Recognition of Governor Whitmer’s and Secretary Granholm’s Efforts to Save Palisades
The Climate Coalition and hundreds of co-signers sent a letter on Valentine’s Day to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the entire slate of elected Michigan officials urging them to protect Palisades. Since then, our letter has continued to garner additional signatures and comments collectively making the case that shuttering Palisades is bad for Michigan rate-payers, bad for Michigan’s emission goals and extremely bad for the climate. Meanwhile, the Congress has successfully passed President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, providing funding for saving at-risk nuclear power plants. The Department of Energy, under the leadership of Secretary Granholm, has crafted the Civilian Nuclear Credit (CNC) program, to enable nuclear power plants under risk of premature closure to apply for CNC funding. Given this, it makes no sense for Michigan to allow Palisades to also be shut down, when doing so would force Michigan to increase its use of natural gas at a time of extraordinarily high prices, adding further pressure to the already inflated price of natural gas. Thus, we are thrilled that on April 20th, Governor Whitmer sent a letter to Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm thanking her and President Biden for providing federal support for at-risk power plants, like Palisades, and committing herself and her office to working towards saving the Palisades nuclear power plant. We issue this second letter in recognition and thanks for the Governor’s support of Palisades.
(Please help us spread the word about this action by tweeting with the hashtag #SavePalisades and #ProtectNuclearNow and linking to this page.
(Note: The press release about this new letter is available here.)
April 28, 2022
The Honorable Gretchen Whitmer Governor of Michigan The Honorable Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of Energy Department of Energy Dear Governor Whitmer and Secretary Granholm,
We are heartened by your recent announcements about the actions you have taken to save Michigan’s Palisades Nuclear Generating Station. We thank you for representing the interest of Michigan residents and the nation, especially all the young people who will inherit the environment and climate that we leave for them.
The Biden administration, with strong bipartisan support, has determined that a robust nuclear energy industry is vital for our energy sovereignty, national security, economic development, and climate mitigation goals, and that our existing nuclear power plants are invaluable infrastructure assets.
Secretary Granholm, over the past few weeks, you have swiftly turned the provisions of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law into a fully funded and thoughtfully structured program to save financially challenged plants such as Palisades. The program recognizes that wholesale power markets generally do not adequately compensate nuclear plants for their full value—reliable and emission-free electricity; high-paying long-term jobs, and important local and regional economic activity. Until we have substantial electricity market reform to correct this problem, government action is well-justified to keep plants such as Palisades online.
We also commend you, Governor Whitmer, for your courageous and visionary non-partisan leadership. You have exercised due diligence, considered the data, and supported a path that is best for Michigan, its residents, and the environment. You have more than met the challenge by directing Michigan officials to convene multiple meetings with current and potential stakeholders to help craft a solution to preserve Palisades. In your April 20 letter to Secretary Granholm, you wrote, “Keeping Palisades open is a top priority […] Doing so will allow us to shore up Michigan’s energy supply to prevent price spikes on working families and small businesses, make Michigan more competitive for economic development projects bringing billions in investment, protect hundreds of good-paying jobs for Michiganders, and meet our climate goals.”
Dan Scripps, Chair of the Michigan Public Service Commission, is sharing the excitement for saving Palisades. He sees this as an opportunity to help preserve a reliable, affordable and cleaner electric grid. Saving Palisades aligns the global scientific consensus that there must be a greatly expanded role for nuclear if the world is to meet its energy security and climate goals with the interests of Michigan businesses and ratepayers.
Already, the most recent capacity auction for electricity generation in the next planning period in Michigan jumped 47-fold in anticipation of the retirement of Palisades and other generators. Further, prices for natural gas and electricity are at near-record highs due to a rebounding economy and maximized gas exports to Europe. Saving Palisades will reduce the strain of rising and volatile energy prices on both Michigan’s and the overall U.S. economy and help provide relief to low- and moderate-income households, which are suffering the highest cost of living and inflation in 40 years.
While we are aware that details of the Palisades sale are complex, and the hour is very late, there are no technical or safety reasons why Palisades cannot stay open. Only bureaucratic and contractual technicalities stand in the way of Palisades’ continued operation. It is our fervent hope that all players, individual and corporate, acknowledge the extent of thought, resources and action behind this effort to save Palisades, and do their civic and patriotic duty to deliver a successful resolution.
By saving Palisades, Michigan will be a leader in implementing clearly articulated recommendations by scientists, rather than responding to ideological partisan politics or allowing flawed markets to make decisions that are misaligned with and, in fact, contrary to our best interests.
Mackenzie Warwick U.S. Women in Nuclear, University of Michigan Student Chapter
Michael Schneider Climate Coalition, Michigan
Dr. Todd Allen Glenn F. and Gladys H. Knoll Department Chair of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, University of Michigan, Director of the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Project, Director of the Fastest Path to Zero Initiative, author of “Opinion: Why closing Palisades nuclear plant is like sinking the lifeboats,” published October 14, 2021 in Bridge Michigan
Dr. Frederick Buckman Adjunct Professor University of Michigan, Former CEO Consumers Power, Former Chief Nuclear Officer Consumers Power
Dr. John C. Lee Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan, currently serving on the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Used Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Issues
Dr. William R Martin Professor Emeritus of Nuclear Engineering, Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, University of Michigan, University of Michigan, Associate Editor, Nuclear Science and Engineering
Dr. James Hansen Director, Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions, Columbia University Earth Institute
Dr. Dietmar Detering Climate Coalition, Protect Nuclear NOW, Nuclear New York
Shawn Connors Climate Coalition, Michigan
Lynne Goodman Climate Coalition, Michigan
Dr. Fred Behringer Scientist, Analytical Chemistry/Plant Biology, Climate Coalition
Gary Kahanak Climate Coalition, Protect Nuclear NOW
Valerie Gardner Climate Coalition
Jonah Messinger The Breakthrough Institute
James Hopf Generation Atomic, Citizen’s Climate Lobby
We are signing on behalf of ourselves and the hundreds of other signatories to the original letter to Governor Whitmer and Michigan state officials requesting urgent state action to protect Palisades, available for viewing on the Climate Coalition’s website at: Sign the Letter to Save Palisades.
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