On September 14, 2012, the NAACP Michigan State Conference officially announced their “Your Energy, Your Power!” campaign to increase Michigan’s renewable energy standards to 25 percent by the year 2025. The “Your Energy, Your Power!” Town Hall, which took place at the UAW- Chrysler National Training Center in Detroit, MI, featured a prestigious panel of NAACP representatives and invited experts to educate the audience on Proposal 3, the renewable energy initiative that is on the November 6th ballot. The event was facilitated by Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy and Director Hilary O. Shelton of the NAACP National Washington Bureau.
According to the 2011 NAACP Michigan State Report, “Coal Blooded: Putting Profits BeforePeople,” 24% of all people living within 3 miles from a Michigan coal plant are people of color. The new 2012 report, “Your Energy, Your Power!: A Case Study on Renewable Energy and Public Health Equity in Michigan,” looks at how low-income communities and those with high populations of people of color are affected by environmental pollution. “Increasing Michigan’s renewable energy standard is one of the best opportunities to reduce pollution from imported coal and oil, and reduce the high rates of asthma, lung diseases and other illnesses that put people’s lives at risk.” stated Pam Smith, Health Chair of the Michigan State Conference of the NAACP.
According to a recent study by Michigan State University, Proposal 3 on Michigan’s Ballot, requires that 25 percent of Michigan’s electricity come from wind, solar, biomass or hydropower by 2025, will create at least 74,000 Michigan jobs that won’t be outsourced, including construction, operations and maintenance jobs. “Proposal 3 is good for creating jobs and new economic opportunities, and it’s vital to improving public health in our communities.” said Pam Smith. Having more of our energy come from clean, renewable sources make more sense than relying on outdated coal plants. More than 30 states have adopted measures similar to Michigan’s ballot initiative, including Illinois, Ohio and Iowa.