One of the only environmental wins during the Michigan lame duck session is House Bill 5397 getting through the Michigan Senate today unanimously today. HB 5397, known as the "municipal utility residential clean energy program act" will allow Municipal Utilities to provide "on-bill" financing for residential properties to make clean energy and energy efficiency improvements and pay for those improvements through their utility bills.
HB 5397 will remove financial barriers from municipal utility customers in making energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements to their homes for over 260,000 households. Even if you are not a municipal utility customer, this bill may lay the groundwork for our other utility providers both in Michigan and nationally. This in turn will also save the municipality utilities from further investment in new infrastructure costs. This bill is already being seen as a national model for energy efficiency financing.
Let's celebrate this win together and thank our legislators for taking this step towards residential energy opportunity.
House Bill 5205 will amend PA 295 entitled "Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act" to include incinerator use and the burning of municipal solid waste as a renewable energy.
Amendments like these below will impact Michiganders health and air quality affecting our most vulnerable populations like the youth, elderly, and racial minorities. Tell your Michigan State Senator and the Senate Energy and Tech Committee today to stop this bill!
BURNING TRASH IS NOT CLEAN ENERGY! PROTECT OUR HEALTH, OUR AIR, AND OUR WATER!
Please take the next 30 seconds to tell WMEAC what environmental issues you want to hear more about, what you are passionate about, and what we should be advocating to protect.
Support the Expansion of Saugatuck Dunes State Park!
Tuesday, September 16th, the Michigan Senate Energy and Technology Committee will have a hearing on HB 5397 to allow on-bill financing for municipal utilities. On-Bill financing means utility company customers can pay for their home improvements through their energy bills every month! Energy efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest, and most quickly deployed energy source we have available today!
The Michigan House of Representatives voted on HB 5397 in June which passed with nearly unanimous, bipartisan support by a vote of 108 to 2. Let's make sure the Senate continues to support this bill!
Hearing and Public Comment on DEQ Proposed Fracking Rules
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals (OOGM), will conduct a public hearing on proposed administrative rules promulgated pursuant to Part 615, Supervisor of Wells, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.
These rules are to address concerns of Michigan citizens over potential impacts of high volume hydraulic fracturing. The rules also clarify and update provisions on well spacing, well locations and drilling tracts, filing of permit applications, and contested case responses.
The public hearings will be held on July 15, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at, in the Treetops Resort, 3962 Wilkinson Road, Gaylord, Michigan 49735 and July 16, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., in the Lansing Center, 333 East Michigan Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48933.
Copies of the proposed rules (ORR 2013-101 EQ) can be downloaded from the Internet through the Office of Regulatory Reinvention at http://www.michigan.gov/orr. Copies of the rules may also be obtained by contacting the Lansing office at:
Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 30256
Lansing, Michigan 48909-7756
All interested persons are invited to attend and present their comments on the proposed rules. Anyone unable to attend may submit comments in writing to the address above. Written comments must be received by July 31, 2014.
Michigan House Bill 4885, passed last week by the Committee on Energy and Technology, would reduce taxes on oil and gas produced in Michigan. The bill would reduce oil severance taxes from 6.6% to 4% and natural gas taxes from 5% to 4% for oil or natual gas extracted from a "carbon dioxide secondary or enhanced recovery project."
Governor Snyder's office released four energy reports over the past month under the umbrella of “Readying Michigan to Make Good Energy Decisions.” The report showed that while the current energy efficiency standards are saving businesses and consumers millions, our standards are not high enough to keep up with our utility companies!
The report concludes:
Michigan Utilities have met or will exceed near-term targets for energy efficiency
Michigan's energy efficiency programs to date have been found to be cost effective
Michigan has the potential to achieve cost savings through energy efficiency
Michigan is, compared to other states, either in the middle or lagging behind
The report is now open to public comment so it is our time to make sure our voice is heard! We need to let Governor Snyder's Administration know that we want higher standards to protect our customers and our natural resources!
Please use this letter as a guide and submit your comments below - please make changes to this letter to make it more personal to you. WMEAC will forward your response directly to the Governor's Office!
"Public Act 295 of 2008 sets provisions for regulated Michigan electricity and natural gas providers to come up with energy optimization plans to “to reduce the future costs of provider service to customers."
Since that act was enabled we have seen, through your latest report, that energy efficiency programs are both cost-effective, and that these programs lead to cost savings for the state and consumers. However, the report also showed that Michigan is either middle of the road or falling behind other participating states, it's important that Michigan lead on this issue and focus on creating energy standards that push toward a more resilient future for our state and our citizens.
It is important for the future of our state that Michigan pushes for strong clean energy standards to save money our struggling consumers and keep our natural resources safe. "
Singapore Dunes LLC. has just listed the 310-acre Saugatuck coastal duneland property for sale for $40 million.
Don't build this two mile road on world-class coastal duneland!
Even with the land for sale, Mr. McClendon’s Singapore Dunes LLC is seeking approval for a new road through dunes and wetlands – this is the subject of a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public comment period closing tomorrow.
The proposed road would initially pave over 200,000 square feet of coastal dunes and wetlands, chop down over 500 trees, and use more than 30,000 yards of fill. Your voice is needed to inform the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality why this extra road is not needed and the many ways it would be harmful to the surrounding area.
The DEQ needs to hear from you that the road is NOT in the public interest and does not meet the standards required. The Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance has provided a list of suggested talking points you may use to do so here (PDF).
High-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing is opening up previously untapped natural gas reserves in Michigan shale deposits.
WMEAC is concerned that modern high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing and its proprietary cocktail of chemical lubricants, sand, and solvents could threaten our ground and surface water resources. Michigan regulators claim that better regulatory practices are in place here than in other states, and that our state has different geological stratification and features than the states that have experienced serious environmental issues. But there are some clear regulatory gaps and some very prominent questiosn that need to be addressed before the practice can be considered safe for Michigan.
A package of eight bills was introduced in the Michigan State House earlier this month aimed at addressing a number of these issues, targeting some of the less controversial issues surrounding fracking in Michigan. Some of the bills in the package would:
The proposed bills represent a commonsense and pragmatic approach that should provide a means for the oil and gas industry, its regulators, and the citizens of communities near drilling sites to understand and prevent potential problems before they occur, including those that are unique to Michigan geology.
If a form does not appear below, please click on this link to proceed to a working version of this form.
Gov. Rick Snyder has signed Senate Bill 163, which features controversial and potentially damaging amendments to Michigan’s 1994 Natural Resource and Environmental Protections Act, into law. According to the Snyder administration, the legislation, now Public Act 93, was ostensibly crafted to bring Michigan’s wetland management policies in line with existing EPA regulations.
However, the legislation relaxes numerous protections for Michigan wetlands. More exemptions for development on currently-protected wetland areas are included in the legislation, creating a direct threat to one of Michigan’s most vital natural resources. The new legislation also re-defines a contiguous wetland, possibly reducing the amount of land that is defined as a wetland in Michigan.
Wetlands filter water naturally and are essential to keeping our Great Lakes and local watersheds clean. They are unique ecosystems and homes to numerous species of plants and animals. They absorb stormwater runoff and prevent floods. They are one of Michigan’s most valuable resources, and we cannot afford to lose any more.
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Bill in State House Diminishes Biological Diversity
The "anti-biodiversity" Senate Bill (SB) 78 is currently headed to Governor Snyder's desk. This bill will prohibit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) from promoting biodiversity in the management of state lands. Basic scientific principles of conservation, land management, and ecological health emphasize the importance of biodiversity.
Best practices for natural resource management and public testimony from leading Michigan ecological scientists were disregarded when the Senate passed this bill; It undermines the Michigan Endangered Species Act and the designation of Biodiversity Stewardship Areas under the Living Legacies program. The bill removes provisions regarding restoration, distribution, and the "continued existence" of native species and communities from the definition of conservation in law.
Tourism will be impacted if the DNR has difficulty maintaining the quality land our state has come to expect and be known for. Additionally, biological diversity is key to the state forest action plan, which contributed to Michigan bringing in $22 million for cooperative agreements including $800,000 in Great Lakes Restoration funds. Removing biodiversity protection would also risk the state's forest certification.
SB 78 represents a radical shift in forest management: it actually removes biological diversity from the responsibilities of the Department of Natural Resources.