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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update - February 23, 2009

Energy issues dominate early discussions in Lansing:


The Governor in her State of the State speech announced her intention to require developers of proposed new coal-fired power plants to prepare Integrated Resource Plans. Those plans require the most “prudent and feasible” option for power needs be utilized – for the first time requiring new coal plants to compete against cleaner options like energy efficiencies and renewable resources.


Certain legislators and critics criticized the Governor’s action even though the legislature in a bipartisan action just last year required the same analysis for major utilities (the Governor’s action evens the playing field and requires it for all power producers).


The Attorney General on Friday issued an opinion that the Governor exceeded her authority.  His opinion (which is certain to be challenged) shows little respect for the Michigan Environmental Protection Act and its ability to prevent harm to our natural resources.  The decision is based, in part, on whether a coal-fired power plant can be assumed to “pollute our natural resources”.   The Governor assumed this to be true.  The Attorney General does not.  You decide who is trying to solve real problems and who is playing politics.    


Lastly, the EPA ruled (in the Northern Michigan University permit) that the state must consider regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases before issuing an air permit to a coal-fired power plant.  This is a potentially groundbreaking ruling that affirms what many environmental groups have been saying for years – that the state must consider greenhouse gas pollution in the permitting process as well as conventional pollutants.





Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture will start hearings on the FY 09-10 budget next Wednesday (3/4) at 3:00 pm (note: no meeting this week) with:

State Services Fee Fund/Agriculture Equine Industry Development Fund
Horse Racing
Public Testimony


Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation will have a hearing Friday (2/27) at 10:30 am in Grand Rapids (Kent County Road Commission, 300 Monroe NW, Room 310, Grand Rapids, MI 49503) on the FY 09-10 budget, focusing on:


Road Funding Formula





Agriculture will meet Wednesday (2/25) at noon for a presentation by:


Michigan Farm Bureau
Rebecca Park, Associate Legislative Counsel
Matt Smego, Legislative Counsel

Michigan Environmental Council
James Clift, Policy Director

Sierra Club
Gayle Miller, Legislative Coordinator


Commerce will meet on Wednesday (2/25) at 10:30 am for a presentation by:


Dan Gilmartin
Executive Director and CEO
Michigan Municipal League



Energy and Technology will meet Tuesday (2/24) at 9:00 am for:


Presentation by United Way on 211 System
Presentation by DTE Energy on Smart Grid Technology



Energy and Technology: Subcommittee on Consumer Safety will meet Tuesday (2/24) at noon for presentations by:

John Miller, The Heat and Warmth (THAW) Fund

Bertram Marks, Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity

Department of Human Services

Energy and Technology: Subcommittee on Consumer Safety will meet again on Thursday (2/26) at 2 pm or after session for presentations by:

Michigan Community Action Agency Association
Greg Clark, Indiana Michigan Power


Great Lakes and the Environment  will meet on Thursday (2/26) at 9:00 am for a presentation by:


Presentation by Ted Schettler, MD, MPH,  Science Director,
Science and Environmental Health Network
regarding Environmental Health and Toxics



Health Policy will meet on Tuesday (2/24) at 10:30 am for a presentation by:


Executive VP of MI Health & Hospital Association.
Topic: Impact of Economic recession and credit crisis on MI hospitals and patients.


Intergovernmental and Regional Affairs will meet Tuesday (2/24) at noon for:


Presentations by:

Don Stypula, Executive Director,
Grand Valley Metropolitan Council

Conan Smith, Executive Director and
Luke Forrest, Public Policy Director, Michigan Suburbs Alliance

For referral to the Committee on Urban Policy:

HB 4211 – A bill to require 30-day notice of foreclosure of property to tenants.


New Economy and Quality of Life  will meet on Wednesday (2/25) at 9:00 am for a presentation by:


Dr. Soji Adelaja, Ph.D.
Director, Land Policy Institute:

Chasing the Past or Investing in our Future:
Placemaking for Prosperity in the New Economy

HB 4230, 4340 and 4353 – Bills to revise income tax deductions for certain initial angel investment in c
ompetitive edge technology such as advanced automotive, manufacturing, and materials technology; alternative energy technology; homeland security and defense technology; and life sciences technology.

Urban Policy will meet Tuesday (2/24) at 9:00 am for presentation by:

Brian Anderson with the Lansing Economic Development Corporation,

and to take up HB 4045 – A bill to revise requirements for filing certain applications for a neighborhood enterprise zone.


Alicia Quintero, Policy Analyst with the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan.



Submitted by:

James Clift

Michigan Environmental Council

119 Pere Marquette, Ste 2A

Lansing, MI 48912

(517) 487-9539