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Michigan Big Energy firms working together to steer legislation to fatten their profit statements

If you listen to DTE Energy and Consumers Energy tell the story, Michigan is perched on the precipice of an impending energy crisis of epic proportions. New ads running television – over 400 in the past two months – tell us that, thanks to federal regulations, many of our coal-fired power plants will be shut down. The result, they suggest, will be a critical shortage of electricity in Michigan.

These are the sorts of ads you’ll see:

There’s another one HERE.

This media blitz is being put forth by a group called Citizens for Michigan’s Energy Future. The “facts” in the ad are based on a “policy brief” paid for by Consumers and DTE.…

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Republican bill would make petcoke and industrial waste eligible for “clean energy” tax credits

Last December, Aric Nesbitt, a proud Republican member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), introduced a bill, H.B. 5205 that went largely unnoticed. The bill would reclassify petroleum coke (“petcoke”) and solid waste as a “renewable energy resource”, eligible for renewable energy tax credits.

Yes, you’re right to gasp.

Earlier this month, Executive Director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters Lisa Wozniak wrote an op-ed for titled “Hazardous waste is not clean, renewable energy” that puts the absurdity of this legislation into perspective:

[S]tate legislators want to rewrite the definition of renewable energy to include some of the dirtiest, most hazardous substances generated by oil refineries and coal plants.…
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GUEST POST: An update on the Veterans Green Village project in Detroit

Last October, I wrote about an exciting new project in Detroit called the Veterans Green Village to bring green energy projects to the city and put military veterans to work. I have stayed in contact with Gordon Soderberg (pictured right) who heads up the project. His group has teamed up with the Motor City Blight Busters of Detroit to create the Veterans Village. I asked Gordon to give us an update of this exciting project.

You can keep up with the Veterans Village project on their Facebook Page HERE. The Motor City Blight Busters’ Facebook page is HERE.

Here’s Gordon’s update.…

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Expansion of Oil Drilling Threatens Great Lakes, Our Health

A major oil spill in the Great Lakes would be devastating to Michigan’s natural resources, the health of our citizens, and our economy, and the boom in domestic oil drilling and Canadian tar sands makes such a spill a real possibility. But the potential for this kind of a catastrophe has been almost entirely missing from the national conversation about expanding drilling.

Oiled birds, Kalamazoo
[Photo by U.S.Fish and Wildife Service|Flickr]

Think about what has happened, just in the Great Lakes region, over the last couple of years:

BP spilled up to 1600 gallons of oil into Lake Michigan last week.…

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SCORECARD: Sierra Club Michigan gives Gov. Snyder failing grade on protecting our state’s environment

Rick Snyder the MINO: Moderate in Name Only

Today, the Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club released a scorecard rating Governor Rick Snyder on his record regarding energy, environment, good government and related issues.

Spoiler alert: He failed. Miserably. He received a rating of 25%.

The Scorecard includes 32 key decisions made by Gov. Snyder on environmental issues including 25 bills signed into law, two bills vetoed, and five administrative actions regarding permits and DEQ/DNR programs. Snyder signed 17 bills into law that were direct attacks on environmental protections. He signed 6 bills designed to protect the environment and also vetoed one bill attacking environmental protections.…
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EVENT/INTERVIEW: Veterans Green Bus is in Detroit to teach vets sustainable energy skills and so, SO much more

“What I learned from my military experience is that…there’s no way this is sustainable and there’s gonna be one day when we go back and die for this stuff.”

I meet a lot of really terrific people in my travels but Gordon Soderberg is one of he most selfless, compassionate men I’ve met in a very long time. He has devoted his entire life to serving others; first through his military service and then, since then, in working in disaster response and in recruiting and training veterans in this field.

From working with Cindy Sheehan’s anti-war protest to being on the front lines after hurricanes like Katrina and Sandy hit, the common element for Soderberg was a large, retro-fitted bus, painted Army green.…

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UPDATED: New Michigan Republican legislation would prohibit wind farms on the Great Lakes

Who knew we had six wind energy scientists in the state legislature?

Six Michigan Republicans have decided that Michigan shall not have wind energy installations on the Great Lakes. Why? Not, supposedly, because they are against renewable, clean wind energy. No, it’s because they have decided that (a) it’s not feasible and (b) we should never conduct studies to determine that it’s not feasible.

The bill, House Bill 4778 was introduced by Republican Ray Franz and has five co-sponsors: Greg MacMaster, Tim Kelly, Pat Somerville, Bob Genetski, and Jon Bumstead.

The relevant parts of the bill read thusly:

The department shall not enter into a lease or deed that allows the use of unpatented lands for the siting, placement, construction, operation, or maintenance of any structure to research wind energy development, any wind turbine, or any equipment or structure related to a wind turbine, including, but not limited, to a transmission line.…
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BlueGreen Alliance launches “Repair America” campaign to repair crucial national infrastructure while creating jobs

Last week, the BlueGreen Alliance announced the launch of its “Repair America” campaign designed to push action on repairing crucial national infrastructure across the country and create thousands of valuable jobs in the process. The BlueGreen Alliance is a partnership of labor and environmental groups working to expand the number of jobs in the renewable energy sector. Over 100 people attended the kick-off event in Warren, Michigan.

The following guest post is from Sue Browne, the Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance, which discusses the importance of the “Repair America” campaign.

Reconnecting the Mitten is a Key Opportunity

Progress on funding Michigan’s roads is currently at a standstill but the state’s roads continue to deteriorate according to recent headlines.…

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Sen. Reid & Obama administration target biggest example of “choosing winners” we have: Big Oil subsidies

Big Oil subsidies are, simply put, indefensible

Conservatives who are dead set against making any investments in new technologies that can help propel our country and its economy forward are famous for using the argument that this is "picking winners and losers". The irony is that, in order to even be considered for federal government subsidies, new technologies -- like renewable energy projects, for example -- must have already proven themselves as winners that are simply in need of a kickstart to make them affordable and profitable. With negotiations over the upcoming sequester -- automatic, across the board budget cuts -- ready to dominate the headlines, both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Obama administration are suggesting that it's time to end one the most glaring examples "picking winners" that we have in this country today: $4 billion in subsidies to Big Oil companies. More after the jump.
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Federal study of energy & water issues is 8 years late – please sign the petition to move it forward NOW!

Ensuring our energy policy doesn't compromise our water supply

In 2005, President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (pdf) into law. This comprehensive law does everything from providing new subsidies and incentives for renewable energy production (like wind, solar, biomass, wave & tidal, and geothermal) and tax breaks for energy conservation improvements on homes to providing incentives for increased drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and exempting oil and gas producers from certain requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act. It even extended Daylight Savings Time by a week. There's a fine summary of this 551 page bill HERE. One of the components of the Energy Policy Act was Section 979 which compelled Energy Secretary to study the interaction and interplay of water-related issues and energy-related issues. The intent was to ensure that we fully understand how our country's energy policy impacts our water resources. The study is eight years late and there's a petition to sign to move it forward. Details are after the jump.
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