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E-M:/ Competing Energy Press Conferences: Protecting Ratepayers vs. "Streamlining" regulation of Power Plants



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Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <Anne.Woiwode@sierraclub.org>
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Folks:

Today Reps. Fred Miller, Marie Donigan, Robert Jones, Kathleen Law and Gabe
Leland joined a press conference to announce legislation they and others are
introducing to protect YOU, the ratepayer, from virtually certain drastic
increases in the costs of electricity if power companies decide to invest
scarce dollars in coal fueled power plants instead of renewable energy.  The
legislation is supported by the Clean Energy NOW coalition and United
Steelworkers. 

With 4 coal plant permit applications before the MDEQ RIGHT NOW, and with
virtually guaranteed requirements to control CO2 emissions in the near
future, this legislation (which is being drafted now) would place the risk
of billions of additional dollars of costs for controlling CO2 where it
belongs: on the power companies and their shareholders that stand to get
rich off this new coal rush.

This is particularly important because legislation being discussed in the
Legislature right now would dramatically reduce the protection of
ratepayers, particularly residential ratepayers, from unreasonable costs
from new or expanded power plants.  Two concepts in particular are of
concern: 1) utilities could "file and implement" increased rates for
electricity without waiting for the MPSC to first determine if the costs
were justified, and could do this once every 9 months even if the prior case
was not resolved (MPSC would decide after the fact and could require
refunds); and 2) proposals to "deskew" rates mean that residential
ratepayers would be seeing higher rates and larger increases than
manufacturers based on the claim that it is more efficient to serve large
users instead of residential users.  

Meanwhile, today a vague proposal was announced by Senate and House
Republicans that apparently would "streamline" regulations so that at least
one form of coal fueled power plant could move even faster.  Bundled up by
supporters of the proposed Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle or IGCC
proposal for the Alma Energy Park, the message comes through loud and clear
that these folks don't want to have to face Michigan's environmental
standards, nor presumably to give the public a chance to fully participate
in consideration of facilities like these that would bind up our energy
investments for generations.  This 10 bill package has virtually no details
available, but the green tinged rhetoric clearly was designed to obscure the
fact that it is intending to help the construction of one or more unneeded
new coal plants in Michigan. 

What's important now is for YOU and others who care about Michigan's future
to be clear with your own State Senator (go to www.senate.mi.gov ) and State
Representative (go to http://www.house.mi.gov/find_a_rep.asp  ) that you
want renewables, you want costs of any risky coal fueled plants to be
carried by the shareholders and companies, and you want Michigan to get
smart about YOUR family's energy future. 


Anne Woiwode, State Director
Sierra Club Michigan Chapter
(517) 484-2372
 

More clean energy plans headed for Michigan Legislature
1/22/2008, 10:52 a.m. ET
The Associated Press


LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Tax credits for utilities to create and buy clean
energy are keys to plans being introduced at the state Capitol.

The proposals outlined Tuesday aim to help projects such as an energy
research park planned for Alma. A company wants to use a new technology
that it says is cleaner than the traditional way of burning coal to get
electrical power.

Senate Republicans took the lead in announcing Tuesday's plan. But it has
support from some Democrats.

Several other clean and renewable energy plans have been introduced in the
Legislature.

Clean or renewable energy is considered crucial to the future of
Michigan's economy and environment.



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==============================================================
ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"
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