Greening Michigan’s Future: An Agenda to Protect Michigan’s Natural Resources and Create a Cleaner, Greener Michigan
Powering Our Progress with Cleaner, Greener Energy
To reduce dependence on foreign oil and avoid the disastrous consequences of offshore drilling, Michigan must transition to a green energy economy that emphasizes energy conservation to reduce demand, combined with aggressive use of alternative energy, including wind, solar, biomass and landfill gases, to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of coal. To meet the imminent need for new base electric power generation due to aging coal plants, Michigan must move toward cleaner alternatives like natural gas and biomass. Under the Bernero administration, state government will be a full partner with local communities, as well as the private sector, in transitioning to cleaner energy through the adoption of alternative energy sources for vehicle fleets and mass transit systems, the standardization of green building practices and the deployment of renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. All of these measures will help us reduce Michigan’s carbon footprint and bring about real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that are the driving force behind climate change.
Protecting Michigan’s Abundant Water Resources
Water is Michigan’s most valuable resource. If our state doesn't take action to protect it today, future generations will suffer the consequences of diminished water quality. Protecting the integrity of our Great Lakes means no water diversions, no drilling (offshore or slant) and a renewed emphasis on preventing invasive species like the Asian Carp from threatening Great Lakes fisheries. Improving water quality in our rivers by reducing municipal sewer overflows, eliminating point source pollution and working with the farm community to reduce agricultural runoff will pay long-term dividends for Michigan‘s water resources.
Strengthening Michigan’s Outdoor Economy
Hunting, fishing, outdoor recreation and tourism-related expenditures by Michigan residents and visitors bring billions to Michigan’s economy and sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs. Virg will expand the Pure Michigan campaign to promote Michigan's outdoor recreation opportunities to create jobs for guides, lodging, restaurants, outfitters, charter boats, and others. Virg will protect natural resources while leveraging them in a responsible, sustainable way to achieve economic prosperity. Wilderness areas are a vital part of outdoor recreation and tourism and must be protected to retain their attraction to campers, hikers, off-trail bikers and off-road vehicles. Managed resource areas are vital to jobs.
Remediating Environmental Hazards
A clean and healthy environment is the foundation of a healthy, prosperous economy that provides jobs for Michigan residents. Creating a healthier environment for all of our citizens is essential to Michigan’s long-term prosperity and the well-being of our children. Virg will strengthen the state’s commitment to eliminating the threat of lead poisoning in our urban housing stock and refocus efforts to clean up the unfortunate legacy of past disposal practices that continue to threaten our drinking water.
Smart Growth Policies to Reduce Sprawl, Revitalize Cities
Reducing urban sprawl is not only smart land use, it also results in resolving some of the worst environmental issues in our cities by cleaning up contaminated industrial sites and abandoned buildings. Virg will leverage more than $160 million in federal resources to clean up old automotive plant sites across the state and establish Green Manufacturing Zones that will create the jobs of tomorrow in emerging sectors of the clean energy economy.