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  • Energy and Environment

    Michigan’s Electric Choice Experience

    The issue of electric choice has been controversial in the state of Michigan over the past two decades. Policymakers have gone back and forth on whether or not Michigan’s electric utility industry should be regulated or deregulated. Both of these methods have had mixed results in the state.

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    Regulation of On-site Wastewater Treatment Systems

    “On-site wastewater treatment system” is the technical term used for any technology that manages wastewater, including the commonly termed septic systems. Septic systems are very prevalent in rural areas including many homes that are not hooked up to a central sewer system. On-site wastewater systems are usually buried under the ground in the homes yard. This system has a drain field that slowly releases wastewater out into the soil. These systems are both economic and environmentally efficient

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    High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing: Impact and Regulation

     

    Deep underground, geological formations hide stores of natural gas and oil in scattered quantities. These hidden deposits would be otherwise inaccessible without current hydraulic fracturing technology, which includes drilling a deep well, pumping down a mixture of water and chemicals at high pressures, and then extracting the gas that is freed up as the surrounding rock ruptures. The gases escape the man-made fissures and travel to the surface to be stored and transported away from the site.

    Michigan’s Importation of Canadian Trash

    The State of Michigan has had a long and controversial relationship with Canadian trash. Each year about 60,000 trucks carrying 2.25 million tons of trash enter Michigan from the north. Currently, it is estimated that about 17% of the trash in Michigan landfills is from Canada. The state ranks third in out-of-state trash imports.

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    Energy Dilemma in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

    The Situation

     

    On September 1, 2013, Cliffs Natural Resources, a mining company with operations in the Upper Peninsula, decided to cease purchasing its energy from Wisconsin-based We Energies. The switch was apparently made due to significant electrical costs, which saw increases of nearly 110% since 2008, according to a Cliffs spokesperson. Thanks to an exemption in Michigan’s electric choice law, Cliffs was able to begin buying its power from Integrys Energy Services Inc., based in Chicag

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    Energy and Environment

    • Michigan’s Electric Choice Experience

      The issue of electric choice has been controversial in the state of Michigan over the past two decades. Policymakers have gone back and forth on whether or not Michigan’s electric utility indust...
    • Regulation of On-site Wastewater Treatment Systems

      “On-site wastewater treatment system” is the technical term used for any technology that manages wastewater, including the commonly termed septic systems. Septic systems are very prevalent...
    • High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing: Impact and Regulation

        Deep underground, geological formations hide stores of natural gas and oil in scattered quantities. These hidden deposits would be otherwise inaccessible without current hydraulic fracturing t...
    • Michigan’s Importation of Canadian Trash

      The State of Michigan has had a long and controversial relationship with Canadian trash. Each year about 60,000 trucks carrying 2.25 million tons of trash enter Michigan from the north. Currently, it ...
    • Energy Dilemma in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

      The Situation   On September 1, 2013, Cliffs Natural Resources, a mining company with operations in the Upper Peninsula, decided to cease purchasing its energy from Wisconsin-based We Energies. The ...
    • Michigan Public Act 295 of 2008: Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act

      Michigan’s Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act represented a major policy shift in the Great Lakes State. The law established a renewable energy mandate called a renewable portfo...
    • Implementation of Michigan’s Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act

      Michigan’s Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act increased Michigan’s renewable energy production by establishing a renewable energy standard, which mandated all electricity providers generate...
    • The Natural Gas Boom in Michigan

                    Due to improvements in drilling technology and newly discovered pockets, there has been a natural gas boom in the United States since in 2008. Increased supply has driven costs down and...
    • What the Clean Power Plan will Mean for Michigan

                  On June 2, 2014 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Clean Power Plan, outlining steps that it will begin to implement to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. This ...
    • Updating the Renewable Energy Standard

      Public Act 295 was enacted in 2008 as Michigan’s first step towards a renewable energy standard. This act required cooperatives and municipal electric utilities to generate 10% of their retail electri...
    • Interview with Mark Meadows of The Sierra Club

      This interview took place on Thursday, March 27th 2014 at 3PM in The State Room at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center at Michigan State University. Mark Meadows is the Political Char of the Pol...
    • Interview with Tina Reynolds, Health Policy Director for the Michigan Environmental Council

      Could you tell me a little about yourself? Where you’re from? Went to school? What did you study? I’m married with 3 children and live in East Lansing. I grew up in Keego Harbor, MI and went through...
    • Economic Incentives: Energy Reform and Hemlock Semiconductor

                  Located in Hemlock, Michigan since 1961, Hemlock Semiconductor specializes in producing ultra-high-purity polycrystalline silicon. The silicon is then sold to global manufacturers that nee...
    • Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan Critique

      Hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) has been a hot topic of discussion in the recent past. Hydraulic fracturing is defined as “the forcing of fissures in subterranean rocks by introducing liquid at h...
    • Interview with Lee Burton, Chair of Crossroads Group of The Sierra Club

      April 4, 2013(7:30AM-8:11AM)Devon: First of all could you tell me a little about yourself?Lee: Well, I grew up in Michigan outside of Detroit went to the University of Michigan spent a while on where ...
    • Dredging the Great Lakes Waterways

      Each year an estimated 100 million tons of cargo are making port in commercial harbors off of our Great Lakes. The ability of ports/harbors to handle freighters and other boats are crucial to the eco...
    • The Cost of Proposal 3

      What is the cost of switching to cleaner energy? What is the cost not to? Proposal 3, which will be on the November 6th ballot, would require that 25% of Michigan's energy come from renewable sources ...
    • Interview with David Gard, Energy Program Director Michigan Environmental Council on Proposal 3

      Elizabeth Brajevich: Could you give me some information on what Michigan Environmental Council is doing to support Proposal 3?David Gard: The primary thing we're doing right now is speaking engagement...
    • Renewable Energy Standards Across the Nation, Where does Michigan Stand?

      The "Big" 10? While the strength of their athletic teams is undeniable, none of the Big 10 states have the most competitive renewable energy standards. Proposition 3 would require that 25% of Michigan...
    • Proposal 3: Is 20x2025 Right for Michigan?

      In the upcoming November 6th election, Proposal 3 has the power to greatly impact Michigan's economy and environment. This proposal is commonly referred to as "25x25" and would require that by 2025 at...
    • Wind Energy in Michigan

      In 2008, Michigan passed a Renewable Portfolio Standard in hopes that it will help the State make major advances in renewable energy development over the next decade. This requires electric utilities ...
    • Environmentally Sustainable Buildings: Indoor & Outdoor Health

      The foundation of communities and their development is often attributed to the building sector as it provides a significant proportion of industrial activities, jobs, and residence to countless number...
    • Biofuel Policy

      At first glance, the idea behind biofuels appears to be an ingenious solution to meeting growing energy demands. The process seems fairly simple - "plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air, are turne...
    • Landfill Projects Legislation

      Quite a few years ago, an alternative to traditional landfills known as a bioreactor landfill was proposed at the Smiths Creek landfill, which is managed by St. Clair County. The proposal called for t...
    • Mining Regulations Legislation

      Public Act No. 214 was effectively made law on November 8th, 2011. It was initially introduced by Representative Eileen Kowall ( R ) to amend Public Act No. 451 of 1994, the "Natural Resources and Env...
    • Wind Energy Taxation Legislation

      In August 2011, Paul W. Jackson from Michigan Farm News interviewed Harold Durling, farmer and advanced development engineer, more than two years after Durling had constructed a $15,000 wind turbine o...
    • Biofuel Production Legislation

      Act 97 amends the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act to provide that a biofuel production facility that complies with certain requirements would be a permitted use of property and not subject to special lan...
    • Tax Credits for "Green Buildings"

      The push for energy efficient building practices in Michigan is under way with the introduction of legislation such as House Bill 4286 by Representative Bruce Rendon (R-Lake City) in February 2011. T...
    • Interview With DTE Lobbyist Nancy Moody

      On October 17, Michigan Policy Network spoke to Nancy Moody, who oversees the lobbying efforts of DTE Energy, one of the state's largest utilities. Nancy spoke with us in her office about the legislat...
    • Problems at Palisades Nuclear Plant Appear Resolved

      The saying "no news is good news" is especially pertinent to nuclear power plants.  Operators of the Palisades Power Plant have surely been reminded of this recently, as the facility has made headline...
    • Prospect for Natural Gas Drilling in Michigan and Calls for Increased Regulation

      Energy companies spent a record $178 million on oil and state-owned gas leases at a single auction last year, during the spring of 2010, following a successful well test in Missaukee County, MI. Mich...
    • Rick Snyder’s Michigan Economic Development Corporation: What’s the Incentive?

      Tax incentives have been a huge help to businesses in Michigan and across the nation. By offering money to firms that are ready and willing to expand, their availability has spurred so many investment...
    • The Debate: Coal Plants at Michigan State University

      A typical coal plant burns 1.4 million tons of coal a year. With coal generating 54% of our nation's electricity, nearly 600 coal plants exist in the United States. The multitude of coal plants allows...
    • Pig Declared Invasive Species

      Michigan's Department of Natural Resources and Environment, or DNRE, has declared feral pigs to be a state invasive species. With 3,000 to 5,000 pigs living in more than 65 of 83 Michigan counties, th...
    • Electric Car Incentive Expansion Proposed

      Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Lansing Democrat, introduced legislation Feb. 7 intended to boost the sales of electric cars. This Charging America Forward Act would allow buyers to claim tax credits at the t...
    • Michigan: A Clean Engine for the Future Economy

      When many think of Michigan the first thing that comes to their mind is the Motor City. Next, they may think of the abundance of pollution that comes with the vast amount of vehicles, but Michigan is,...
    • Chrysler Working with EPA on New Hybrid System

      For many, talk of electric vehicles, charging stations, and other related topics are at the top of the agenda when it comes to a more green style of life, but Chrysler, partnered with EPA, is beginnin...
    • Canada Approves Controversial Great Lakes Nuclear Shipment

      In recent weeks, the debate over the Great Lakes has focused largely on nuclear shipments. .
    • USDA Issues Partial Deregulation For Sugar Beets

        On January 27th, the USDA issued a partial deregulation of Roundup Ready alfalfa outraging environmentalists everywhere. So when the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection (APHIS) decided to par...
    • Calling for Clean Coal Plants

      House Minority Leader Richard E. Hammel, a Democrat from Mt. Morris Township, said during a Jan. 14 press conference with members of the Democratic caucus that building a clean coal plant is one of th...
    • GM CEO Talks To Michigan Legislators

      On Jan. 7, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson met with members of Michigan's congressional delegation to discuss the new Chevy Volt and incentives and regulations associated with such alternative fuel veh...
    • Michigan's Ban on Burning Garbage Begins in April

      Life will change in Michigan beginning April 1, 2011 when the state's new burn ban on household waste takes effect. Citizens will no longer be able to burn household trash in their yards. Michigan is ...
    • Rails to Revitalize

      The U.S. government has awarded $161 million to Michigan for use to improve its high speed rail route. This money would be used to create and upgrade rail stations, purchase track, better bridges and ...
    • Environmental Aims

      Hugh McDiarmid is Communications Director of the Michigan Environmental Council, a charitable organization and coalition that, through the political process, works to make changes that benefit Michiga...
    • Interview: Erica Bloom, Program Director for the Michigan LCV

      Erica Bloom of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters is the newest member of the staff as the Program Director. .
    • Coal on MSU's Campus

      On Nov. 17, about 50 students gathered behind Michigan State University's Wells Hall to urge school administrators to make a campus commitment to clean energy. The rally, organized by MSU Beyond Coal,...
    • An End to Invasive Species

      The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is made up of 5,700 acres along the Detroit River and Lake Erie. It is used for studying wetlands and other ecosystems by using it as a natural laborato...
    • GOP Victories Effect on Environmental Legislation

      The "Grand Old Party", better known as the Republican Party, dominated the latest elections, but what does it all mean for environmental legislation? .
    • Creation of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment

      The mission of Michigan's Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) is to manage, conserve, and promote environmental and natural resources and related economic interests for current and ...
    • Michigan Leases More Mineral Rights

      From Oct. 26 - 28, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) auctioned off more than a quarter million acres of mineral rights, showing increased state interest in natural ga...
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    About Us

    The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College. 

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