February 3, 2009

Granholm Slams Brakes on Michigan Coal Rush


Governor positions Michigan to lead on clean, alternative energy


February 3, 2009 (LANSING) – Citizens today applauded Gov. Jennifer Granholm's far-reaching announcement to fundamentally change how Michigan fuels its energy needs. The new plan, which prioritizes clean energy has put Michigan's coal rush on hold, requiring all new and expanded coal plant developers to go back to the drawing board and consider cleaner energy alternatives to the coal plants. The plan also calls for slashing Michigan's use of all fossil fuels in power plants by 45 percent within 12 years. Granholm also announced sweeping new policies to make Michigan a leader in the development and production of renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, both of which are engines of job growth in a 21st century economy.

"Today, Gov. Jennifer Granholm laid out a bold vision for our energy future," Anne Woiwode of the Sierra Club said. "Michigan is ready and able to build a strong future based on clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency, not outdated, 1950s-era polluting coal plants. Today's action sends a clear message that we will put our families, public health and the ability to compete for 21st century jobs before devotion to the failing status-quo."

In her State of the State address today, Granholm said Michigan will more stringently apply section 165 of the federal Clean Air Act to crack down on new coal projects by requiring them to follow tough anti- pollution standards. Energy projects must consider clean alternatives before they can proceed with permitting.

Granholm's sweeping announcement positions Michigan to become a leader in 21st century energy policy. In addition to the crackdown on coal, she challenged Michigan to become a leader in renewable energy technology and investments, including in areas such as solar, wind and new battery technology.

Granholm also called for Michigan to weatherize more than 100,000 homes and 1,000 schools, which will create jobs and save consumers money.

"Michigan took a crucial step today toward breaking away from the past and moving toward the future of clean, renewable energy," Cyndi Roper of Clean Water Action said. "Michigan is opening the door to repower, refuel and rebuild America by investing in clean energy technologies that will create jobs, protect our health and safeguard our quality of life."

While other states are rapidly moving away from coal, Michigan was facing up to eight new coal plant proposals, threatening to hold the state back from its clean energy economic potential. Federal rulings and policy have also veered in recent months away from coal, indicating a strong shift toward cracking down on greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide pollution and increasing investments in alternative energy.

"Governor Granholm's bold vision for promoting clean energy and stopping dirty energy sources could have significant positive, preventative impacts on the health of Michigan residents for years to come," said Dr. Kenneth Rosenman, Chief of MSU's Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. "Michigan's children, in particular, will be able to breathe a little easier once Michigan's energy future takes this dramatic turn toward cleaner sources outlined by the Governor."

Economic studies have indicated that investing in energy efficiency and alternative energy production would create many more Michigan jobs as building all of the eight coal plants currently proposed.

According to studies by the Renewable Energy Policy Project and the American Council for an Energy- Efficient Economy, Michigan could create 46,000 new jobs by investing in renewable energy and efficiency.

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Thanks to Progress Michigan for their assistance with this press update