Michigan Voices have Spoken, and Governor Snyder Listened!Exciting news! After thousands of Michigan residents spoke up in support of clean energy this spring, the Michigan Energy Office and Michigan Public Service Commission recently took an important step towards bringing renewable energy to Michigan by releasing a new draft report titled “Readying Michigan to Make Good Energy Decisions: Renewable Energy.”
It showed that Michigan has a potential to meet up to 30% of its electricity needs, or even higher, from renewable sources we have available today! This news, paired with the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed first ever carbon limits on coal plants, means that there is a commitment to a cleaner energy future with less reliance on burning dangerous fossil fuels.
This commitment to clean energy is critical, because to protect wildlife from negative effects of climate change we must take action to replace much of our fossil fuel usage with clean renewable energy sources and increased energy efficiency.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to speak on the shores of Lake Superior one of seven public forums held this spring by Governor Snyder on renewable energy, and explained why clean energy is so critical to safeguard wildlife and the Great Lakes.
Expanding Michigan’s renewable energy use is an opportunity for Michigan to create jobs, spark investment in the state, rein in the high cost of electricity, improve our public health, and reduce pollution to our air and water. We support reduction of Michigan’s reliance on coal-burning power plants and transitioning to greater renewable energy and energy efficiency to fulfill our energy needs. This action will ultimately protect human health while also protecting wildlife and their habitats.
Read other highlights in the entire report.
Burning Fossil Fuels Threatens Michigan Wildlife
Our reliance on coal, oil, and gas is harming wildlife and cherished outdoor places. Limiting mercury and carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels will help protect our longstanding investment in our outdoor heritage.
- The Great Lakes are showing the effects of climate change, including heightened droughts and extreme rain washing fertilizer and animal waste into the lakes where it promotes harmful algal blooms that can poison fish and birds.
- Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of mercury in Michigan and around the country. The mercury that accumulates in rivers and lakes, can build up, or bioaccumulate, through food chains to the point that high levels of mercury harm fish, wildlife, and human health.
- Wildlife, including osprey, snowy egret, ring-tailed pheasant and Canadian Goose are at risk for reproductive and other health problems due to elevated mercury exposures.
- Fish such as smallmouth bass, northern pike, and walleye can exhibit the toxic effects of mercury on their behavior, reproduction and growth.
- Mercury is a risk to human health. Children’s nervous system development can be impacted by mercury exposures after eating fish, or through mercury in breast milk.
- A general fish advisory on all Michigan’s lakes and reservoirs recommends restricted consumption of a number of popular fish species due to risks from elevated mercury exposures.
- In addition to mercury, coal-fired plants emit particulate, ozone, and other pollutants that harm wildlife and human health.
- Climate change, fueled by our reliance on fossil-fuel power, is the number one threat to wildlife today.
- The consequences of climate change will likely include reduced stream habitat for cold water fish species such as brook trout; decreased habitat for moose in the region; and increased spread of invasive species and disease in coming decades.
Continue Making Your Voice Heard
While the public comment period ended on Oct. 16, a final renewable energy report will be released on Nov. 4. We’ve made it easy to send a quick note to the Governor in the meantime.