Reliability, affordability and protecting the environment should guide every decision regarding Michigan’s energy and environmental policies, Gov. Rick Snyder said last week when presenting his vision for the state’s future.
Snyder said creating a comprehensive energy policy that safely and efficiently delivers an abundant supply of energy through a reliable and environmentally-friendly infrastructure is key to ensuring the state’s energy future while protecting Michigan’s natural wonders.
“The reinvention of Michigan will not be complete without energy and environmental policies that make our state a place our children and grandchildren will still want to live, work and play,” Snyder said in Kalamazoo where he delivered a special message about energy and the environment. “We must pursue policies that can adapt with the times while still offering solutions that will provide a future for our kids.”
In terms of energy production, Snyder stressed the importance of the state’s natural gas resources, calling on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Public Service Commission to work together to try and partner with private industry to develop a Strategic Natural Gas Reserve for Michigan.
“It’s a simple concept — the state of Michigan owns many natural gas deposits. When a private company brings those into production, the state can either take its share of money or in natural gas,” Snyder said. “Until now, we have chosen to take the money. But if the state owns gas, and the state owns storage, it could make sense for us to store that gas and sell it later, when we could get a better price.”
Michigan is currently the 12th largest producer of natural gas in the country, with 10 natural gas wells and 13 gas storage wells in Oakland County alone, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
Oil and gas industry experts speaking at an educational meeting hosted by Michigan State Extension in Oakland County last week said increased domestic drilling for oil and gas exploration has bottomed out gas prices. In essence, exploration companies aren’t actively searching gas reserves in Michigan. Instead, it’s more of a by-product of oil exploration, a representative from West Bay Exploration Company said at the meeting.
A study conducted last year by Bill Knudson at the Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University claims that substituting domestically-produced natural gas in the state for imported coal will increase output, employment and tax revenue for the state.
“Michigan produces gas … that’s a great advantage and an opportunity for the state of Michigan to do a little of its own economic gardening,” Snyder said in his presentation.