There’s Crazy – Then There Is Traverse City Michigan crazy.
Once upon a time, Traverse City owned TCL&P (Traverse City Light & Power) produced electricity. (see picture at right) We had coal docks, a steam producing boiler, and turbines that were able to produce all of what was needed for Traverse City, and some surrounding area power needs.
In the early eighties, TCL&P, contracted with the county to operate power generation from three dams that were deeded to Grand Traverse County a decade before by Consumers Power. It cost them nothing. In the 90s, TCL&P erected the region’s first windmill, while at the same time reducing output and planning complete decommission of its coal fired facility which (by the way) was located on the valuable public waterfront.
Stories were plentiful about how the city was conscious of the environment, had to do their part, and how some folks would sign up for that ‘expensive’ energy which cost only 3 or four times the current rate. There were TCL&P customers who voluntarily paid for ‘green’ energy that came down the same transmission lines, even though it was the same electricity as the guy was getting next door for less.
I suppose a byline in the local fish wrap was worth it?
Grand Traverse County residents have for the most part, been kept in the dark about the truth surrounding Dams removal.
There have been stories covering the removal process, and no doubt most folks are familiar with the mistakes made during the removal process, but what is the back story behind the entire affair that needs to be told? Who did what, and why is it being done?
However, the as-demonstrated limited attention span of most of the electorate who read this must confine it to some previously unpublished facts. Take it for what you will.
In September and October of 2008, a survey was taken to quickly gauge public knowledge/concern/interest in dam condition/repair/options. The executive summary noted that it was as much informal, as looking for opinion:
“The Public Opinion Survey developed and administered through this project was not designed as a referendum or a statistically valid sample of public opinion. Rather, the Survey and associated Informational Booklet were intended to inform and engage the general population while offering another opportunity for public participation. The Surveys were distributed as broadly as feasible given time and funding limitations between September 23 and October 10, 2008.”
Of course, the “public participation” is quite limited when removal meetings are held mid afternoon, on weekdays when many who might otherwise be engaged, are busy working.