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Cloverland Electric Co-Op Hopeful for Positive Impact Following Presidential Exec. Order

"We might not think decisions like this impact us," Lake Superior State University dean of business and engineering Dr. David Finley said, "but it’s a very interconnected global environment."

President Trump’s executive order to roll back of the Clean Power Plant initiative could affect the Upper Peninsula.

Future power problems in the Western U.P.  have had Cloverland Electric Co-Op concerned about the region’s energy future.

The controversy dates back to 2013 when there was talk of WEC Energy Group selling the Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette after losing a big mine account.

Cloverland Customers were going to have to help foot the bill to keep Western U.P. power on.

Now, WEC and Cliff’s Natural Resources have come to an agreement to build new natural gas plants and close the coal-fired Presque Isle plant by 2020.

9 & 10’s Blayke Roznowski and photojournalist Noah Jurik have more details on how the president’s executive order could change the situation again.

Cloverland Electric Co-Op says that President Trump’s executive order does not set anything in stone, but it has them hopeful for how they can plan for the future.

"The previous administration was looking at closing the coal plants, so Presque Isle was sitting there and they’re like, ‘close it down. We don’t want it,’ and that’s a problem for us," Cloverland Electric Co-Op CEO and president Dan Dasho said.

If the Presque Isle Power Plant closes in 2020, it will still have $160 million in stranded costs.

"It’s like having to get rid of your car after two years. You haven’t finished paying it off and at the same time it still has value," Dasho said.

 With $270 million natural gas plant plans also in place, it could be huge amounts of money their members might have to help pay.

They’re hoping this executive order might change that.

"We were very concerned before that Presque Isle had to close and everybody was talking that way, but with these new rules coming into place we’re thinking that there’s going to be additional time," Dasho said. 

The dean of business and engineering at Lake Superior State University says the environmental aspect is still a concern.

"I know the concern of global warming, right, and what we’ve tried to do as a country to pull back on emissions," Dr. Finley said. "This will mean a move in the other direction potentially." 

But Dr. Finley says even with a more coal-friendly stance, power companies may still want to eventually go green.

"Those with coal-fired power plants will stick with those plants. Coal will be relatively inexpensive to purchase and utilize," Dr. Finley said. "Those looking to the future will likely push toward new technology."

Cloverland says they will be closely watching the progress of this executive order.