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Snyder says adaptability key to state's energy, environmental futureWednesday, November 28, 2012
LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder today delivered a special message on energy and the environment, calling for long-term, adaptable policies that ensure Michigan has the energy future generations need to thrive, while ensuring Michigan's natural wonders are preserved and protected for years to come.
The governor spoke from the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station near Kalamazoo, where he highlighted his vision for a comprehensive energy policy that safely and efficiently delivers an abundant supply of energy through a reliable infrastructure that is environmentally friendly. Snyder said keeping the air, water and land in Michigan clean and beautiful is essential to upholding the state's 175 year tradition of environmental stewardship.
"The reinvention of Michigan will not be complete without energy and environmental policies that make our state a place our children and grandchildren will still want to live, work and play," Snyder said. "We must pursue policies that can adapt with the times while still offering solutions that will provide a future for our kids."
Snyder said Michigan must identify adaptable solutions that will be good for the state not just in one possible future, but in many possible futures, and that opportunities exist for which action can be taken today without regret, despite any future uncertainty.
In addition to adaptability, Snyder's message highlighted three pillars of energy policy that every decision must stand upon:
Based on those pillars, Snyder said efficiency, production, transmission and an overall comprehensive strategy are essential.
Energy efficiency programs save on home and business energy use. Private financial institutions across the state will make more than $68 million available this year for efficiency improvements in buildings, and Snyder said more should be made available to increase savings. He said existing programs need to reduce paperwork and costs while increasing actual improvements by making smarter spending decisions on energy efficiency instead of on new infrastructure in high-demand areas. Snyder also called on the Legislature to adopt a measure that would add energy efficiency information to home inspection reports.
Increasing production and storage of natural gas and other energy assets, and using technology to revitalize aging systems as well as developing new sources of energy and ways to deliver it are achievable goals. Snyder said a Strategic Natural Gas Reserve should be created for Michigan. The state owns many natural gas deposits, he said, and when private firms bring them into production, the state can either take its share in money or in natural gas. The governor said if the state owns gas, and the state owns storage, it could make sense to store that gas and sell it later at a better price.
Environmentally, Michigan must be strategic in making sure opportunities to enjoy Pure Michigan continue and grow. Snyder said reforming the way the state develops its environmental policies to a proactive, whole ecosystem approach is what is needed to maintain and increase those opportunities. The functions and services ecosystems provide and the services residents want must be examined, and data and knowledge must be used to guide decisions about what the state's ecological and natural assets should be.
"Our natural resources form the basis of life and the quality of life that define Michigan," Snyder said. "Identifying our priorities and moving forward with resolve and purpose will help safeguard our precious resources while creating a better place for our families."
Land, timber and water management strategies that protect the character and productive capacity of natural resources must also be developed. What the state owns, and why, is a part of that land management. And with one-fifth of the world's freshwater supply, Michigan's water systems are central to placemaking efforts across the state. These resources impact all of Michigan's economy as well as the lifestyles that Michiganders enjoy.
The timber industry is an economic asset to our state, especially in rural communities. Snyder said there is opportunity to provide for responsible growth in this sector, and a business plan will be prepared for the future of the state's timber industry to identify and prioritize opportunities for growth. A Timber Industry Summit will be convened next April in this effort.
The Great Lakes are Michigan's greatest natural asset, yet aquatic invasive species are increasingly threatening the ecosystem. Snyder said as the new leader of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, he will hold a Mackinac Island summit with the eight Great Lakes governors and Canadian officials to coordinate strategies to reduce the risk of new invasive species and ways to manage those already here so they do not devastate those precious resources.
Trails are also an important contributor to Michigan's quality of life and economy. Michigan has more total trail miles than most states and Snyder said there is opportunity to make Michigan The Trail State. To accomplish this, the state must prioritize efforts to support and create trail connections. The governor called for the creation of a showcase trail from Belle Isle to the Wisconsin border that will team private and public trails into a signature Pure Michigan experience.
Above all, Snyder said Michiganders should be reminded ecosystems are all interconnected, and the best environmental solutions can solve more than one problem.
"We are committed to reinventing Michigan and must work to support and enhance our efforts to protect our environment and ensure our energy future," said Snyder. "With the help of both the Legislature and citizens, we will realize our full potential."
The entire Special Message on Energy and the Environment is available at www.michigan.gov/snyder.
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