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Concerned new laws will hurt UP

Last month “Governor Whitmer signed historic clean energy legislation making Michigan a national leader in the fight against climate change,” according to a news release from her office Nov. 28.

By signing these laws Whitmer is admitting that climate change is real and therefore the need for legislation is necessary. What cannot be known is how these bills will impact the Upper Peninsula. Perhaps these bills will help bring the U.P. a level of prosperity it has never known. Or perhaps these laws will bring negative economic consequences, like the spotted owl fiasco in Oregon.

Before the 1980s, Douglas County, Oregon, was known as “The Timber Capital” of the nation. Then through a series of court actions meant to protect the spotted owl, logging on federal land was halted. The loggers lost their jobs because there weren’t enough trees to log. Loggers no longer had money to spend at local businesses. Schools floundered without the taxes on timber receipts. The small town economic ecosystem took a hit and it would be decades before things would improve.

While I appreciate Gov. Whitmer’s desire to protect our state from the ravages of global warming, I also worry that the U.P.’s small towns economic ecosystems will suffer unnecessarily under these new laws.

Is it possible to protect the environment but also the people who live in those ecosystems as well? Maybe our governor should give it a go.

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