Tell WMEAC what YOU want to work on in 2015!
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.
Still Time to Tell the State to Save Saugatuck Dunes
Support the Expansion of Saugatuck Dunes State Park!
Pay for Energy Efficiency with your Energy Savings!
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 proposed DEQ fracking rules
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.
A Valentine for Oil and Gas?
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."
Help Shape Michigan's Future in Energy Efficiency!
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!
Make your voice heard by submitting public comment directly to the Governor's Office! Use this letter as a guide and submit your comments below! WMEAC will forward your response directly to the Governors Office!
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. "
Build a Two Mile Road on World-Class West Michigan Dunes?
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).
Support Commonsense Fracking Regulations
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:
- Require the disclosure of the chemicals used in the fracking process and report the water used when it exceeds more than 100,000 gallons (For comparison, the first well on the Excelsior County site pictured above used over 21 million gallons of water). Currently, about 9,300 different chemicals are used in fracking operations, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
- Give municipalities and individuals the opportunity to request a public hearing before a fracking permit is issued, letting people have a say in the process.
- Allow local units of government to control fracking operations in their communities.
- Create a public-private advisory committee to study the effects of fracking and make recommendations.
- Hold fracking companies liable for contamination of groundwater if fracking fluid is found in nearby groundwater.
- Increase required setback distances of fracking operations from residential areas and apply it to schools, hospitals, daycare centers and public parks.
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.
Tell Snyder He Should Have Protected Wetlands
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.
If a form does not appear below, please click on this link to proceed to a working version of this form (technical difficulties).