- Former Shell Oil President, Top Gov. Snyder Staff Share Vision for American Energy Renaissance at Major Detroit-Area Forum
Hofmeister left Shell Oil Company to found Citizens for Affordable Energy, a nonprofit that educates people about how to go green at the local level. He says CFAE was founded on a non-partisan platform in 2011 to educate citizens and government officials about affordable energy solutions, environmental protection, energy alternatives, efficiency, infrastructure, public policy, competitiveness, social cohesion, and quality of life.
- Consumers Energy leads energy optimization in Michigan businesses and homes
The Renewable Portfolio Standard requires 10 percent of the state's energy portfolio be renewable by 2015, Malone says. In 2008, Consumers Energy was producing 4 percent renewable energy, he says, but opened its first wind farm in Mason County.
- Michigan Saves makes going green easy and affordable
More than 2,000 homes have been improved through Michigan Saves, she says, and each homeowner saves, on average, $450 each year on their utility bill. Using a network of local credit unions, Michigan Saves brings financing and contracting experts together to identify ways to lower homeowners' utility costs, Metty Bennett says.
- Valerie Brader: Working to ensure Michigan's energy and environmental future
The adaptability of future energy policies is incredibly important to Gov. Snyder, Brader says. Future energy and environmental policies will focus on affordable energy, reliable energy and protecting our environment, she says, which aim to suit a variety of futures.
- Hydraulic fracturing in Michigan lowers fuel costs and could create jobs, decreasing dependence on foreign energy
Because of the influx of media coverage of hydraulic fracturing, Cook says, people think the process is new and they are increasingly skeptical. "This is something we've been doing for 50 years," he says, "and we've had no problems of any contamination of water wells in northern Michigan."
Obama Administration proposes new rules for leasing on Native American lands
“This reform underscores President Obama’s commitment to empower Indian nations and strengthen their economies by expanding opportunities for individual landowners and tribal governments -- generating investment, new jobs and revenues.” - Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior
In an effort to stimulate certain development on Native American lands, the Department of Interior (DOI) has proposed new rules that will expedite leasing permits for residential, business and wind and solar leases. These rules will replace regulations that have not been updated in 50 years, but will not affect regulations regarding agricultural or subsurface leases, which may be revised at some later point. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) can now expedite leases to speed economic development on Native American lands.
The DOI holds approximately 56 million acres in trust for Native American tribes and individuals. The old rules required that BIA review every lease prior to approval, regardless of the size of the leasehold. That meant that every lease, no matter how small, would receive the same review as an extremely large lease, resulting in unnecessary delays.
Under the new rules, the BIA has 30 days to make a decision on residential leases. Solar and business leases must be reviewed within 60 days. Currently existing leases and subleases will be automatically approved if the review extends beyond the time requirement. In addition, some activities on Native American lands will not require reviews if they have been approved by Native American Tribes or individuals. Finally, the regulation will impose a streamlined process for wind and solar energy projects on Native American lands.
DOI has also expressed the Obama Administration's support for the "Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act" or HEARTH Act. The HEARTH Act also reforms federal leasing requirements and allows Native Americans to develop their own regulations concerning leases on restricted lands for business, agricultural, public, religious, educational, recreational, or residential purposes without the approval of the DOI. However, under the Act, DOI would have to review and approve the regulations adopted by the Native American tribes.
The proposed rules are subject to a 60-day public comment period. After a review of the comments to the regulations, DOI expects that a final rule will be promulgated in the spring or summer of 2012.
The author, Saulius Mikalonis, is an environmental attorney with over 25 years of experience in the Bloomfield Hills offices of Plunkett Cooney. He is also the author of The Green Blawg, in which he writes about environmental law issues for the non-lawyer. In addition to practicing law, Mr. Mikalonis is an adjunct professor at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Auburn Hills Campus, at which he teaches a course entitled "Sustainable Development Law & Policy" and a Board Member of the Detroit Regional Chapter of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).