HURON COUNTY – The goings-on of local government can go unnoticed sometimes. Here are a few newsworthy items of interest that didn’t make it into the headlines last week:
Quote of the week
Ron Chriss of DTE Energy gets this week’s quote of the week. Chriss spoke in front of at least 125 residents at the Meade Township hall on Oct. 7, where the utility has plans to site about 42 wind turbines.
His statements were fueled by the 26 residents at the meeting who spoke during public comment, with most voicing adamant opinions against wind energy development in the township.
Justifying the utility’s push for wind energy to provide electricity rather than coal, nuclear or solar sources, Chriss said coal is “not going to be working” because of strict regulation set by the Environmental Protection Agency for cleaner emissions.
And nuclear is out of the question too, he said.
“By 2025, there’s not going to be many coal plants around, period … nuclear cost $7 to $10 billion, you don’t want to shove $7 to $10 billion into your rates – you’ll throw us out of the place. Our company’s only worth $8 or $9 billion. No one’s going to decide to build an $8 or $9 billion nuke plant. Where are we going to put that? Where are we going to take the spent fuel rods? Anybody want them in their area?”
Up next was solar energy.
“Solar is not working, it’s working but it’s not working as great as we would like. We can’t run this town on solar, but we’re doing our best. Technology’s not there, clouds are in the way, we’re trying. We have a natural resource of wind. It’s here. It makes sense. You can’t run and do the NIMBY – not in my backyard.”
The Right to Farm … wind?
House Bill 5886, introduced Oct. 2 by State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, would amend the Right to Farm Act to include the production of wind energy as part of farm operations. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Technology.
It hasn’t sat well with county commissioners. The board has drafted a resolution to oppose the bill, claiming it “generates more questions than answers.”
“Apparently they found a way to plant seeds in the ground and grow turbines,” said David Peruski, county commissioner and legislative chair. “What this will effectively do is take local zoning away from us and put this under the Right to Farm Act.”
It’s certainly a relevant topic: Huron County ranks No. 1 in the state for total value of agricultural products sold, according to the USDA’s 2012 census of agriculture, and also lays ground to the most wind turbines in the state.
Bad Axe buying upgrades
Get ready to shine your shoes – they’ll look dull by comparison to some of the upgrades around the city that Bad Axe City Council approved last week.
One of them was a $3,600 proposal to fit the floors and walls in the bathroom park building with epoxy, due to past water damage. Wilcox Community Center also will receive a new vinyl floor covering for $4,290. Mayor Jim Hicks suggested using money set aside in the city’s park endowment fund “that’s just sitting there,” instead of taking from the general fund.
Up to $12,488 will buy a computer and software upgrade for the department of public works, to update the current Windows XP operating system used since 2006. Inside city hall, ceramic tile and carpeted areas will receive new vinyl flooring for $1,690.