Pages tagged "Energy & Climate Change"
The Michigan Environmental Council and 30 organizations and municipalities outlined the ways Michigan buildings codes could save residents and businesses money and fight climate change in a letter of recommendations sent to the state.
In a letter to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the coalition urged the inclusion of robust energy efficiency and electrification provisions in the update of Michigan's energy conservation code, which governs the process of constructing homes and businesses across the state.Read more
At the start of the summer Consumers Energy rolled out new summer peak rates for all residential customers, one which the Michigan Environmental Council and others have long advocated for as they intervened in utility companies' rate and energy decisions. MEC wrote about those rates and why they are good for the environment and our wallets.
These rates, called time-of-use rates, price energy usage a little higher when electricity consumption is at a peak and a little lower when it's not. Doing so reduces peak energy use, keeps dirty, old fossil fuel plants offline, and saves customers money.
Since then, MEC has gotten a new analysis from Douglas Jester at 5 Lakes Energy that shows the rates are a critical step towards ensuring energy is more affordable for low-income customers. (See pages 45 to 60 here.)Read more
On Thursday, Consumers Energy made its boldest commitment to date: it will retire its remaining five coal plants by 2025, 15 years ahead of schedule.
Consumers and environmental groups said the move would immediately decrease local air pollution, improve lung and heart health, and be a small but important step toward reducing global climate change.Read more
It’s June 10, early morning. William Wright and Chris Yahanda wake up on a beach somewhere at Wilderness State Park. A few miles away, Lakes Huron and Michigan meet. They eat breakfast with the gulls and lapping waves.
Then, as the sunrise breaks, Wright and Yahanda break out their paddleboards. They wade into the water’s shallows, kneeling on their vessels as if in prayer. Then, once the sandbar drops, they stand and use long paddles to travel south, their feet a minnow’s height from the surface. Their friend, Davis Huber, films them from a boat.
It was the second day of these three friends' 425-mile journey from the Mackinac Bridge above Lake Michigan to, eventually, the Lansing shorelines of the Grand River.Read more
In May, Consumers Energy rolled out a new summer rate for its residential customers. From June to September, Consumers residential customers will pay about 15 cents a kilowatt-hour between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 cents a kilowatt-hour at all other times.
The change prompted some scary headlines like “Consumers Energy electricity rate increases 50% during peak hours.” But the real story is this new summer rate – called a peak rate or time of use rate – is a proven strategy to help us save money on our utility bills and protect our environment. Here's how.Read more
A group of 13 organizations urged the state to protect West Michiganders from the heart and lung diseases smog exacerbates in a recent public comment filing.
The group, led by the Michigan Environmental Council, urged the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to allow Allegan, Berrien and parts of Muskegon counties' ozone (aka, smog) air readings to stand as recorded. Readings exceed safe smog levels for public health and, as such, would make the areas fail to meet air pollution standards.Read more
As utility companies work to make their plans for carbon neutrality reality, they’ll need to clean up their acts on coal ash to truly protect Michiganders from fossil fuels’ threats to public health and the environment.
A new report by the Michigan Environmental Council reveals that, despite what some utility companies say, the 1.45 million tons of coal ash – the toxic byproduct of coal – produced each year in the Great Lake state is not always safely stored.
The report’s co-writers – MEC energy program director Charlotte Jameson and MEC energy policy specialist Abby Wallace – found that 12 the 15 coal ash sites with publicly available monitoring data had contaminated groundwater with toxic chemicals far above state and federal standards.
That puts the Great Lakes, rivers, groundwater and people living near coal plants at risk from toxic chemicals in coal ash, like lead, arsenic and mercury.
The report also found that the majority of the acres-long and meters-deep coal ash storage “ponds” are unlined, and one in Grand Haven flooded recently due to high water levels.
“MEC’s research shows the trend in groundwater contamination from coal ash has not substantially improved and that unlined coal ash ponds, even where a substantial clay underlayer exists, have been leaching toxic chemicals into our water for decades,” said Jameson. “We cannot fully protect our water and our health in Michigan if we remain dependent on coal-powered energy. We must swiftly close their plants; properly remediate their pollution; and transition to clean, renewable energy sources.”
“Holland. Marquette. River Rouge. Essexville. These are cities where utilities’ coal ash sites have contaminated groundwater with arsenic and lead significantly above health and environmental protection standards,” Wallace said. “Utilities must close coal ash ponds and remediate nearby groundwater to protect and give justice to the vulnerable communities around them.”
A 2021 Harvard University study noted one in five people worldwide may die from fossil fuel pollution, said Casey Patnode, a doctoral and public health student at the University of Michigan and founding member of Medical Students for a Sustainable Future.
“I’ve seen many patients come into the ER in respiratory arrest,” Patnode said. “I wonder how many of them would not have had to experience these situations if it wasn’t for the pollutants in their environment. Coal and coal ash must go completely for people to be truly safe from fossil fuels' debilitating effects, from developmental delays to cancer. We, at a population level, are on the precipice of being in this type of arrest and we need urgent action to prevent this."
MEC’s 2021 coal ash report was peer-reviewed by Earthjustice. It is an extension of a 2018 coal ash report.
In an effort to advocate for Michigan customers, four groups announced today they are joining Attorney General Dana Nessel to intervene in Consumers Energy’s proposal to raise electric rates in Michigan.
The groups intervening are the Michigan Environmental Council, Citizens Utility Board of Michigan, Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council.
In December 2020, the Commission approved a $90.2 million rate increase, which went into effect January 1 of this year. The utility company originally asked for an increase of $254 million during that case, but MEC and allies were able to blunt it.
If the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approves Consumers Energy’s $225 million rate increase request, residential customers would see an additional 8.3% rate increase while industrial customers would see a 4.2% increase and commercial customers would see a bump of 0.4%.Read more
Environmental groups endorsed a bill last Wednesday that would eliminate the cap on how many residents and businesses can use small-scale solar energy to power their homes and companies, saying current law restricts job growth and investment and access to affordable energy.
The Michigan League of Conservation Voters and Michigan Environmental Council testified in support of Rep. Markkenen's House Bill 4236 during the House Energy Committee Wednesday. The Republican from Hancock has the bipartisan support of 12 cosponsors.
Michigan Environmental Council and its fellow Line 5 legal intervenors plan to appeal the decision of a Michigan Public Service Commission Administrative Law Judge regarding the Commission’s review of Enbridge’s Line 5 tunnel proposal.
Judge Dennis Mack ruled Tuesday that the Commission must consider environmental impacts when deciding to permit a tunnel that could surround the Line 5 oil pipeline through the Great Lakes for as long as a century. But Mack also ruled that the Commission cannot consider impacts in the context of climate change or the need for the fossil fuels Line 5 transports.
The intervenors' appeal will go before the Commission.Read more