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Michigan Legislative Update

Week of February 18, 2016

By Judy Augenstein

This week the state announced it is backing off complying with new federal standards for power plant pollution.  The U.S. Supreme Court last week rejected the so-called Clean Power Plan, which are new U.S. environmental Protection Agency rules aimed at curbing carbon emissions from coal power plants.  A multi-state law suit, which Attorney General Bill Schuette is a part of, had moved to block the rules from implementation.

The Michigan Agency for Energy examined what SCOTUS handed down last week and announced it would "suspend activities to comply with the rule and its time line for submissions" as it waits for resolution through the courts.  Originally, the MAE indicated it would develop a Michigan specific plan to comply with the CPP.  An initial report was due to the EPA in September 2016.  MAE will continue to complete the modeling project it's already paid for, and will continue to maintain it informational website dedicated to the issue.  Some health and environmental groups are not pleased with the state's timeout on complying with the Clean Power Plan.

This week Governor Rick Snyder joined with a bipartisan group of 17 governors in announcing the Governor's Accord for a New Energy Future.  A joint commitment to take action to promote clean energy, clean transportation choices and a modern electric grid.  "This is a great collaborative effort.  States across the country have shown leadership and used different tools to improve their energy in ways that work at home for their residents."  Snyder stated. 

The Accord provides participating governors, a bipartisan coalition representing 127 million Americans, with a platform through which their states will collaborate learn from one another and leverage partnerships in energy planning and policy making.

SB 651, 652 and 653, legislation to tweak the Qualified Forest Act completed Senate action today and were forwarded to the House Tax Policy Committee for more review.  No forestry related bills were debated by the House Natural Resources Committee or the Senate Natural Resources Committee this week.

The bills to increase the speed limit in certain areas is stalled in the House.

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