On Restoration, Coal Plant Retirements and Christmas Trees for Goats

Happy New Year – for Friday, Jan. 8, 2021

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1 – Ongoing efforts to restore the Great Lakes got a boost this week. 

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 was signed into law. 

This paves the way for President-elect Joe Biden and Congress to continue funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for five years, according to advocates from the Healing our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. It also allows for increasing the program’s annual funding from $300 million to $475 million by 2026. 

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative invests in local projects in Michigan and other states to clean up toxic pollution, fight invasive species, reduce runoff from cities and farms, and restore fish and wildlife habitat. The initiative has supported more than 5,000 projects.

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition includes more than 160 groups.

2 – The Michigan Public Service Commission recently approved plans by Consumers Energy to issue low-interest bonds.

They’re for costs mainly associated with the retirement of two coal-fired power plants in Bay County’s Hampton Township. 

Consumers plans to retire its Karn 1 and 2 coal-fired generating units in May 2023 as part of a commitment to reduce carbon emissions.

The company said it expects its customers to save about $126 million through the bonding and will provide the savings to customers through a bill credit once the bonds are issued.

Retiring the plants is part of a strategy by Consumers to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

3 – Sales of live Christmas trees and wreaths in Michigan were up in 2020.

And so was the need for recycling them after the holidays. Some trees were even fed to sheep and goats. 

Credit: Lewis Adventure Farm & Zoo

The state Department of Natural Resources says more Michigan communities are offering Christmas tree and wreath recycling these days. 

The trees are typically turned into mulch, or used as habitat for rabbits and small game. At a petting zoo south of Ludington, recycled trees are fed to sheep and goats.

For more information on recycling, see the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s Recycling Directory at recyclesearch.com.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard Friday mornings in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Public Radio 90.1 FM (streaming). Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

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