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Get involved with energy task force

To the Journal editor:

As an Upper Peninsula resident for 40 years, I am concerned about our dependence on propane. I have followed the U.P. Energy Task Force that was directed by the governor to “consider all available information…and make recommendations that ensure the U.P.’s energy needs are met in a manner that is reliable, affordable, and environmentally sound.”

Watching the task force meetings I noticed that most members of the public who commented were concerned about our vulnerability to environmental threats from the current system of propane supply.

Michigan leads the country in the number of homes heated by propane fuel. Some of that propane supply depends on the old and deteriorating Line 5 pipeline stretched along 188 miles of vulnerable wetlands and waterways that feed directly into Lake Michigan.

Line 5 eventually runs through the Straits of Mackinac transporting oil from western Canada through Michigan to Canadian refineries. This risk for oil spills threatens our greatest resource. Water is our life source and our economic security.

The wealthy pipeline company can afford an extensive public relations campaign that promotes a plan to build a tunnel under the straits. This tunnel could protect the pipe under the straits but it will not change the age and condition and risk factors associated with the greater portion of the pipe.

Further, the company has not demonstrated that the new tunnel construction on the publically owned lake bed would not pose an unacceptable environmental risk. The propane system is thus entangled with an unresolved and serious environmental threat. The public comments frequently returned to these deeply held concerns for the water and land.

Other public comments to the UPETF focused on the outrage people feel when they have been excluded from input into decisions about energy sources. It is essential for citizens to have some kind of influence in the process when big companies push their projects.

This is especially true for the individualistic people of the U.P. The UPETF will now explore other sources of power. Let’s get involved in determining our own energy future. Search for U.P. Energy Task force in your web browser. The next meeting is today.

Attend virtually and make your voice heard during the meetings or by email anytime. The Task Force members hear and see every comment. This is responsive governance, and you have a stake in the outcome. Get involved!

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