Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is on a mission to protect the Great Lakes from pollution and advocate on behalf of consumers against corporate interests.
The energy sector provides her a venue to do both.
In her first nine months in office, Nessel has emerged as an outspoken supporter of residential utility customers, clean energy, climate change action and — perhaps most noticeably — shutting down the Line 5 pipeline in the Great Lakes.
As Nessel clashes with utilities and pipeline company Enbridge, though, critics say she is overstepping her authority and sending the wrong signals to the state’s business community through a politically driven agenda.
She’s accused of being “reckless” on the Line 5 issue, and blustering when it comes to fighting with the state’s largest utilities over rate increases.
Nessel, a Democrat, follows 16 years of Republican control of the department. Her supporters say she is a relief, both politically and in policy substance, with her vocal support of ratepayers and clean energy.
“I think this office does have the ability to help frame some of those arguments and decisions down the road,” Nessel said of climate and clean energy advocacy during a recent extended interview with the Energy News Network. “I have a hard time thinking that I have this limited opportunity to be sitting in this seat and not have worked real hard to do something to prevent catastrophic impacts to our state in years to come.”