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Consumers Energy announcement affirms the push towards fracking in Michigan

December 20, 2012

Earlier this week energy profiteers Consumers Energy announced that they have plans to build a $750 million dollar natural gas powered energy plant.picture-231

The proposed facility will be built in Thetford Township, about 20 miles northeast of Flint. The only potential roadblock is if the Michigan DEQ does not grant the company an air quality permit, which seems unlikely since the DEQ is supportive of the current levels of natural gas extraction, particularly through horizontal hydraulic fracturing, as we have witness at public forums.

It is also likely the energy company will get what they want considering how much money they spent lobby and influencing politicians at both the federal level and state level. According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, the group CMS Energy Employees for Better Government had contributed $305,730 in PAC money in Michigan in 2012.

According to one news source, John Russell, the president and CEO of Consumers Energy, said development of a major new natural gas power plant is consistent with the company’s Balanced Energy Initiative, a comprehensive plan to meet the energy needs of Consumers Energy’s customers over the next 20 years.

Russell doesn’t say if the new plant will rely on natural gas from hydraulic fracturing, but it seems likely this will be the case, since companies have been purchase oil & gas leases from the state and purchasing access to natural gas deposits by buying access to private land as we have noted in Kent County over the past year.

Consumers Energy currently provides electricity to about two thirds of Michigan’s 10 million residents, in addition to thousands of businesses across the state.

Such an announcement from Consumers Energy means that the energy giant is committed to extracting and burning natural gas in order to generate more profits from electricity sales in the state.hydro-fracking-coming-to-a-neighborhood-near-you_1

As we noted in an article looking at the Holland announcement to build a natural gas burning power plant, Consumer’s Energy announcement is a serious blow to efforts to protect the environment since it means a greater push for horizontal hydraulic fracturing.

With a growth of horizontal hydraulic fracturing will come the following:

  • The use of toxic chemicals (often undisclosed) in the fracking process, chemicals which cause cancer.
  • The use of millions of gallons of water, which will not only mean water diversion from lakes, streams and underground aquifers, but the disposal of this water, which will be contaminated with chemicals. Where will they dispose of this toxic water?
  • New roads or the widening of roads will take place, especially in more rural and environmentally sensitive areas, causing more environmental destruction – deforestation, run-off and impacting wildlife.

This new announcement from Consumers Energy should be a wakeup call to environmental groups and activists that the fight against fracking is heating up and that there is little time to resist the direction that the power companies want to take that we can no longer afford to accept.




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