By Tom Karas
How many times have you seen the bumper stickers Lets throw Crap in the Bay, Its the American Way, I love Old Technology: It Was Good Enough for Dad, or I Support Greenhouse Gas and Fewer Jobs?
These may seem like idiotic examples of people willingly displaying dumb concepts, and thats the point. Given the choice, most rational citizens would never align themselves with such nonsense.
Thats why your electric cooperative, whether Cherryland or Great Lakes Energy, works so hard to gloss over the decisions the directors make behind closed doors. In this case, to build a new coal plant in Rogers City. Its common sense that, given the opportunity to choose, folks would want newer, clean technology that is cheaper than older, more costly contraptions. In Michigan, we would love to see lots of jobs created, not fewer. And in the Internet age, we have welcomed advances in technology when given the chance to choose.
But if you belong to one of the four electric co-ops in Northern Michigan, you are subsidizing the creation of a monster. Members have already donated over $65 million dollars that co-ops have set aside for financing of an outdated form of energy generation that will nearly triple your rates and crush real job creation.
Seriously, I know it sounds crazy, but a third of that $65 million dollars of your money has already been spent chasing a concept that has failed miserably in all other areas of the country. How many jobs in Northern Michigan do you think could have been created with 22 million bucks?
But as a co-op member, did you give your okay? Did anyone really explain all sides of the Wolverine coal plant project in Rogers City so you could be properly informed? Did they point out the rate increases to go along with 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide and 42 pounds of mercury annually going into our lakes? Of course not. The co-op directors are smart folks; they know the members would never go along with a plan like this, so they engage in a well funded disinformation campaign. Well funded by members like you, of course. And they got your okay for that too, right?
Its not too late to change direction. You, as a member are also an OWNER. If you believe in the co-op business model, you have a voice. Sure, the $23 million has already been flushed away, but you can help stop $3 billion from being pulled from your pocketbooks over the next 30 years. You just have to get involved and let your voice be heard.
There is a source of information to help you get the full story of this ridiculous charade. Co-opConversations.org can deliver the details that your co-op board of directors has been hiding. Co-opConversations.org will show you how other Americans have stopped their co-ops from going to the dark side. And Co-opConversations.org is the last place your co-op directors want you to go. They have already spent so much of your money in message management, it would be awful for them to see their good propaganda go to waste.
You are a member that makes you part owner. This gives you a voice to use. Get the other side of the story, and then use your voice at the scheduled events at Co-opConversations.org. Its never too late.
Tom Karas is a member of the Michigan Energy Alternatives Project, promoting clean energy for Michigan.