Preserving 1,500 Acres; Regulating Soot; Increasing Electric Rates (along with EVs and Solar)

For Friday, Jan. 27, 2023


1 – The nonprofit Huron Pines in Gaylord says three properties totaling more than 1,500 acres of the Lake Huron coast are now permanently protected. 

Two of the properties were transferred to Huron Pines by The Nature Conservancy. 

The first is 1,400 acres on Thunder Bay’s North Point Peninsula, with 4 miles of coastline home to carnivorous plants and an endangered dragonfly. 

The second property is 153 acres on Birdsong Bay, south of Alpena, with wetland habitats that support a diverse ecosystem of plants and wildlife.

A third preserve, the 15-acre KR Poljan Tract at Birdsong Bay, was gifted to Huron Pines earlier this month by the estate of Richard J. Poljan. 

Huron Pines, The Nature Conservancy and the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan have set up an endowment fund to support monitoring, management and protection of the preserves.

2 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is cracking down on soot. 

Those are the tiny particles that you can inhale deep into your lungs. Soot is linked to serious health effects like ashtma, heart attacks, strokes and cancer. It’s primarily produced by burning fossil fuels and emitted from sources like power plants, industrial facilities and vehicles. 

Earlier this month, the EPA proposed cutting the allowable amount of fine particulate pollution to strengthen the national standard. 

The agency is taking public comment on more protective daily standards. 

The Environmental Defense Fund, a global group, is urging people to submit comments to set stronger standards for soot pollution.

3 – Consumers Energy electric rates are rising, but so are solar and electric vehicle programs. 

State regulators have approved a settlement agreement that grants a rate increase for Consumers Energy. A typical residential customer will see a 2 percent bump in their monthly bill, according to the Michigan Public Service Commission

But other highlights of the agreement include enhancements to the utility’s electric vehicle programs, including a payment plan for customers installing electric vehicle chargers and making related upgrades. 

Also, Consumers will double the cap on so-called distributed generation from 2 percent to 4 percent. 

This means more customers who want to add rooftop solar will be able to do so, says the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council. And Consumers will provide better compensation for power that customers export to the grid. 

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


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