Letters

Letters 02-15-2016

No More Balloon Launches In the recent Wedding issue, a writer noted a trend of celebratory balloon launches at weddings. Balloon releases are nothing more than a wind-born distribution of litter, not an appropriate way to celebrate a marriage or commemorate cancer victims and survivors...

Plenty Of Blame In Flint Many opinions have been voiced about the Flint water crisis; all have left many questions unasked, such as: Lead is the culprit, and a there is a ban on lead in paint, as well as one on lead in new plumbing materials. There are still many service connecting pipes made out of lead in service. Why? Have any been installed despite the ban?

Stop Balloon Releases I was appalled by the column on the wedding traditions article that suggested making new traditions like releasing balloons at the conclusion of the ceremony! I am the president of AFFEW (A Few Friends for the Environment of the World) in Ludington, and we clean beaches four times a year....

Roosevelt Had It Right 202 years ago the British Royal Navy bombarded Fort McHenry during the War Of 1812. While being held captive aboard the HMS Surprise, Francis Scott Key composed the immortal “Star Spangled Banner” poem. 202 years later I ask, “Oh, say can you see” one of the most appallingly dishonest presidential election cycles since the Adams/Jefferson election of 1800...

Avoid Urban Sprawl In Petoskey I urge Resort Township, the City of Petoskey and Emmet County to dissuade Bay Harbor’s proposal to add new business and residential development along U.S. 31 near the main entrance to Bay Harbor...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Recharging Michigan
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Recharging Michigan

Robert Downes - January 19th, 2009
We may be down, but we’re not out. Michigan got some great news last week with word that General Motors is planning to open a new battery-pack factoryhere, along with the largest battery lab in the country.
This is an ‘electrifying‘ development; state officials are striving to make Michigan a powerhouse for the batteries which will run the electric cars of tomorrow. “We want to be the battery capital of the world,” Governor Granholm stated in the Detroit Free Press.
To that end, the State Legislature recently passed a bill which will provide $335 million in tax incentives to boost Michigan‘s battery industry.
So what’s the big deal? Plenty. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation estimates that the battery industry could create 50,000 jobs in the state over the next three to five years. The industry will supply vehicles such as the all-electric Chevy Volt, which debuts in 2010.
The Volt is just the beginning. At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last week, Chinese carmaker BYD unveiled its new electric car which will recharge via a wall plug and sell for $21,700. The car will run 62 miles on a single charge.
That compares well with the Volt, which is expected to cost $35,000, running 40 miles on a charge. But the important thing is, we’re on the brink of an electric car revolution that will -- hopefully -- put the spark back in Michigan manufacturing.
The quest for a better battery is the key to a “green“ future. If you recall, last year, presidential candidate John McCain proposed offering a government prize of $300 million to whoever invented a better battery for electric cars.
That’s because current lithium-ion batteries fall short of our power storage needs. They also have weight, bulk, and toxicity problems.
Whoever designs a more powerful, lightweight battery will literally reinvent the world, not just for automobiles, but for the storage of electrical power on a grand scale for uses such as home-heating.
To that end, Senator Carl Levin is seeking $1 billion in federal grants for U.S. companies to create a better battery and capture the industry.
“We cannot afford to lose the development and production of advanced batteries to other countries that are willing to offer greater financial incentives than we are,” Levin said in a release. “If we offer loans while other countries offer grants, we could lose the battle for green vehicle production to other countries...”
Damn right. Supporting Michigan’s battery industry along with GM’s battery lab and partnership with the University of Michigan is the key to getting our state back on track.
Not only that, but perhaps the salvation of our country and the planet itself.
Consider that the United States imports $400 billion in oil each year from appalling countries such as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Iraq. Wouldn’t it be great to be free of oil dependence?
Then, consider that all of the countries on earth burn more than 85 million barrels of oil per day, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. A breakthrough in battery technology and “green” energy would go a long way toward resolving the problem of global warming.
The manufacturing power of Michigan saved the free world during World War II, when we built the planes and tanks to stop the Nazis and Europe and the forces of Imperial Japan. Perhaps we can rise to the occasion once again -- if we get a jump on being the “battery capital of the world.”


 
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