Environment Picture

Bell ringers! Environmental successes won in recent weeks

Lansing became the 100th U.S. city, and the first in Michigan, to adopt Complete Streets rules that require planners to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists in building and improving transportation infrastructure. The City Council adopted the plan this summer. Flint followed with a non-binding resolution expressing support for the Complete Streets strategy. The measures will help establish vibrant, healthy downtowns where alternatives to motor vehicles are encouraged.

Our wetlands, still
For the next three years, Michigan will keep one of its most valuable Great Lakes protection responsibilities—state control of wetlands regulations—under a bipartisan deal worked out with state legislators and myriad interests. Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council was key in negotiating the pact, with MEC playing a supporting role. Gov. Granholm had proposed sending the program to the federal government to save money.

Coal: Not necessary
The staff of the Michigan Public Service Commission concluded in September that no new coal plants are needed to meet the state’s energy needs for more than a decade. The report gives impetus to a clean energy strategy pursued by Gov. Granholm and adopted by the state legislature last year. That strategy boosts renewable energy production and energy efficiency as the primary means to meet Michigan’s energy needs.

Under one roof
The state’s departments of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources would be recombined under a plan launched by Gov. Granholm this fall. The Michigan Environmental Council supports the combination, but cautiously. It makes sense to have all the state’s environmental experts working under the same roof. But it still takes two grossly underfunded agencies and creates one bigger, grossly underfunded agency.
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