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E-M:/ electric bills jolt environment

Enviro-Mich message from Dave Dempsey <davemec@voyager.net>

Bills released late today to restructure Michigan's electric utility
industry contain no environmental safeguards. The bills (new substitutes
for S.B. 1340 and 1342) are scheduled for a hearing of the Senate
Technology and Energy Committee Wednesday at 3 p.m. in the State Capitol,
although a vote is not expected until next week at the earliest. The
Governor and Michigan's largest investor-owned utilities, Consumers Energy
and Detroit Edison, have said they want the bills passed before the end of
the year.

The bills released today essentially authorize the Public Service
Commission, appointed by the Governor, to gradually allow customers
electric choice and to settle the so-called "stranded cost" issue.  Edison
and Consumers claim they have made many investments they can't recoup in a
restructured market because of low-cost competition from alternative

Among the many things the bills don't do is assure that restructuring won't
lead to more electricity generation from coal-burning, which already chokes
Michigan air with massive amounts of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide,
particulates and carbon dioxide, and is Michigan's leading source of
mercury emissions.  The bills also don't:

*  Require all electricity suppliers to tell customers where their
electricity comes from and what its environmental impact is;

*  Provide funding for energy efficiency programs;

*  Stimulate electricity generation from renewable sources like wind and

The 5 members of the Senate Technology and Energy Committee would benefit
if they heard from you.

Sen. Mat Dunaskiss, Chair, fax 517-373-2694, e-mail:

Sen. Bill Schuette, fax 517-373-2678, e-mail: senbschuette@senate.state.mi.us

Sen. Mike Rogers, fax 517-373-2764, e-mail:

Sen. James Berryman, fax 517-373-0927, e-mail:

Sen. Dianne Byrum, fax 517-373-5397, e-mail: sendbyrum@senate.state.mi.us

Dave Dempsey
Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
http: www.mienv.org

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