Top Seven Green Michigan Stories of 2010

3 Jan 2011

  1. Oil leaks here and in the Gulf. Of course, the Gulf oil leak got lots of attention but the Enbridge oil leak near Battle Creek raised the consciousness of the entire State to the number of rapidly aging pipelines in the State and the lack of followup on their condition, risking yet more spills.
  2. Michigan’s Cleanup Law Get Amended. After a number of years, the law was finally amended to bring Michigan into line with the rest of the Country in terms of closures as the “standard” for funding and dealmaking.  Implementation may be 2011’s top story.
  3. MDNRE reorganizes.  With a new Governor comes new organization and new priorities and how those shake out and how much change Governor Snyder and Dan Wyant can effect in this typically unmovable agency will be interesting to watch.
  4. Michigan was all in for green technology.  Michigan saw the future and began investing heavily in new battery and green energy technologies.  Michigan is not the only state to do so but, certainly, its early successes with a number of automotive battery manufacturers, the new Chevy Volt, and some recent steps forward with wind power manufacturing show that Michigan is most definitely a place for green technology investment.    
  5. The climate bill dies in the U.S. Senate. This issue has been on the world stage since Kyoto and at present, despite the continued evidence of weird weather and confirmation by almost every scientist, Congress continues not to act.  Interestingly, the States push forward on their own renewable energy standards.
  6. Renewables are for real but may still have some bumps in the road. Portugal, Germany, and other places around the world invested in heavily subsidized renewables but here in the US, concerns over climate change (as noted above) still haven’t pushed the US into the renewable market in as big a way as say, China.  Google backed a large scale windfarm operation on the east cost and, as described above, Michigan has been working hard in this field.  In some respects, our short-term economic world view keeps businesses shying away from making the long-term payback investments that most renewables require.
  7.  LEED under fire.  While the darling of grants and even some building codes earlier this year, some building owners complained that LEED certification wasn’t saving them any energy or money; a lawsuit followed and we shall see how it plays out as the Courts review LEED’s viability and value.  The flip side is that energy and water saving techniques that have short paybacks are still in demand.

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