A new task force that aims to address energy challenges in the Upper Peninsula will be led by a Livingston County resident.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has appointed 19 Michigan residents to the UP Energy Task Force, 12 of whom are from the Upper Peninsula, with a range of expertise in the energy field. Director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy Liesl Eichler Clark of Howell was among the appointments. Clark will serve as chairperson of the task force, which will look for alternative, long-term solutions to rein in UP energy rates in regions facing the highest costs and identify alternatives to meeting the UP’s current propane-supply needs. Whitmer says she’s committed to ensuring UP residents have an energy supply that is affordable, secure, and environmentally sound. She says task force members have a wide variety of knowledge and perspectives and will make recommendations to ensure the UP has a reliable propane supply and to identify solutions for lowering costs.

The appointments are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate and the task force will complete a final report in two stages. The task force must first submit a propane plan to the governor by March 31st, 2020. The remainder of the report will be submitted by March 31st, 2021 and the task force will dissolve 90-days after issuance of the final report. (JM)