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PNS Daily Newscast - March 22, 2019 


President Trump rattles the Middle East, saying the U.S. will recognize Israel’s authority over the Golan Heights. Also on our Friday rundown: A judge blocks laws limiting the power of the new Wisconsin governor. Plus, momentum builds across party lines to abolish the death penalty.

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Lawmakers Debate Climate Change in D.C. Today as MI Forges Own Path

Consumers Energy has committed to closing two coal-fired units at its Karn Generating Complex near Bay City, Mich., by 2023. (Albert Herring/Wikimedia Commons)
Consumers Energy has committed to closing two coal-fired units at its Karn Generating Complex near Bay City, Mich., by 2023. (Albert Herring/Wikimedia Commons)
February 28, 2019

LANSING, Mich. – The issue of climate change returns to the spotlight today, with a hearing before the Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The hearing – We'll Always Have Paris: Filling the Leadership Void Caused by Federal Inaction on Climate Change – comes just days after the Trump administration announced a new climate advisory panel that includes well-known climate skeptics.

Senior Attorney Margrete Kearney at the Environmental Law and Policy Center said when President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, it backfired and gave the movement a boost.

"That has made it an issue that people realize they have to deal with," Kearney said. "There isn't a federal government in place that takes it seriously and that cares about the impact, so we all have to do something. And that has really changed the conversation that you see on a very local level in Michigan."

Michigan's new governor, Gretchen Whitmer, is working to reorganize the Department of Environmental Quality and has said she'll make climate change a priority.

A number of cities, including Grand Rapids and Traverse City, have begun reducing the use of fossil fuels. Meanwhile, the new Integrated Resource Plan from Consumers Energy moves away from coal and introduces more solar. Advocates say they're waiting to see DTE Energy's plan, which is due out in late March.

Extreme weather events such as the polar vortex, mega-fires in California, massive flooding in Houston, Texas, and the hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico already have brought urgency to the climate-change debate.

According to Kate Madigan, director of the Michigan Climate Action Network, the effects also are being felt in the Great Lakes State.

Madigan explained, "We're seeing increased humidity and rainfall, especially in the spring, which leads to the flooding events that we saw in Detroit in the summer of 2014, Grand Rapids in 2013 and 2018, and in Marquette in 2018 as well."

Water temperatures in the Great Lakes also are trending upward, which Madigan warned could lead to more toxic algae and eventually, threaten local drinking-water supplies.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - MI