Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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Up in smoke/ Stupak‘s view/ Looking ahead

Robert Downes - May 31st, 2010
Up in smoke: two proposed coal plants in Rogers City & Bay City
Plans for two new coal plants in Rogers City and Bay City were
scuttled last week, raising hope in Michigan’s environmental community
that power companies will pursue a cleaner path to producing
electricity.
Last week, Gov. Jennifer Granholm denied an air quality permit for
Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative’s proposed coal burning plant in
Rogers City. The governor’s decision was based on input from the
Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (MDNRE),
which had issues with the economic benefits of the plant, in addition
to air quality concerns.
Wolverine Power has the option of
appealing the decision.
Reaction to the news was mixed.
Tom Karas of the Michigan Energy
Alternatives Project (MEAP), which has led the fight against new coal plants in
Michigan, issued a blog noting that the
Rogers City plant would have raised electricity rates significantly.
“Wolverine’s air permit for its proposed coal plant in Rogers City
was denied because, according to the State’s letter, the plant simply
was not needed, there were cheaper options, and the power it generated
would be extremely expensive,” Karas said.
In an opinion piece from the Michigan Land Use Institute (MLUI), editor Jim
Dulzo commented on the controversy in Rogers City over the proposed
plant. The environmental and land use think tank has spent the past
three years building a case against the project.
“We found a town where most everyone fiercely supported the plant,”
Dulzo said of his initial visit to Rogers City in July, 2007.
“Desperate for economic development, they saw the 50 or 100 permanent
jobs the plant would bring as pure gold. Who could ever blame them?
“But we also found brave people willing to speak out, against
overwhelming social pressure, and say what needed to be said -- that
there was no need for the plant; that it would change Rogers City
profoundly, and for the worse; that it would, sooner or later, damage
the community’s health by harming its air and water; and that it would
greatly boost electricity rates for 200,000 Michigan families and
businesses.”
Dulzo added that the proposed plant would have increased the cost of
its customers’ electricity by close to 60 percent.


STUPAK‘S VIEW
U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Menominee), an ardent supporter of the
proposed coal plant, blasted the State’s decision.
“Governor Granholm’s decision to deny Wolverine Power’s air permit for
a new power plant in Rogers City is a blow to Michigan’s economy and
prevents Northern Michigan from helping to establish the state as a
leader in new energy technologies,” Stupak said in a release. “This
project was an opportunity to create much-needed jobs and meet
Michigan’s energy needs, while remaining consistent with the goal of
producing cleaner energy.”
Stupak said the denial of the permit would mean the loss of an
estimated 2,800 construction jobs in addition to 50-100 permanent jobs
in Rogers City, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the
state.
“It also signals a continuation of
Michigan’s reliance on inefficient power plants with high rates of
pollution constructed 40 to 50 years ago,” Stupak said.
He noted that the proposed plant has been approved for funding via a
grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and has the potential of
receiving an additional $147 million in federal funding for clean
energy and job creation.
“The Wolverine Power Clean Energy Venture Project was designed to
utilize carbon capture and sequestration technologies, co-fire 20
percent of its fuel from biomass, and construct more than 50 megawatts
of clean wind energy,” Stupak said.

LOOKING AHEAD
But Dulzo noted that the nation is trending away from coal power as an
energy option.
“The Rogers City plant is, I believe, the 107th one cancelled in the
U.S. in the last several years,” he said. “The American wind industry
now employs more people than the American coal industry. The rest of
the world -- led by China -- is headed away from coal as quickly as it
can. This is not ideology. It is not a prediction. It is a fact.
“Wolverine should invest the $1.3 billion it was going to spend on
coal on efficiency measures for all of its customers, and charge them
for it,” Dulzo added. “Everyone will save money, and lots of people
will get good, long-lasting jobs.”
Last week also brought a decision by Consumers Energy to suspend its
plans for a new coal-fired plant near Bay City.
Karas of MEAP said he hoped that
Wolverine Power would take Consumers’ decision to heart and pursue
cleaner energy projects.
“Consumers’ announcement strongly validates the MDNRE decision of May
21 to deny an air permit to Wolverine largely due to economic
realities,” Karas said in a release.
Hans Voss, executive director of the MLUI, said the decisions set the
stage for cleaner energy projects in Michigan.
“Two coal plants have fallen in less than a week,” Voss said. “Now
it’s time for Lansing to do its part, and make sure Michigan has a
clear path toward rebuilding its economy by creating jobs in energy
efficiency, wind and solar power, and other new energy technologies.”

 
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