the group raised $2,247,277, according to state campaign finance records. Of that amount, $1,772,000 came from clean-energy advocacy organizations in San Francisco and New York. Its largest in-state contribution was $450,000 from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.
"Michigan spends billions importing coal from other states and oil from the Middle East. (Text on screen: '1.7 Billion to other states. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration Website.'")
This state report says Michigan spent $1.39 billion to buy coal to produce electricity. And all of the coal was imported.
Michigan imports 97 percent of its petroleum needs.
The state is expected to use 4.12 million gallons of gasoline in 2012.
Largest single source of U.S. petroleum imports is Canada; Persian Gulf nations constitute the second-largest source.
In 2011, the United States spent $327 billion on net oil imports, says the Congressional Research Service.
"That's right, 60 percent of Michigan's electricity comes from imported coal. (Text on screen: 60% OF ELECTRICITY FROM IMPORTED COAL)."
This Energy Information Administration analysis says three-fifths of the state's electric generation stems from coal. As noted above, a state report says all Michigan's coal is imported.
"It will create 94,000 jobs Michigan jobs and spark new businesses (Text on screen: create 94,000 jobs Michigan jobs. Source: Jobs and investment impact study done by MSU, 8/10/12; www.mienergymijobs.com/economicimpact)."
The study can be found on the site of the Michigan Environmental Council. The MEC is a supporter of Prop 3 and a member of MEMJ. The study notes that its work was "supported by a contract" between MSU and MEC. And an MEC spokesman confirmed that the group paid for the study.
The MEMJ page says 74,000 jobs would come from work toward the renewable standard. Another 20,000 would come from a 50 percent market capture of the manufacturing, for a total of 94,000.
However, that's not exactly what the study says. The summary notes:
"The $10.3 billion investment in renewable energy in Michigan that would be required by the proposed 25 percent by 2025 policy could create 74,495 job years (emphasis added) in Michigan, which is divided into 31,513 construction jobs years and 42,982 operations and maintenance job years. "¦ Additionally, there is potential to capture manufacturing job creation; however, the magnitude of that gain is dependent on the success of Michigan manufacturers' ability to capture market share in the renewable energy market."
A "job year" is a technical term, defined in this report as "Full employment for one person for 2,080 hours in a 12-month span."
As the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Midland-based free market think tank, cheekily noted: "That is, a person newly hired by a wind company and who works 25 years would count as 25 job years, though it is still just one job."
MEMJ counters that "job years is an academic term that is always translated as jobs." The group pointed to a Detroit News story from Sept. 5 about jobs created by natural gas drilling, which MEMJ says is based on a report that uses the same terminology.
But not every economist you speak to will agree with the terms' flexibility.
"There are 8,000 parts in a wind turbine and all of them can be made in Michigan."
A study by the Center on Globalization, Governance and Competitiveness at Duke University says a wind turbine has an estimated 8,000 parts.
The state's Michigan Economic Development Corp. says, "Michigan's industrial base, tuned to supporting the needs of the automotive industry, has all the expertise and capacity to handle the advanced precision manufacturing needs of the wind energy industry. In fact, federal studies rank Michigan among the top four states in industrial capacity to develop and manufacture wind energy systems."
"In West Michigan they make the blades."
Holland-based Energetx makes wind turbine blades.
"Astraeus wind manufacturing in mid-Michigan manufactures hubs."
Astraeus Wind in Eaton Rapids (southwest of Lansing) makes hubs.
"Danotek in Southeast Michigan makes high-tech generators that create clean energy and jobs."
Canton-based Danotek makes "high performance permanent magnets." Those parts are key to modern wind turbines.
The ad is better on describing Michigan's current electric generation situation than it is in describing the employment prospects if Proposal 3 is enacted. Michigan has seen considerable activity in the manufacture of, and siting of, wind turbines.
Truth squad call:
Technical foul, which Michigan Truth Squad defines as "A statement that implies something that isn't quite true and deserves additional explanation, or that is entirely false." A typical viewer is likely to think of a "job" being a "job" — something that will last, not something that ends in a year. Equating the word "job" with the economist term of "job year" certainly "deserves additional explanation."
Who: Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs — Pro-Proposal 3 group
Editorial: Board's email gyrations can't keep public out
The issue: GT Road Commission buys ipads, sets up own email addresses. Our view: Communications about official business are public, no matter the address.Continued ...
Letters to the Editor: 04/15/2014
More voices needed.Continued ...
Another View: Tough situation over electrical services
While virtually all cities in northeastern Kentucky provide their residents with some utility services —water and sewer, mainly, and sometimes natural gas — to the best of our knowledge, Olive Hill is the only town in the FIVCO?region with its own electrical company.Continued ...
To Traverse City Central and Traverse City West high schools for ranking among the most challenging high schools in the state and nation, based on the Washington Post’s annual rankings.Continued ...
Letters to the Editor: 04/14/2014
Gains nothing; Negate Citizens United; Install sidewalks.Continued ...
- Sunday, April 13, 2014
Editorial: Public must have major say in coal dock's future
Now that the decision of what’s going to happen to the old coal dock property on West Bay is with the Traverse City commission, it’s time for the city, the public and local advocacy groups to talk about how best to keep the property in public hands and accessible to the maximum number of people.Continued ...
Letters to the Editor: 04/13/2014
Hope for rubels; Why like the old plan.Continued ...
Forum: Public-access TV just grows stronger
By now, Charter cable television customers are well aware of the company’s recent switch to an all-digital platform.Continued ...
Jack Lessenberry: Roster almost set for both sides
Remarkably, seven months before the November elections, both Michigan Democrats and Republicans have the main candidates on their statewide tickets virtually all in place.Continued ...
George Weeks: Stirrings in statewide, congressional races
There were interesting stirrings last week in Michigan’s gubernatorial, U.S. Senate, and northern congressional races:Continued ...
- Saturday, April 12, 2014
Letters to the Editor: 04/12/2014
Happier, healthier; Better than gridlock.Continued ...
Another View: Unions don’t belong in collegiate athletics
College basketball fans are currently hanging on the results and emotions of March Madness. But that phrase is only a slight exaggeration of the recent ruling from a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board which, if upheld, will launch Big Labor into a new arena: college sports.Continued ...
Another View: Protections needed with dangers lurking
Hardly a week goes by without multiple stories ... detailing the arrests, court proceedings, convictions or sentencings of individuals involved in sex crimes against children or young teens.Continued ...
Fact Check: Eric Cantor, the fry cook and the whopper
Did you hear the story about President Obama and the fry cook? House Majority Leader Eric Cantor did, but he got it wrong.Continued ...
Obama: More young adults covered
President Barack Obama touted the success of the Affordable Care Act after 7 million people enrolled in coverage on the marketplaces by the March 31 deadline. "Despite several lost weeks out of the gate because of problems with the website, 7.1 milliContinued ...
- Friday, April 11, 2014
Editorial: Recent BATA changes put accountability first
The Bay Area Transportation Authority is undergoing some needed accountability changes that should improve service to some while rewarding others for playing by the rules.Continued ...
Letters to the Editor: 04/11/2014
Enabling the homeless.Continued ...
Forum: TC can't get bed tax, visitors centers can
I am writing to comment on the March 29 Another View: “Local tax a local windfall” about Franklin County in New York state seeking state approval to impose a bed tax on hotels and motels in that county, and your Online Poll question asking readers whether such a tax is a good idea.Continued ...
- Thursday, April 10, 2014
Letters to the Editor: 04/10/2014
Makes problem worse; Let tourists join in; A positive influence.Continued ...
- Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Letters to the Editor: 04/09/2014
No need to name school; Much ado about nothing.Continued ...
Another View: Expedite appeals on same-sex marriage issue
If there’s anything Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and the advocacy groups pushing to legalize same-sex marriage in the state can agree on, it’s that the judicial system should make a decision on this emotional and divisive issue quickly.Continued ...
Another View: Financial failings in education create concerns
We think it’s safe to say that taxpayers have high expectations of public school systems.Continued ...
- Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Editorial: Road Commission can't pretend there isn't work
The issue: GT Road Commission lays off 17 as it gives raises to others. Our view: There’s no lack of potholes to be filled.Continued ...
Letters to the Editor: 04/08/2014
Pressure-check pipelines.Continued ...
Another View: Be prepared, ready for severe weather
Gov. Rick Snyder has declared April 6 through April 12 as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Michigan.Continued ...
- Editorial: Board's email gyrations can't keep public out