Southwest Michigan Today: Friday February 8, 2019

Feb 8, 2019

Capitol Hill - file photo
Credit iStock/Svetlana Larina

John Dingell is remembered for a remarkable six decades in Congress. The Michigan Public Service Commission starts an assessment of the state’s energy infrastructure. Questions are raised about insuring Line 5. 

(WDET) The longest-serving member in the history of Congress former Representative John Dingell has died. The 92 year-old Michigan Democrat took over the U.S. House seat vacated when his father died in 1955, and stayed in the House for six decades helping guide landmark legislation like Medicare and the Clean Water Act. West Michigan Congressman Fred Upton says Dingell was enormous in stature, integrity and accomplishments. The St. Joseph Republican says that representing Michigan was a labor of love for Dingell. John Dingell left the House in 2015, his wife Debbie won election to the seat. A statement from the Congresswoman says that John Dingell will be remembered for his decades of public service, razor sharp wit and a lifetime of dedication to improving the lives of all who walk this Earth.

(MPRN) Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s plans to restructure the state Department of Environmental Quality could be over. The state House passed a measure to eliminate the order Wednesday, and now the Senate is considering a similar move – which would mean the end of Whitmer’s order. Earlier this week, Whitmer signed an order to restructure the Department of Environmental Quality. Some Republicans in the Legislature don’t like that the restructuring gets rid of several environmental oversight panels that were created by statute last year.

(WCMU) An assessment of Michigan’s energy infrastructure and reliability was launched Thursday by the Michigan Public Service Commission. The assessment is part of the Commission’s response to a fire at a Consumer’s Energy natural gas storage facility last week that created a state of emergency requiring residents to lower their heat during a Polar Vortex. The report on the Consumers fire is expected in May. An initial assessment of the state’s overall energy infrastructure and reliability is due in July.

(Interlochen Public Radio) A non-profit group is questioning whether Enbridge has adequate insurance coverage on Line 5. That’s the pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac. The group “For Love of Water” says the state failed to conduct a thorough review of Enbridge’s ability to pay for damages if a spill happens. The report lists several specific concerns with Enbridge’s insurance, including the dollar amount and whether it extends to subsidiaries. An Enbridge spokesman says the company has given the state detailed financial assurances that it would cover all costs in the unlikely event of a spill.