Renewable energy focus of
Michigan's future, governor says

Fresh off passage of a bipartisan renewable energy package in the state legislature, Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm shared her vision for the state's economic and environmental future with an eager audience this fall at the inaugural conference of Michigan Law's Environmental Law & Policy Program.

Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm addresses the audience in Honigman Auditorium Sept. 25.

Program Director David M. Uhlmann invited the governor to take part in the conference, which revolved around the topic of "An Environmental Agenda for the Next Administration."

"This topic is so ripe for Michigan and the nation," Granholm said at the beginning of her wide-ranging remarks, video of which can be viewed here."I hope you intend to leave the planet better than you found it."

During her Honigman Auditorium address, which was attended by University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, Granholm also paid tribute to several Michigan graduate students and faculty members who shared a Nobel Prize with Al Gore for their work on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The two-day environmental conference Sept. 25 and 26 featured panels on climate change, alternative energy, and sustainability. Lisa Heinzerling (CQ) a Georgetown Law Center professor and lead author of petitioner's briefs in Massachusetts v. EPA, was the featured speaker during a luncheon on the 26th that was held, appropriately enough, outdoors on the Quad.

Heinzerling suggested that a new president should first of all look to using existing, "off-the-shelf" laws to improve environmental policy. Another early goal, she said, should be wrestling control of the regulatory state from the Office of Management and Budget.

"What OMB really has is a lot of fancy reasons to say 'no,' " Heinzerling said to general laughter.

She also maintained that the real power in changing America's approach to the environment will come from minute changes noticed by regular citizen – people who begin to notice they're planting their gardens earlier, for example, or others who sense that "this weather is weird."

"I don't care who's in office in January," she said. "You can start. … We can all do it. You can all do it."