In the wake of the EPA’s new carbon plan released this summer, Michigan’s leaders have rolled up their sleeves to ensure that Michigan, not the federal government, charts our state’s energy future.
Governor Snyder has publicly stated that Michigan will comply with the EPA’s new rules and has made it clear Michigan will develop its own plan to meet those rules rather than waiting for the federal government to step in. In a September 1 press conference, Governor Snyder explained:
“The best way to protect Michigan is to develop a state plan that reflects Michigan’s priorities of adaptability, affordability, reliability and protection of the environment…We need to seize the opportunity to make Michigan’s energy decisions in Lansing, not leave them in the hands of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.”
Valerie Brader, Executive Director of Governor Snyder’s Michigan Agency for Energy, confirmed that Michigan will move forward with implementing its own carbon reduction plan. In her testimony before the Senate Energy and Technology Committee, Brader highlighted the urgency for developing a state energy plan while calling on legislators to pass “well-grounded legislation on Michigan’s energy future.”
Legislators Respond in Lansing
The legislature is also taking steps to protect Michigan’s ability to respond to EPA regulations on its own terms. Of particular concern is the cost of compliance with new regulations if the EPA dictates how the process goes. Senator Mike Nofs put it bluntly in a recent hearing on energy policy, when he asked: “Did the Fed look at costs when they put out their new energy plan?”
If Michiganders are to avoid dramatic increases in energy costs as EPA regulations take effect, our legislators must ensure that energy policy they are now debating provides the flexibility to meet those regulations in the most cost-effective way possible, using a combination of renewable energy, new technologies that make resources like natural gas more cost-effective, and increased energy efficiency for all Michigan homes and businesses.
Local Energy Providers Respond in Support of State Plan
Both DTE Energy and Consumers Energy have pledged their support of Governor Snyder’s efforts to create a state plan. Statements from both companies highlighted that Michigan should submit its own plan to ensure flexibility in the way the state complies with federal regulations.
The Michigan Municipal Electric Association agrees. Responding to the Governor’s statement, MMEA Executive Director Jim Weeks said, “With carbon controls for utilities on the way, Michigan public power would much rather work with our Michigan regulators to establish the best approach, because Michigan DEQ understands the value of public power and has always worked with us to find reasonable, flexible, best-cost approaches to clean air improvements.”
Part of the challenge of meeting the EPA’s new guidelines lies in the fact that they can be confusing or contradictory when it comes to steps energy providers have already taken to reduce emissions.
The EPA’s assessment of the Ludington Pumped Storage Facility is a good example. The Ludington facility produces clean, renewable energy and would seem to fit well within the guidelines established by the EPA plan. According to an August article from MLive, “The EPA has proposed a rule that would penalize the State of Michigan for the pumped storage facility in Ludington. Michigan would have to count the energy used to fill the Ludington reservoir at night while getting no credit for the emission-free power created when the stored water is released.”
With these types of hurdles to resolve, Michigan needs to act expeditiously to ensure it has a plan in place that will meet EPA requirements while protecting reliability and affordability for the long-term.
The Time to Act is Now
Limiting federal overreach will require decisive action. Current legislation in the House and Senate has generated plenty of debate, and votes need to come soon for Michigan to be ready to meet the new EPA requirements on its own terms.
If our public officials can come to agreement, Michigan can meet the Clean Power Plan requirements with a Michigan-first plan that ensures flexibility in delivering clean, affordable, and reliable electricity for Michigan businesses and families. It would be a mistake for Michigan to cede control of its energy future to out-of-state interests or Washington bureaucrats simply because we are unable to pass smart legislation now.
Do you think Michigan is taking the right steps to respond to the EPA plan? Let us know today!