MSU Extension 4-H Youth Propose Wind Energy Policy

posted on May 17, 2010 10:06am


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  517-432-1555, ext. 151

Lansing – When a group of youth “stormed”  the capitol April 21, they weren’t on a typical youth field trip. Instead, the Michigan 4-H Youth Conservation Council (M4-HYCC) was invited to make recommendations to the Senate Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee concerning wind energy.

Every year, the M4-HYCC picks a conservation issue to research and talk to legislators about. This year’s wind energy topic was chosen because of the emphasis being placed on green energy in Michigan.

“During its 13 years, the Michigan 4-H Youth Conservation Council has put its fingerprints on a lot of Michigan legislation,” said Senator Patricia Burkholz (R-Saugatuck), the committee’s chair. “We really appreciate the excellent research and recommendations we receive from this group concerning Michigan’s natural resources and environmental issues.”

The focus this year was to promote the responsible development of wind energy to fulfill the requirements stated in Michigan’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The standard mandates that by 2015, 10 percent of Michigan’s energy be coming from renewable sources.

The council encouraged research of wind energy to determine potential regulations to protect Michigan’s wildlife and environment while improving the state’s economy and quality of life.
  Some highlights of the council’s recommendations include:

  • Support further research into the migration patterns of birds and bats and support legislation that protects birds and bats from wind turbines.
  • Support the increase in capacity of wind turbines in Michigan.
  • Implement a feed-in tariff for wind energy along with other laws that provide financial incentives for wind energy on the commercial and private level.
  • Support the manufacturing of wind turbines in Michigan to further our economy.
  • Support the training of wind turbine technicians in order to bring new jobs to Michigan and in order to maintain wind turbines for years to come.
  • Support new technology for offshore wind turbines to avoid excessive maintenance. 
  • Support educational resources on wind energy provided by Michigan State University Land Policy Institute and Michigan State University Extension.

“These 4-H teens from across the state are providing important leadership for conserving, protecting and enhancing Michigan’s natural resources,” said 4-H program leader Judy Ratkos. “Through their research and presentation, they acquire important life skills that will help them become future community leaders.”

Youth/volunteers from the following counties participated: central region—Genesee, Mecosta, Isabella,  Midland; west region—Barry, Kent, Eaton; southeast-metro region—Washtenaw,  Livingston, Oakland, Macomb; south region—Hillsdale, Cass, Eaton, VanBuren,  Calhoun; UP/north region—Presque Isle, Chippewa. For regional photos of participants, please e-mail your request to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

For more information on the Michigan 4-H Youth Conservation Council, visit



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