In the coming months, Michigan will begin shutting down four coal-burning power plants in the state and shut down its entire coal-fueled power system, with the first two scheduled to go online in mid-November.
The announcement came a week after the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MEQ) said it would shut down the two remaining coal-powered plants at the end of December.
The state has already shut down one coal-burner, a single unit in Lansing, in January 2018, and shuttered a second unit at a factory in May.
The MEQ is a division of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, which oversees the coal industry.
It is responsible for approving power plant permits and enforcing the state’s pollution control policies, and it is also tasked with overseeing the environmental impacts of the industry.
In a statement, Michigan Secretary of State Mike DeWine, the state agency responsible for the coal sector, said that the coal plants “will be shut down as soon as they are safe to do so.”
The shutdowns, he said, will “save lives and clean air for everyone.”
The announcement comes as the US has been experiencing a record amount of carbon emissions in the wake of the 2016 climate change crisis, as well as a spike in coal-related deaths.
Coal-fired plants are an important part of Michigan’s energy supply, as they produce a significant amount of the power that power companies rely on for their daily lives.
In Michigan, coal plants produce about a third of the electricity that the state uses.
The shuttering of these coal plants is a critical step towards making the transition to 100% renewable energy a reality, the MEQ said in a statement.
“Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction,” the MEA said.
“We’ve worked diligently with Michigan to ensure these plants can be safely and efficiently retired, and today we are providing additional clarity to our partners on the DEQ’s list of priorities.”
In a news release, the agency also said it has made “significant progress” in its transition to renewable energy.
In February 2018, the Michigan Senate passed legislation that created a task force that included representatives from the MEAS, the governor’s office, and the MEAD to “evaluate and develop a plan to transition to a 100 percent renewable energy future.”
The task force released a report in March 2018 outlining a timeline for transitioning to a new 100 percent energy system.
In April 2018, Gov.
Rick Snyder signed a law that requires utilities to provide 30 days notice of any planned retirements, and that allows them to delay the retirements of power plants for up to 90 days.
This is in addition to the 30 days that utilities are required to provide under the Clean Air Act.
In December, Michigan became the first state to become a fully renewable state.
Last year, the EPA released new data showing that more than 80% of electricity produced in the US is produced in 100% coal- and gas-fired facilities.
The agency’s Energy Independence and Security Act (EISAA) mandates that utilities can no longer produce more than 50% of their electricity from renewable sources, and this has led to a dramatic shift in how coal-based power plants are run.
Michigan is one of the most progressive states in the country when it comes to climate change.
The US has the fourth-highest greenhouse gas emissions per capita of any state in the world, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
The states coal-dependent power plants contribute more than a quarter of the nation’s carbon pollution, according the Sierra Club.
“It’s absolutely devastating to people who are already struggling to get by on food stamps and Medicaid,” said Jennifer K. Cavanaugh, the Sierra’s policy director.
“There’s really a need to take this action in a much more direct way.”
Michigan has been one of President Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters of the coal-mining industry, which he promised to revive in a 2016 campaign speech.
“Michigan is a huge coal state,” Trump said at the time.
“And this coal industry is dying.
And I have the guts to take it back.”
In 2018, Trump also proposed to dismantle the federal coal program and move the US towards 100% clean energy.
The plan was quickly withdrawn.
“I am a big supporter of the clean energy agenda, but we need to get coal off the table,” Trump told reporters.
“That is my message to everybody who wants to support clean energy, and I am going to stop it.”