Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

Home · Articles · News · Region Watch · Up in smoke/ Stupak‘s...
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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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