For Friday, Dec. 23, 2016
1 – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a rewrite of state energy laws.
The changes are intended to boost the use of renewable power sources and continue competition in the electricity market.
The governor says the policy reforms will help residents save on electric bills, ensure reliability and advance clean energy.
The Michigan Environmental Council says the legislation is an important victory.
Highlights include increasing the state’s 10 percent renewable energy standard.
Utilities will be required to ramp up their use of renewable energy to 12.5 percent by 2019, and 15 percent by 2021.
2 – Park improvements are coming to Bay and other counties.
The state Department of Natural Resources has awarded $2.2 million in Land and Water Conservation Fund grants.
Seventeen community and state parks, trails and sports facilities across the state have been recommend for funding.
Those include the village of Farwell in Clare County, Monitor Township in Bay County, and Midland Township in Midland County.
The upgrades include grills and picnic tables, safety lighting, signs, new playground equipment, electrical updates, tree replacement, and parking improvements.
The project recommendations will be sent to the National Park Service for federal approval.
3 – A Water Infrastructure Improvements Act will fund Great Lakes restoration projects for the next five years.
The funding totals $1.5 billion, and was signed into law last week by President Obama.
The measure authorizes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for five years at $300 million a year.
The Initiative funds projects to clean up fish and wildlife habitat, reduce farm and city runoff, fight invasive species and clean up toxic pollution.
About 3,000 projects have been completed across the Great Lakes basin since the inception of the Initiative in 2010.