It turns out, thanks to an Ingham County Circuit Court decision last month, the Wolverine Power Co.'s permit from the state to construct a coal power plant in Rogers City was legal after all.
Could you sense our enthusiasm?
While the ruling sets legal precedent for future cases in Michigan, it means nothing for Wolverine officials at this point, who in January announced they were putting the Rogers City project on "hold" indefinitely.
The ruling does serve as a reminder, however, that sooner or later we need, as a region, to address the question of how we can juggle both job expansion and environmental protection successfully together. Where is the balancing line between the two where everyone wins, and how do we attract that kind of economic expansion in the future?
We have seen too many conflicts in the past from this question at places like Lafarge or today, in the oil and gas industry. Look at our region's history. It seems like most every successful employer in the region at one time or another also had to deal with environmental issues associated with their business.
Wolverine today is old news of what could have been. The region is moving beyond it.
However, it only is a matter of time before there will be another company like Wolverine, with a slightly different perspective, that wants to move into the region.
If we knew ahead of time where that acceptable balance might be, it could make it easier on all of us.