Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, has introduced a resolution that would withdraw Michigan from the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord. Similar resolutions will be introduced by legislators in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. Gov. Jennifer Granholm joined the governors of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and Kansas in signing the accord, which calls for a 20 percent reduction of CO2 emissions below 2005 levels by 2020 and would require extensive economic pain with little to no environmental gain.
Significant CO2 emission reductions will lead to higher energy costs for both consumers and Michigan businesses, resulting in a loss of more jobs (particularly acute in a manufacturing state like Michigan) and less money in the pockets of Michigan residents. Any environmental impact would be too small to measure — Michigan only accounts for 0.54 percent of the worldwide CO2 emissions.
As director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, I attended meetings with other state environmental directors when these regional accords were first discussed more than a decade ago. Environmental groups frustrated with lack of federal action on so-called global warming urged directors of state environmental agencies to convince their governors to participate in regional accords for the expressed purpose of pushing the U.S. Congress into passing cap-and-trade legislation. I did not commit to Michigan's participation in the accord, recognizing it would hurt the state's economy for no discernible environmental gain.
Much has changed since those early discussion regarding regional greenhouse gas reduction accords with the state loosing almost 1 million jobs and recent revelations that the science of global climate change has been compromised by political agendas. Michigan's participation in the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord was a bad idea when it was first discussed and is a worse idea now. It is time for Michigan to cut its losses and withdraw from the accord.