COVID-19 pandemic revealed underlying energy justice crises, study finds

ENERGY CRISIS – A new Michigan study uses the COVID-19 pandemic to help reveal existing energy crises such as costly utility bills and the dangers of energy pollution. It cites problems in rural areas and tribal nations from Michigan, but the same issues can be seen across the United States and globally. The study by a Michigan Technological University researcher was inspired by the state’s controversial pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. By Taylor Haelterman. For SAULT STE. MARIE, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, CHEBOYGAN, BAY MILLS AND ALL POINTS

Fix little leaks, save big money

Capital News Service

LANSING – Energy waste reduction programs in Michigan are expected to save customers nearly $1.1 billion in utility costs, according to a recent report. The Public Service Commission report found that waste reduction programs in 2017 saved nearly 1.6 million megawatt hours of electricity and more than 5.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The programs help customers identify ways to conserve energy, such as tips for more efficient lighting, free pickup for recycling old appliances and cash rebates for installing energy-efficient appliances.   

Electric companies and gas utilities spent more than $308 million on the programs, according to the report. “For every dollar spent on these programs, customers can expect $3.51 in savings,” said Nick Assendelft, the public information officer for the Public Service Commission.

Watch Focal Point: 2020 presidential candidates, potato shortage in Michigan, a preview of the Oscars, and more

On this edition of Focal Point, Interim President Satish Udpa apologizes to the survivors who were involved in the Larry Nassar case, MSU might gain a new spot on campus, and a student started her own business at the age of 21. In sports, we have an overview on men’s and women’s basketball, hockey, and wrestling. This week in entertainment, we have a preview of the nominations for the Oscars. These stories and more on this week’s edition of Focal Point.

Environmental agency reorganization sparks local concerns

Capital News Service

LANSING — While Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s attempt to reorganize state efforts to protect the environment faces legislative rejection, some local leaders fear the action could further polarize business and environmental groups. “It’s bothersome to me, because my members who are not happy with the executive order are still people who care about clean drinking water and they’re responsible people,” said Cathi Abbs, the executive director of the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce. Even environmental groups that welcome the changes caution that they not be viewed as an attack on business. “We do ourselves no favors if we alienate parts of our community — people that own businesses or fear that regulations will negatively affect business,” said Theresa Lark, the executive director of the MidMichigan Environmental Action Council covering Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties.  “At the same time, if your business practice is negatively affecting someone else, you should listen to that person too.

The entrance to the Lansing Recycling Center on Cedar Street is pictured Dec. 12, 2018.

Local action taken to challenge global climate change

In November, the Fourth National Climate Assessment was published by the research program. The report interprets the findings of the research program, analyzes the effects of global change on the environment and analyzes current trends in global change, both human-induced and natural. Local governments and businesses already are dealing with the issues the report addresses.