LANSING — The public input process announced in Gov. Rick Snyder’s Special Message on Energy and the Environment kicks off today with the launch of a new Web site and the schedule for seven public forums around the state.

The public forums will be hosted by Michigan Public Service Commission Chairman John D. Quackenbush and Michigan Energy Office Director Steve Bakkal, whom the governor charged with co-chairing and overseeing the public input process.

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The information gathered will assist public policymakers and the public as they take a comprehensive look at Michigan’s energy future.

As he discussed in the State of the State address last week, Gov. Snyder will rely on the results of this process when making his comprehensive recommendations regarding Michigan’s energy future in December.

The seven Michigan Energy Public Forums will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the following dates at the locations listed:

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Lansing: Thursday, Feb. 14, Library of Michigan, 702 W. Kalamazoo St., Lansing.
Grand Rapids: Monday, Feb. 25, Grand Valley State University, Loosemoore Auditorium, 401 Fulton St. West, Grand Rapids.
University Center (Midland-Bay City-Saginaw Tri-Cities area): Monday, March 4, Delta College, Lecture Theater, 1961 Delta Road, University Center.
Kalamazoo: Monday, March 18, Western Michigan University, Fetzer Center, Kirsch Auditorium, 2350 Business Court, Kalamazoo
Detroit: Monday, March 25, NextEnergy, 461 Burroughs St., Detroit
Marquette: Friday, April 12, Northern Michigan University, Don H. Bottum University Center, Brule & Cadillac Conference Rooms, 1401 Presque Isle, Marquette
Traverse City: Monday, April 22, Northwestern Michigan College, Hagerty Conference Center, 715 E. Front St.. Traverse City

The agenda for each event and speakers will be provided approximately two weeks before each session. There will be time reserved for interested members of the public to speak at the forums as well.

On Friday, Jan. 25, a new Web site to facilitate public input also began accepting comments., which will remain open to comments until April 25, will be a key tool in data gathering.

To assist the policymakers who will be making decisions, commenters are encouraged to submit their factual questions, information, reports, and suggestions on what information is needed to make good energy decisions.

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To help guide the participation process, co-chairs Quackenbush and Bakkal have developed a series of questions on the website that asks for specific information. All comments will be made available to the public for review and response. There will be specific questions in the area of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and the regulatory structure for electricity, as well as other energy topics. To keep the focus on verifiable facts, commenters are asked to refrain from advocating or recommending a particular policy.