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As Michigan and Midwest investment in energy extraction and transport increases, rising threats to the environment and communities have become painfully apparent and worrisome, including potential oil spills in the Great Lakes, aging natural gas pipeline on lands, and clouds of harmful petroleum dust polluting the air in some residential communities.
For the full article, see Keith Matheny, "Environmental disasters lurk in energy pipelines", Detroit Free Press, October 12, 2014.
urging production of natural gas in the Utica and Marcellus shale regions of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia now offers the prospect of a plentiful and relatively affordable energy for Michigan, Ontario and points beyond — to whoever will expand the pipeline network to ship it.
Two rival proposals that would pipe gas through Ohio, southeast Michigan and into Canada starting in 2017 — the 250-mile Nexus pipeline project of DTE Energy and two partners, and the longer ET Rover pipeline — will soon be presented to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for review.
Property owners in the Nexus and Rover paths are being notified now and participating in local meetings to discuss issues regarding easements, compensation and environmental impact.
Meanwhile, a third proposal advanced by TransCanada would build a 500-mile extension of its ANR natural gas pipeline from southeast Ohio to Bridgman in southwest Michigan, near the shores of Lake Michigan.
For the full article, see Tom Walsh, "Rival projects compete for OK to build gas pipelines", Detroit Free Press, October 12, 2014.
New technology in the past decade, such as three-dimensional imaging and horizontal drilling, has led to an oil and gas boom in places like North Dakota, and put more wells in urban and suburban areas so some landowners and cities can reap a steady income.
As oil and gas production surges, cities like Youngstown, Ohio, that declined as industry left it are trying to revive. Property owners, potentially sitting on rich deposits of fossil fuel, are negotiating lucrative contracts. More oil and gas drilling, combined with more alternative energy development, which has been slow and steady in Michigan as costs have dropped, could lift the state's economy.
But, while some are cashing in, others — particularly residents who live near wells but don't have contracts and environmental groups — are fighting oil and gas exploration and drilling, underscoring a growing tension among competing interests that is playing out nationwide.
For the full article, see Frank Witsil, "Drilling in backyards equals cash for land owners", Detroit Free Press, October 12, 2014.
The shift to renewable energy sources in Michigan — particularly wind — has picked up in the past few years and could get more of a boost as the Obama administration seeks a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, advocates and utility companies say.
That could mean more investment and more jobs to add to Michigan's modest energy sector profile of about 83,000 workers. One recent study concluded targeted local investment in wind and other renewable energy could support nearly 21,000 jobs in the state by next year.
For the full article, see Frank Witsil, "Michigan's wind energy industry soaring", Detroit Free Press, October 12, 2014.
Efforts to battle global warming and climate change by limiting carbon dioxide emissions are likely to produce a massive building boom at Michigan power plants in years to come, potentially creating thousands of jobs.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is refining its proposed clean air regulations that would require states to dramatically lower output of greenhouse gases over the next 15 years. For Michigan, the targeted reduction is 31% over 2012 levels.
For the full article, see John Gallagher, "Rebuilding boom coming at Michigan power plants", Detroit Free Press, October 12, 2014.
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