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E-M:/ senate committee oks utility-drafted dereg bill that will foul the environment



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Enviro-Mich message from Dave Dempsey <davemec@voyager.net>
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The Senate Technology and Energy Committee last night approved on a 3-2
vote a bill that will increase pollution of Michigan while restructuring
Michigan's electric utility industry.

Voting for the bill were Committee Chair Mat Dunaskiss and Sens. James
Berryman and Bill Schuette.  Voting against were Sens. Mike Rogers and
Dianne Byrum.  The vote came after more than 4 hours of testimony from a
multitude of interests, including environmental and conservation
organizations.

Brushing aside proposals offered by MEC and MUCC to green Senate Bill 1340,
the Committee would make Michigan the only state that utterly fails to
protect the environment among the nearly 20 states that have restructured
the electric industry.  Hundreds of millions of pounds of sulfur dioxide,
nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants are emitted by
coal-burning power plants in Michigan each year and this will increase
under S.B. 1340.

The bill is expected to be approved by the State Senate next week -- but
not if citizens protest the effort to sneak through the Legislature in a
lame-duck session the biggest pro-polluter legislation of the decade.  And
that's saying a lot.

To find out how to contact Senators, check out:

http://www.gongwer.com/gongdir.html

Tell Senators you want amendments to S.B. 1340 that:

*  Require companies that want your electric business to tell you how they
generate their electricity (coal, nuclear, etc.) and what its environmental
impacts are, in a standardized format that provides for easy consumer
comparisons.

* Provides $90 million a year in funding for energy efficiency programs and
services for consumers and small businesses.  Efficiency is cheaper than
building new power plants and significantly reduces air and water pollution
from coal burning.

* Requires companies that want your electricity business to get some of
their power from wind, solar, and other renewable sources.  The bill should
require all electric service providers to provide at least 3% of their
power from renewable sources immediately (the current statewide renewable
energy proportion) and increase that to 5% early in the next decade.



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

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