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Renewable Energy: For Some in Michigan It's a Matter of Faith

Julie Lyons Brinker and Dave Fredericks from MIFPL, standing on an Ann Arbor church roof. Photo credit: MIFPL
Julie Lyons Brinker and Dave Fredericks from MIFPL, standing on an Ann Arbor church roof. Photo credit: MIFPL
September 11, 2012

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Voters in Michigan will be asked in November if they want to require utilities to get 25 percent of electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass by the year 2025. That question, Proposal 3, is picking up support from leaders of several religious faiths around the state.

The Reverend Vern Hoffman, who has retired from the Hope Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, says for him it's all about stewardship.

"People, made in God's image, are responsible for caring for the creation and not despoiling it."

Opponents say it would be too costly and cost union jobs, but earlier this week the United Auto Workers joined several other unions that have endorsed the proposal because it promises to create 94,000 new clean-energy jobs in Michigan.

He says that, when it comes to clean energy, other states are way ahead of Michigan.

"We're only getting currently about 3.6 percent of energy from renewables. Iowa already gets 21 percent of its electricity from renewables."

To those who are afraid of losing jobs in the coal industry, Hoffman answers.

"We'll be creating a lot of jobs as we work toward alternative energy, a whole new source."

Hoffman says he knows religious leaders from all faiths who are now convinced that climate change is a serious problem that needs to be addressed on many levels, and moving away from fossil fuels is a good start. Hoffman is active with Michigan Interfaith Power and Light, a group of more than 180 religious congregations concerned about issues such as clean energy.

Opponents say the proposition would be too costly and cost union jobs, but earlier this week the United Auto Workers joined several other unions that have endorsed the proposal because it promises to create 94,000 new clean-energy jobs in Michigan.

The ballot question is at mienergymijobs.com.

Mary Anne Meyers, Public News Service - MI