Funding Great Lakes Restoration, Adding Up Wind, and Embracing Our Earth

Mr. Great Lakes (Jeff Kart), as heard 9 a.m. Eastern on Fridays on Delta College Q-90.1 FM.

The Environment Report for March 8, 2013:

1 – Great Lakes restoration was the theme of two days of lobbying this week in Washington, D.C. 

us capitol building turned blue for great lakes days
Credit: Ron Cogswell

More than 125 Great Lakes advocates were in D.C. to urge public officials to maintain Great Lakes restoration and protection as a national priority.

The Obama administration and Congress are working to negotiate a federal budget. The administration and lawmakers are being urged to maintain funding at $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a federal program that has funded work on environmental hot spots in Michigan and other Great Lakes states.

Advocates warn that automatic spending cuts are set to take effect unless a budget agreement is reached.

The sequestration, as it’s called, would reduce investments in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by about $25 million.

The annual Washington, D.C.. gathering is known as Great Lakes Days.

2 – The U.S. wind energy industry had its strongest year ever in 2012.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, a trade group, the record installations amounted to 13,124 megawatts of electric generating capacity. Those installations leveraged $25 billion in private investment, and achieved more than 60,000 megawatts of cumulative wind capacity in the U.S.

The top state for new capacity last year was Texas, at 1,826 megawatts. Michigan came in eighth, at 611 megawatts of new capacity.

The 60,000 megawatts of capacity now in the U.S. is enough to power about 15 million homes, or the combined number of homes in Michigan, Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Nevada, and Ohio.

The record installations of wind in 2012 surpassed a previous record in 2010 by about 3,000 megawatts.

Currently installed wind power in the U.S. will avoid almost 96 million metric tons a year of carbon dioxide emissions, according to AWEA. Still, that’s less than 2 percent of U.S. emissions of carbon, which come from sources including coal-fired power plants.

– via Great Lakes Energy News/GLREA

3- The Huron Intermediate School District, in Michigan’s Thumb, is planning for a ninth annual Embracing Our Earth event.

The event, one of the largest Earth Day festivals in Michigan, is to be held Saturday, April 13.

The festival will take place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Laker High School, in Pigeon.

Embracing our Earth is family-friendly, and will feature a wide variety of vendors, informational booths and displays, interactive games, a children’s energy fair, live animal shows, bands, and entertainment.

Local schools also will be involved, with various student competitions and presentations.

The event usually draws about 3,000 or more people to Pigeon, with has a population of about 1,200. Huron County was the site of Michigan’s first commercial wind farm, and now hosts dozens of commercial turbines.


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