natural gas http://michiganradio.org en Big energy companies face conspiracy, anti-trust violations in Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/big-energy-companies-face-conspiracy-anti-trust-violations-michigan <p>The state of Michigan alleges energy giants Encana Oil and Gas USA and Chesapeake Energy worked together to get cheaper prices to lease land to drill for oil and gas.</p><p>Michigan’s attorney general filed charges against the companies earlier this month. Today, the companies were arraigned on conspiracy and anti-trust violations.</p> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 22:36:30 +0000 Lindsey Smith 16906 at http://michiganradio.org Big energy companies face conspiracy, anti-trust violations in Michigan Frugal Holland takes on biggest one-time debt for natural gas plant http://michiganradio.org/post/frugal-holland-takes-biggest-one-time-debt-natural-gas-plant <p>The city of Holland will issue $160 million in bonds to build a new power plant. It’s the biggest bond offering the city, the public school district or the city’s publicly owned utility has ever issued.</p><p>Holland is home to a huge population of conservatives whose families emigrated from the Netherlands. That's why the city is known for its <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/tulips-are-back-photos-2013-tulip-time-festival">Tulip Time </a>festival, historic windmill, wooden shoes, and as Holland Mayor Kurt Dykstra puts it, being frugal.</p> Thu, 27 Feb 2014 19:09:06 +0000 Lindsey Smith 16646 at http://michiganradio.org Frugal Holland takes on biggest one-time debt for natural gas plant Consumers Energy puts Genesee County power plant project 'on hold' http://michiganradio.org/post/consumers-energy-puts-genesee-county-power-plant-project-hold <p>Consumers Energy is suspending plans to start building a $700 million power plant in Genesee County.</p><p>The utility announced today it will instead buy an existing Jackson County power plant for $155 million.</p><p>“You know, frankly, we can look out our windows at our headquarters at Consumers Energy, look east, and see the steam when that plant is operating, which is quite often,” says Dan Bishop, a Consumers spokesman.</p><p>The Jackson County power plant has been generating electricity for a decade. As a merchant power plant, it sold electricity on the wholesale market.</p> Thu, 30 Jan 2014 16:59:00 +0000 Steve Carmody 16244 at http://michiganradio.org Consumers Energy puts Genesee County power plant project 'on hold' Holland needs air permit for new natural gas plant http://michiganradio.org/post/holland-needs-air-permit-new-natural-gas-plant-0 <p>The City of Holland wants to get an air permit so it can build a <a href="http://p21decision.com/the-new-power-plant/#!">new natural gas-fired power plant</a>.</p><p>People have until <a href="http://www.deq.state.mi.us/aps/cwerp.shtml">Wednesday to tell the state’s Department of Environmental Quality what they think of the plans.</a></p><p>The roughly $200 million dollar power plant would help replace the city’s 70 year old DeYoung coal plant.</p> Mon, 25 Nov 2013 11:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 15401 at http://michiganradio.org Holland needs air permit for new natural gas plant Michigan officials deliver energy policy report http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-officials-deliver-energy-policy-report <p>LANSING, Mich. (AP) - State officials have submitted the latest in a series of reports that Gov. Rick Snyder says will help Michigan make decisions about future energy policies.<br /><br />The "Additional Areas" report deals with reliability of electricity, rates and prices, and natural gas infrastructure. Among the material is a section on the role of states versus the role of regional transmission operators or independent system operators for reliability.<br /><br />Another section covers the linkage between natural gas prices and electricity prices.<br /> Sat, 16 Nov 2013 15:04:00 +0000 The Associated Press 15313 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan officials deliver energy policy report Couple fighting oil, gas development in state game area http://michiganradio.org/post/couple-fighting-oil-gas-development-state-game-area <p>GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A southwestern Michigan couple is suing the federal government over a planned lease of oil and gas development rights in the Allegan State Game Area.<br><br>John Davis Jr. and Marybeth Pritschet-Davis filed their lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids.<br><br>They say the Bureau of Land Management plans to auction 27,302 acres of subsurface mineral rights in the Allegan game area Sept. 12. The area hosts endangered and threatened species and also features trout streams, lakes and wetlands.<br> Sat, 07 Sep 2013 18:00:00 +0000 The Associated Press 14320 at http://michiganradio.org Consumers Energy moves forward on power plant plan http://michiganradio.org/post/consumers-energy-moves-forward-power-plant-plan <p>THETFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Consumers Energy is taking steps toward its planned 700-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant in Michigan's Genesee County.<br><br>The Jackson-based utility filed Friday for approval of a certificate of necessity with the Michigan Public Service Commission. The filing is allowed under the state's energy reform law.<br><br>Chief Executive Officer John Russell says the filing establishes the plant "is in the best long-term interests of Michigan."<br> Sat, 13 Jul 2013 12:50:58 +0000 The Associated Press 13517 at http://michiganradio.org State House Democrats want to tighten regulations on 'fracking' http://michiganradio.org/post/state-house-democrats-want-tighten-regulations-fracking <p>Eight Democrats in the Michigan House are introducing legislation to tighten regulations on a practice used by the oil and gas industry known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."</p><p>The drilling technique is at the center of national environmental debates. It uses water and chemicals deep underground to harvest natural gas.</p> Fri, 12 Jul 2013 14:44:31 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 13491 at http://michiganradio.org State House Democrats want to tighten regulations on 'fracking' In this morning’s news: farm bill, fracking, and Arab-American bank accounts http://michiganradio.org/post/morning-s-news-farm-bill-fracking-and-arab-american-bank-accounts <p><strong>U.S. House revisits Farm Bill</strong></p><p>United States House Republicans passed a farm bill yesterday that excludes food assistance legislation.&nbsp; Agriculture and food stamps have historically been a part of the same bill for nearly 40 years. Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/michigan-farm-bureau-not-happy-us-house-passed-farm-bill">reports</a> that the Michigan Farm Bureau is disappointed with the status of the new legislation.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>State Democrats increase fracking regulation</strong></p><p>Democrats in the state House have introduced eight new bills to increase regulations on hydraulic <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/state-house-democrats-want-regulate-fracking">fracturing</a> in Michigan. The bills do not ban fracking or stop the issuing of permits. According to Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher, “the legislation would require natural gas companies to disclose which chemicals they’re using in the fracking process. It would also give local governments more power to restrict the activity.”</p><p><strong>Arab-American group sues over bank account closures</strong></p><p>Hundreds of Arab-Americans received letters from Huntington Bank notifying them that their accounts have been closed.&nbsp; Many of these closures came with no explanation. The Arab-American Civil Rights League has filed a $75,000 lawsuit against the bank. Fri, 12 Jul 2013 12:53:16 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 13504 at http://michiganradio.org In this morning’s news: farm bill, fracking, and Arab-American bank accounts New Lansing power plant follows national trend toward natural gas http://michiganradio.org/post/new-lansing-power-plant-follows-national-trend-toward-natural-gas <p><a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/lansings-new-power-plant-will-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions">Michigan has a new commercial scale power plant</a>; the first new power plant in Michigan in 25 years.</p><p>Coal is still the dominant fuel source in the state, but this plant's existence means there will be a little less coal being imported into Michigan.</p><p>At the ceremony today celebrating its opening, the Lansing Board of Water &amp; Light sang the new "REO Town" plant's praises:</p> Mon, 01 Jul 2013 16:38:41 +0000 Mark Brush 13318 at http://michiganradio.org New Lansing power plant follows national trend toward natural gas Lansing's new power plant will reduce greenhouse gas emissions http://michiganradio.org/post/lansings-new-power-plant-will-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions <p>Michigan’s first new utility built power plant in 25 years was fired up today in Lansing.</p><p></p><p>The Reo Town power plant’s natural gas powered turbines whirled to life this morning.</p><p></p> Mon, 01 Jul 2013 15:55:00 +0000 Steve Carmody 13317 at http://michiganradio.org Lansing's new power plant will reduce greenhouse gas emissions New power plant will go online in Lansing, Michigan this Monday http://michiganradio.org/post/new-power-plant-will-go-online-lansing-michigan-monday <p>The Lansing Board of Water &amp; Light say this new power plant will be "the first new utility power plant built in Michigan in 25 years."</p><p>Following <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052748703579804575441683910246338.html">a national trend away from coal</a>, this power plant will burn natural gas.</p><p>According to their <a href="http://www.lbwl.com/About-the-BWL/News/BWL-Cogeneration-Plant-is-%E2%80%9CGoing-Commercial%E2%80%9D-on-July-1/">press release</a>, the municipally-owned utility expects to cut is greenhouse gas emissions by 50% compared to the coal-fired steam and electric units the new power plant will replace. They list other benefits as well:</p><blockquote><p>- Eliminate the need to burn 351,000 tons of coal compared to the steam and electric units that the new plant will replace.</p><p>- Lower mercury and SO2 (sulfur dioxide) emissions by over 99 percent, and NOx (oxides of nitrogen) by over 85 percent compared to the coal-fired boilers that are now retired.</p></blockquote><p>The power plant called the "REO Town plant" will be fully operational <span class="aBn" data-term="goog_1543982731" tabindex="0"><span class="aQJ">Monday</span></span>.</p><p>It's part $182 million project that also includes a headquarters building and a restored Grand Trunk Western Railroad depot for the BWL Board of Commissioners meetings.</p><p>The plant is expected to generate up to 300,000 pounds of steam for 225 steam customers in downtown Lansing, replacing the Moores Park Steam Plant. It also will provide 100 megawatts of electricity, about 20 percent of the utility's electric generation.</p><p>The Lansing Board of Water &amp; Light offers water, electric, steam and chilled water service to more than 100,000 residential and business customers. Fri, 28 Jun 2013 19:15:29 +0000 Mark Brush 13302 at http://michiganradio.org New power plant will go online in Lansing, Michigan this Monday Increased horizontal hydraulic fracturing is causing concerns in Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/increased-horizontal-hydraulic-fracturing-causing-concerns-michigan <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Right now we have abundant supplies of natural gas because of what the U.S. Energy Information administration calls robust inshore production, there is a glut of natural gas and that means cheaper gas.</span></p><p>This increased supply is mostly due to hydraulic fracturing - more importantly, a newer way to use the drilling method, horizontal hydraulic fracturing. Horizontal fracking has made it easier and cheaper to extract natural gas and oil from shale deposits in the U.S. and around the globe. Horizontal fracking has meant a boom in gas drilling in the U.S. and it's meant more jobs in certain areas of the country. It’s meant less dependence on foreign sources for energy. And because burning natural gas emits about half the CO2 emissions of coal or oil, it means less of the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change. It also means families can heat their homes more cheaply.</p><p>But there are also risks and concerns. The extraordinary expansion of natural gas extraction through this use of horizontal hydraulic fracturing is causing some real concerns about risks to air and water quality.</p><p>Andy Hoffman, a professor of sustainable enterprise at the University of Michigan, and Abrahm&nbsp;Lustgarten, a reporter for ProPublica, joined us today.</p><p> Tue, 25 Jun 2013 21:41:12 +0000 Stateside Staff 13238 at http://michiganradio.org Increased horizontal hydraulic fracturing is causing concerns in Michigan Michigan's natural gas prices may rise, depending on decisions to allow more overseas exports http://michiganradio.org/post/michigans-natural-gas-prices-may-rise-depending-decisions-allow-more-overseas-exports <p>For years, Michigan businesses and consumers have enjoyed extremely low natural gas prices.</p><p>But that may be changing. And it’s a case of basic economics.&nbsp;</p><p>Natural gas is selling for about $4 per thousand cubic feet in the U.S.</p><p>In Europe, the price is closer to $10 per thousand cubic feet. In Japan, the price is hovering over $15.</p><p>So it should be no surprise that the energy industry is pushing hard for more exports of natural gas.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Sun, 16 Jun 2013 18:58:00 +0000 Steve Carmody 13068 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan's natural gas prices may rise, depending on decisions to allow more overseas exports State auctions mineral rights as 'anti-fracking' groups gather http://michiganradio.org/post/state-auctions-mineral-rights-anti-fracking-groups-gather <p>Opponents of hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – are blasting Michigan officials for opening more state lands to oil and gas companies. They held a rally in Lansing today as state officials auctioned the mineral rights for tens of thousands of acres of state land.</p><p>Fracking is a controversial process of extracting natural gas from deep underground.</p><p>Jim Nash is Oakland County’s water resources commissioner. He says the state needs to do more to protect against possible spills from fracking wells.</p><p style="margin-left:.5in;"><strong>"</strong>We have fairly strict laws in Michigan, but we only have 22 people that actually do inspections," said Nash. "So it’s mostly self-reporting of incidents. That’s great if you have an honest company. But if you have a dishonest company that’s cutting corners already, they’re not going to report a bad accident."</p><p>The state Department of Environmental Quality says companies have been fracking in Michigan for decades without any significant environmental incidents. Thu, 09 May 2013 21:05:00 +0000 Jake Neher 12502 at http://michiganradio.org State auctions mineral rights as 'anti-fracking' groups gather Watch town hall meeting on fracking in Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/watch-town-hall-meeting-fracking-michigan <p>Michigan Radio recently co-hosted a town hall meeting with the University of Michigan's School of Engineering on the future of horizontal hydraulic fracturing in Michigan.</p><p>We also live-tweeted the event on hashtag #fracktopia. Here's one of the more revelatory facts that came out of that discussion:</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>MDEQ's Bill Mitchell says there are 25 people who inspect the wells in Michigan. There are 12,000 wells in the state. <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23fracktopia">#fracktopia</a></p>— Michigan Radio (@MichiganRadio) <a href="https://twitter.com/MichiganRadio/status/324311516411219968">April 17, 2013</a></blockquote><p>Those are gas wells. Not necessarily horizontally fractured wells. Horizontal fracturing is still in the experimental stage in Michigan. One industry representative at the meeting said "the jury is still out" on whether horizontal hydraulic fracturing in Michigan would be a good investment.</p><p>The town hall discussion featured a screening of <a href="http://www.engin.umich.edu/fracktopia" target="_blank">Fracktopia</a>, a short film about the latest techniques to recover natural gas and oil and their potential consequences. Michigan Radio's Lester Graham then led a discussion and Q-and-A session with the following panelists:</p><ul><li><a href="http://www.cee.umich.edu/people/faculty/Brian%20R.%20Ellis,%20Ph.D." target="_blank">Professor Brian Ellis</a>, Michigan Engineering Department of <a href="http://cee.engin.umich.edu/" target="_blank">Civil and Environmental Engineering</a></li><li><span class="fbPhotosPhotoCaption" data-ft="{&quot;type&quot;:45}" id="fbPhotoSnowliftCaption" tabindex="0"><span class="hasCaption">Bill Stelzer, Stelzer Consulting</span></span></li><li><a href="http://www.environmentalcouncil.org/" target="_blank">Hugh McDiarmid Jr.</a>, Michigan Environmental Council</li><li>Bill Mitchell, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality</li></ul><p>You can watch the town hall meeting in full on the <a href="http://mconnex.engin.umich.edu/events/2013/fracktopia-town-hall/">U-M School of Engineering's website</a>.</p><p>Just click on the "View On-Demand" link.<br> Fri, 19 Apr 2013 15:19:09 +0000 Mark Brush 12218 at http://michiganradio.org Watch town hall meeting on fracking in Michigan Some Michigan residents saw lower heating bills this winter http://michiganradio.org/post/some-michigan-residents-saw-lower-heating-bills-winter <p>LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Some Michigan residents saw lower heating bills this winter because of reduced natural gas prices and milder temperatures.<br><br>The Michigan Public Service Commission announced Friday that households that use natural gas for heating received lower heating bills. Nearly 80 percent of all Michigan households use natural gas to heat their homes.<br><br>The state says that temperatures were 4 percent warmer than normal between November and March, contributing to the lower bills. Natural gas storage levels were also higher than average, causing the prices to go down. Sat, 06 Apr 2013 15:42:00 +0000 The Associated Press 12032 at http://michiganradio.org Some Michigan residents saw lower heating bills this winter University of Michigan taking a broad look at the effects of fracking http://michiganradio.org/post/university-michigan-taking-broad-look-effects-fracking <p>The University of Michigan is undertaking a broad review of the effects of Michigan’s growing natural gas industry.&nbsp;&nbsp; U of M researchers met with environmentalists and industry officials today in Lansing.</p><p></p><p>Most natural gas is extracted using a process called hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking. There are concerns that fracking might cause health and environmental problems. &nbsp;&nbsp;But supporters say fracking is helping boost Michigan’s economy.&nbsp;</p><p></p> Tue, 05 Mar 2013 21:29:05 +0000 Steve Carmody 11534 at http://michiganradio.org University of Michigan taking a broad look at the effects of fracking Holland City Council votes to replace aging coal plant with new natural gas one http://michiganradio.org/post/holland-city-council-votes-replace-aging-coal-plant-new-natural-gas-one <p>The City of Holland plans to build a new $182 million power plant. Wednesday night Holland City Council voted eight to one to replace the city’s more than 70-year-old coal plant with a brand new one that burns natural gas instead.</p><p>“I don’t know about you but I’ve made some bad decisions in my life and I’ve made them probably because I acted too quickly,” City Councilman Wayne Klomparens said before casting the lone “no” vote.</p> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 05:53:02 +0000 Lindsey Smith 10236 at http://michiganradio.org Holland City Council votes to replace aging coal plant with new natural gas one Commentary: The transportation environment http://michiganradio.org/post/commentary-transportation-environment <p>Someone once said that Americans will do anything for the environment except read about it or spend money on it.</p><p>I thought of that yesterday, when the governor delivered the latest in his series of special messages, this one on the environment.</p><p>Rick Snyder said we had to make better use of the resources we have, and called, among other things, for better recycling and for Michigan to develop a strategic national gas reserve.</p><p>Pretty much everyone nodded politely at most of what the governor said,&nbsp; though not when he appeared to endorse fracking, at least so far as natural gas recovery is concerned.</p><p>However, I would be surprised if anyone in the legislature was still thinking about, much less talking about, what the governor said about the environment a week from now. In fact, the governor’s main priorities seem to be elsewhere, at least for the lame duck session.</p><p>But something else is going on in the Capitol that could be highly beneficial to the economic as well as the natural environment: Transportation reform. More than a year ago, the governor proposed a high-speed bus system for Metro Detroit. It was, and is, a great and politically brilliant idea. More than a third of the population of Detroit has no access to reliable private transportation, meaning cars.</p><p> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 14:20:00 +0000 Jack Lessenberry 10131 at http://michiganradio.org Commentary: The transportation environment