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GUEST POST: Burning Tires (Hazardous is the New Clean)

Since today is Earth Day, I thought it would be a great opportunity to hear from a group that does more than most others in terms of protecting our planet from further damage by human activity. Clean Water Action is on the forefront of this and their organization is a model for how to organize and create change one doorstep and phone call at a time.

Today’s guest post is by Denny Green, a staffer at Clean Water Action.
You know that warm, cozy feeling you get from seeing black toxic plumes of smoke billowing up from a pile of burning hazardous rubbish and industrial waste?…

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Michigan State University to end burning coal for energy

If you’ve ever spent time at Michigan State University, it’s hard to miss the twin smokestacks of the T.B. Simon Power Plant on the south side of campus. And it’s also hard to miss the gigantic piles of coal next to the plant or the hundreds of coal-carrying train cars that feed the maw of the behemoth.

Starting in 2016, those coal piles will be gone. Michigan State University announced today that they are ending their use of coal for energy and transitioning to cleaner-burning natural gas:

In a move that will reduce emissions at its T.B. Simon Power Plant as well as significantly advance its Energy Transition Plan, Michigan State University is taking steps to stop burning coal by the end of 2016, with a majority of coal purchasing and burning ending in 2015.…
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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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