Citing climate change, Gov. asks agency to review extreme weather plans

    The MSU Federal Credit Union's Downtown Lansing office closed for the day, Jan. 28, 2019 | Michael Gerstein

    After an energy shortage during record-breaking cold weather in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has asked a state commission to investigate state preparations for extreme weather.

    Whitmer announced Monday her request that the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) conduct a statewide review of natural gas supplies and how they’re delivered — supplies that are crucial for keeping homes heated during bitter, arctic-like days.

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    Whitmer asked the commission to complete a report by July 1. It’s meant to determines whether Michigan’s energy systems are ready for changing and extreme weather conditions, her office said.

    The governor announced last week her plan to ask MPSC to look into the state’s weather emergency readiness.

    “We need to make sure that Michigan is prepared if we’re faced with another energy emergency,” Whitmer said in a statement.  “Last week, Michigan families and businesses stepped up when Consumers Energy requested that we all turn down our heat to 65 degrees, and because of the sacrifices we made together, people across the state were able to get through a 48-hour period of life-threatening weather safely.”

    Whitmer explicitly identified climate change as the reason behind her request.

    “As a direct result of climate change, Michigan is sure to experience more record-setting temperatures and extreme weather events in the future,” she continued. “The state needs to be prepared, and that means ensuring we have a reliable and affordable energy supply to keep our economy moving and keep families safe.”

    Michael Gerstein
    Michael Gerstein covers the governor’s office, criminal justice and the environment. Before that, he wrote about state government and politics for the Detroit News, the Associated Press and MIRS News and won a Society of Professional Journalism award for open government reporting. He studied philosophy at Michigan State University, where he wrote for both The State News and Capital News Service. He began his journalism career freelancing for The Sturgis Journal, his hometown paper.

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