EGLE director provides updates on clean water, climate, and mobility efforts at U.P. clean energy conference
December 02, 2020
In videotaped remarks at the recent Upper Peninsula (U.P.) clean energy conference, Liesl Clark, director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), provided updates on the department's clean water, climate and mobility efforts and the U.P. Energy Task Force. The following summarizes the main points. Check out the video for the complete presentation.
Clean Water Plan
Michigan's clean water plan called MI Clean Water aligns $500 million in federal dollars, state bonding authority, and existing prospective state revenues to create a comprehensive water infrastructure package to support communities in every corner of Michigan. This will enable job creation that protects public health and improves the environment.
The plan, with bipartisan and bicameral support, addresses urgent infrastructure issues including undersized sewers, failing septic systems unaffordable water rates, and protection from contaminants that show up in our drinking water.
Regarding drinking water, goals are to assist disadvantaged communities with some of their lead line removal costs, address PFAS impacted systems and neighborhoods, and then support communities with substandard infrastructure with appropriate asset management plans.
Regarding wastewater, we're working to eliminate sewage discharge, provide financial support to struggling small wastewater systems, address failing septic systems and to continue to support the asset management plan.
The governor's climate executive order set a bold goal for Michigan to reach economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2050 with an intermediate goal of 28 below 1990 emission levels by 2025. The Michigan climate solutions plan will serve as the organizing body for a council that is 14 stakeholders, and then representatives from departments within state government who will build that action plan and make sure that the outline goals will be met within the specified timeline. To get to a plan like that we're going to have to have robust and regular conversation with stakeholders across Michigan and we're working into that schedule a variety of public engagement conversations so that we can get good input.
One of those programs that EGLE is putting into place is called Catalyst Communities in Michigan. We're giving communities that are interested in engaging a place to go so that they can learn more about what climate solutions might look like in their neck of the woods. It's important that this look different because all 83 counties look different and so we have to be able to meet communities where they're at, so we're very excited about this climate communities program.
Mobility is important. We are the advanced mobility state. Power generation is still the largest in our climate emissions, however transportation emissions surpassed power generation on a more macro scale. So, mobility solutions will be climate solutions. When we look at advanced mobility, the solution is going to be shared connected autonomous and electrified, and all of that's going to happen on an electrified chassis.
U.P. Energy Task Force
The charge that was set before the Upper Peninsula Energy Task Force, which was created June 2019, was to assess U.P.'s overall energy needs and how they're currently being met, formulate alternative solutions for meeting U.P. energy needs with a focus on security, reliability, affordability, and environmental soundness, including alternative means to supply the energy sources and to identify and evaluate potential changes that could occur to the energy supply and distribution in the U.P.