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The Detroit Free Press: Groups debate Michigan's energy policy

The Detroit Free Press

Washington, DC, October 19, 2015 | Frank Witsil

Groups representing various sectors of the economy, government and environmentalists debated the future of Michigan's energy policy and what it could mean for business -- and residents.

"As I see it, Michigan is at a critical juncture for its energy future," said Ariana Gonzalez, an energy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

The discussions -- which were sponsored by Environmental Entrepreneurs, a national nonpartisan group of business leaders and with about three dozen people -- focused on how energy policy can improve the environment and the economy, as groups with various perspectives sought common ground.

The discussions were held at the Detroit headquarters of NextEnergy is a nonprofit that studies and promotes advanced energy technology.

Gonzalez -- along with the speakers from the state energy office, DTE Energy, Whirlpool and other groups -- discussed their visions for where the state should go with its energy policy, the regulatory questions that are being talked about and debated, and what companies are doing to seize opportunities in new technology and clean energy.

"Cleaning up the environment is also good for the economy," U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn said. "It is creating jobs, and it is the direction we all have to go."

She talked about how societal attitudes toward the environmental have changed since the 60s, when her husband John Dingell, was representing the state.

"You are the future," she said. "You're learning how we can insure that we're building and manufacturing in healthy ways that protects the environment and protects this generation for years to come."

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