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A Military Leader and a Pastor Join Forces For "Prop 3"

Admiral Dennis McGinn
Admiral Dennis McGinn
October 22, 2012

DETROIT - They say politics makes strange bedfellows, and in Michigan a military man and a pastor are united in their support for Proposal 3 (Prop 3). If enough people vote yes, the state would have to get 25 percent of its electricity from clean energy by 2025.

Retired Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn has been telling Michigan American Legion and ROTC groups that 35 years of Naval leadership helped him to realize that the U.S. was sacrificing too many lives protecting what he says is "over-dependence" on fossil fuel.

"How many people who like electricity want to live with their family five miles downwind from a coal-fired power plant? Not too many people are ready to volunteer for that."

He says Prop 3 also would limit rate hikes to no more than 1 percent per year. Environmental groups already back the proposal. Now, they are joined by those such as McGinn, who see it as a matter of national security, and pastors, who see it as a matter of faith. Michigan Interfaith Power and Light says that recently a group representing the Michigan Conference of the United Church of Christ, which has more than 150 churches, voted to endorse the clean energy proposal.

The Rev. Terry Gallagher, pastor of First Congregational Church of Christ, Gibraltar, says it is a matter of adhering to what he sees as part of the greatest commandment: "Love your neighbor."

"I look at our neighbor in the person who lives downwind of these smokestacks that are putting out this pollution. This call asks us to step out of our comfort zone and to preach these values."

Gallagher wants to see more wind farms and solar panels in Michigan, and so does McGinn.

"You put a wind turbine in the ground or a solar field, or put it on your rooftop or what-have-you. It is the gift that keeps on giving because the price of fuel is zero."

McGinn says Michigan, with its strong manufacturing base, is poised to be a leader in green-energy production. Having 25 percent of the energy coming from renewables balances the state's energy portfolio, he adds, and protects it against the whims of foreign powers that control a lot of the world's fossil fuels.

Utilities and chambers of commerce oppose the proposal because, among other things, they say it would be too expensive for consumers, but McGinn argues that cost is about more than just dollars and cents.

More information is available at www.miipl.org and at www.EnergyFactCheck.org.

Mary Anne Meyers, Public News Service - MI