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The governor's special message on energy and the environment

by: Eric B.

Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 13:34:26 PM EST

The governor delivered one of those occassional series of remarks on the issues of the day this morning, and it was about energy and the environment. I caught about half of it, but when it came time for questions from the good folks at the Michigan Land Use Institute, the feed froze up for me. I'm going primarily off his prepared remarks, which are a bit different than the ones he delivered this morning.

The big difference between the two is that in the hard copy, he actually mentions climate change. He didn't do that this morning when speaking (unless is was during the question and answer period). In the hard copy, he references climate change down deep and when it comes to water management. He also does the benevolent overlord Rick Michigan thing, declining to make a hard political statement by identifying humans as the chief cause, as most every scientist tells us. The scientific illiterates that comprise his party can take satisfaction in this. 

That's the most critical issue facing humanity, existing as it does at the nexus of energy and environment, and the governor gave it one whole paragraph buried in a special comment about energy and the environment. Still, it's better than what the issue got in the presidential debates. In the remarks he delivered in person, he hinted around the edges of the issue by saying that what we do today will affect future generations. The nerd appears to get what environmentalism is about.

His comments on energy were a bit disappointing. He didn't support Proposal 3, but in his remarks he said he favored taking a year to work with the Legislature on improving Michigan's clean energy portfolio.  The Legislature, by the way, is the chief hurdle to improving the state's clean energy portfolio. Every state that has adopted a more rigorous clean energy portfolio has seen greater success than those who've hedged, as Michigan has. It's understandable that he wants to wait until 2015 to get this done, especially if he's at all motivated by the possibility of not working with two majority caucuses out to shoot down the idea. It is troubling that the state would wait another year to get more aggressive, because it means another year that everyone else who's ahead of us on it will get another year to create more distance.

As for the rest of it, it's mostly good stuff. I especially liked the idea of creating a Detroit to Wisconsin trail. And, I like how he avoided political speak when it came to framing issues. Too often out of Lansing, we hear about issues as framed by what best suits a political party. I very seriously doubt either political party would have set up environmental issues on a science-based, ecosystem approach.

Eric B. :: The governor's special message on energy and the environment
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natural gas
I didn't see the speech, but the AP is reporting this as that the production of natural gas was given the spotlight (i.e. fracking), and that everything else was given short shrift in comparison, including renewables.  Since I didn't see it, I can't judge, but did the AP report the focus incorrectly?

There was a lot of space devoted to natural gas. His comments on clean energy -- and natural gas is, when burned, cleaner energy -- were disappointing. Mostly, he wants to talk it over for a year and then move forward then.  The time for talking is past. The time for action is now. Actually, the time for action was five years ago, if you want to go by climate change.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
Too Bad
No one on the Governor's staff seems to be aware that there's already a pretty good cross state trail in the works between Port Huron and South Haven. Unlike a Belle Isle to Wisconsin trail, it would actually cross through most of the populated areas of the state and doesn't require figuring out how to cross the Straits of Mackinac, something the Governor laughed off but to which there's no easy solution.


This is typical of Snyder in the environmental area where he seems to have little insight into what's actually being done already and instead, he's pushing proposals that take focus and resources away from projects that are already underway.

He did
He did the same thing with mass transit in Detroit.  The Regional Transit Coordinating Council had already adopted the Comprehensive Regional Transit Service Plan in 2008, and then he just proposed some rapid bus system over top of the very comprehensive plan that the region was already working towards.  He tried to kill Woodward Light Rail for his BRT plan, but fortunately (and for once) the private sector came in and revived what the region had actually planned.

Yeah, he has a very bad habit of this.

[ Parent ]

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