AT THE CAPITOL

Our biggest environment and health policy priorities for proposed laws and regulations, grounded in analysis, advocacy and coalition-building.

The COVID-19 pandemic may keep us indoors for the good of public health, but it does not keep away bills and regulatory changes that can impact our health, environmental resilience and economic growth. As a trusted mover and shaker of environmental policy, Michigan Environmental Council is using its policy expertise, strengthening its Capitol connections and working with its dozens of member groups to make our state better with lawmakers, departments, coalitions and member organizations. 

Below are the policies MEC is shaping or has recently shaped. Some we support; others we oppose. Regardless, we are seeing them through by educating, advocating and using our Capitol connections with member groups and allies. Each effort is grounded in public health and environmental justice.

Budgets

Grounding our budget in health, justice, environmental protection

Protecting people from devastating budget cuts

Conservation

Protecting 1/3 of our land and water

Energy

Removing rooftop solar restrictions

Expanding everyone's access to clean, affordable energy

Pollution

Making corporate polluters pay

Grounding state permits in public health

Protecting our drinking water from factory farm manure

Keeping mines out of communities

Recycling

Revolutionizing our recycling and composting systems

Expanding the bottle return system

Water

Installing lead water filters in all schools

Permanently ending water shutoffs 

Funding water infrastructure

Setting the nation's best drinking water standards 

Protecting our Great Lakes from a Line 5 oil spill 

Recent Wins

Kept mining away from our homes and schools

Minimized a Consumers Energy rate hike

Kept the electric vehicle market growing

Restored water shutoffs statewide

Ensured perpetual natural resources funding, access


BUDGETS

Grounding our budget in health, justice, environmental protection

FY 2021 Budget Appropriations

SUPPORTING

On Thursday, Feb. 12, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced recommendations for a $67 billion budget for Michigan. If passed, nearly $550 million will go toward initiatives at the intersection of the environment, health and justice and strengthen the health of people, their communities and the environment.

Many of Gov. Whitmer’s appropriation recommendations mirror those sent to her administration by MEC and our member group, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

Water
$290 million for community wastewater and drinking water upgrades
$55 million for lead-filtered water stations in schools
$40 for high water projects that promote climate resiliency
$15 million for dam safety
$10 million to remediate homes with lead paint
$5.2 million to fund groundwater research needed to help limit water waste

Energy & Climate Change
$15 million to weatherize low-income homes
$15 million for propane storage grants and transporting propane by rail
$8 million for electric vehicle infrastructure and fleet funding
$5 for the Green Revolving Loan Fund
$5 million for the Michigan Saves green bank
$2 million for energy efficient upgrades to fish hatcheries

Justice
$25 million for contaminated site cleanup
$25 for "mobility for all" initiatives
$12.4 million for transit and rail programs
$10 million for Superfund site cleanup
$7 million for conservation
$1.6 million to create the EGLE Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office
$175,000 for the Office of Rural Development

Our role:
Both MEC and MLCV are meeting with Legislators to encourage them to approve the budget appropriations in their respective committees. Many appropriations were posed by MLCV and MEC to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her administration. 

Status: 
The appropriations are in numerous Senate committees, where they will either be approved, revised or disapproved.

More resources:

  • For a PDF of the packet and perspectives from two MEC program directors, read our release

Protecting people from devastating budget cuts

75% cuts to pollution protection, parks, lead removal

OPPOSING

In April, Michigan House Republicans set forth budgets that, if approved, would send our state into a tailspin of instability, threatening the lives and livelihoods of Michiganders in every political district.

If made law, the Departments of Natural Resources and Environment, Great Lakes and Energy would only be able to function about 12 weeks at a time on budgets 25% of what they are now.

Lawmakers would have to approve each department’s budget repeatedly, and the departments would have no guarantee their budgets would remain the same size or fund the programs and staff they had active.

The legislation renders the departments unable to provide services residents expect and depend on for their health, safety and joy. Parks would struggle to stay open, staffed and maintained. Contaminated sites would continue to pollute the air, ground and drinking water. Bipartisan efforts that depend on state funding – like lead poisoning prevention – would never be realized.

Why? State departments can only take on work that fits their budgets, and budgets on life support cannot keep Michigan healthy and running.

Our role:
MEC is actively educating and advocating for these bills' demise with member groups and allies while concurrently educating and advocating for Gov. Whitmer's Earth- and public health-friendly budget proposal. 

Bill info: 
House Bill 4395 was introduced by Rep. Sue Allor (R-Wolverine).
House Bill 4397 was introduced by Rep. Annette Glenn (R-Midland).

Status:
The bills passed the Michigan Senate along party lines, 20-16, on May 19, 2021. They had previously passed the House 58-49 and and 56-51 respectively. The package now heads to Gov. Whitmer's desk for a likely veto.

More resources:


CONSERVATION


Protecting 1/3 of our land & water

30 by 30 Resolution

SUPPORTING

This resolution would urge Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to establish a statewide goal of conserving 30% of our land and 30% of our water by 2030 through Michigan's land management laws. 

The 30 by 30 model is a national movement, proposed by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland as a Congresswoman and adopted by President Joe Biden. Its application is supported by Republicans and Democrats alike for good reason. As Michigan works to become carbon neutral by 2050, the 30 by 30 plan can ensure the natural places we are working to protect from devastation not only exist, but thrive. What is more, conserved land across our varied, beautiful state makes our water and air cleaner and gives everyone more opportunities to connect with nature.

Our role:
MEC member group Michigan League of Conservation Voters has been instrumental in this resolution, and MEC is proud to support it.

Bill info:
House Resolution 25 was introduced by Rep. Sarah Lightner (R, Springport).
It has bipartisan support from seven cosponsors. 

Status:
This resolution was introduced Feb. 3, 2021 and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation.

More resources:


ENERGY


Removing rooftop solar restrictions

Powering Michigan Forward Bill

SUPPORTING

This bill lifts the cap on the number of everyday Michigan residents that can send their excess renewable energy to the grid for profit. So, for example, someone that installs solar panels on their property can send energy they generate but do not use to the greater electric grid, and the utility companies servicing that area will compensate them for it. Prior, utility companies set a cap on the number of participants who could participate, usually 1 or 2% of the total energy generated by that company.

This bill package is a win-win-win. It allows utilities to better reach statewide renewable energy goals; it gives Michigan clean energy to mitigate climate change; and it gives more money to people who have made an investment in the environment. Residents could live healthier and wealthier.

Our role:
MEC has taken a lead role in seeing this bill through by educating, advocating and connecting with Capitol leadership. 

Bill info:
House Bill 4236 was introduced by Rep. Gregory Markkanen (R, Hancock) on Feb. 12, 2021.
It has bipartisan support from 12 cosponsors. 

Status:
The bill has stalled in the House Energy Committee despite Rep. Markkanen and bill co-sponsors sitting on the Committee. 

More resources:


Expanding everyone's access to affordable, clean energy

Community solar legislation

SUPPORTING

Community solar allows people and small businesses to receive their energy from solar panels outside their home or property. They can get a solar "subscription" at a price that works for them, receive solar energy and save money on their utility bills because of it.

Think of community solar as a better version of rooftop solar. You gain energy independence, help protect our air and climate, help support solar jobs, and save money on your utility bills. But, unlike rooftop solar, you don't need to own the roof over your head or install something atop it.

Plus, it's a just practice. It allows folks of all income brackets and living situations to save money and protect the environment.

Unfortunately, Michigan law makes community solar illegal. Fortunately, a bipartisan bill package would change that, and we're here to see it through.

Our role: 
MEC is part of a baker's dozen groups making up the Michigan Community Solar Alliance, which launched in May 2021. Together, we're educating and advocating in the name of the environment, health and justice for the passage of bills that would make community solar legal.

Bill info:
House Bill 4715 was introduced by Rep. Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids).
House Bill 4716 was introduced by Rep. Michele Hoitenga (R-Manton).

Status: 
The bill package was referred to the House Energy Committee on April 27, 2021.

More resources: 

  • Listen to Rep. Hood and MEC President & CEO Conan Smith speak about community solar here.
  • Learn more about the Michigan Community Solar Alliance here

POLLUTION


Making corporate polluters pay

Corporate polluter pay bill

SUPPORTING

From 1990 to 1995, Michigan had the strongest "polluter pay" law in the country. If the owner of a property, usually a corporation or large business, polluted, they had to pay for remediation. That law was repealed by Gov. John Engler. Now, corporate landowners only need to pay to contain the land and water pollution within their property. That allows more than 3,000 sites to decrease property values, contribute to blight and allow pollutants to spread underground, contaminating drinking water and vaporizing into basements. 

A bill in the Michigan House would hold corporate polluters accountable again, and nearly 50% of Representatives are sponsoring it. It is time to serve justice to our communities, protect our environment and stop taxpayers from footing the cleanup bills. 

Our role:
MEC and member groups are supporting this bill through education, advocacy and Capitol connections. 

Bill info: 
House Bill 4314 was introduced by Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D, Ann Arbor).
It has 49 cosponsors.

Status:
The bill was introduced and referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation on Feb. 23, 2021. 

More resources:

  • For our statement on the bill's benefits, read our statement here.
  • For the scope of contaminated sites needing cleanup, read this Detroit Free Press article

Grounding state permits in public health

Polluter permit reforms

SUPPORTING

A permit gives a person or entity the go-ahead to build, renovate or expand a facility on a certain structure. People need permits to build homes. So, too, would a car wash or restaurant. But so could a notorious polluter, like an incinerator or hazardous waste site.

These dangerous facilities are often in communities where a lot of notorious polluters already exist. The people living or working in these areas suffer greatly from disease, sickness and stunted growth because of all the collective pollution they inhale and ingest. These communities are often majority low income, Black or Brown. 

A pair of bills in the Michigan Legislature would transform the way the state hands out permits to our worst polluters in our most overburdened communities. They would make our permit system protect public health and serve justice.

First, these bills would require a public hearing before any decisions are considered in a permitting process. Forty-five days at minimum would be spent reviewing and considering the public's comments. This ensures impacted people are truly part of decision making from the start.

Second, these bills would require the state to consider existing sources of pollution in an overburdened community when making a permitting decision. Why? A scrap metal center seeking to set up shop may produce a lot of pollution as it is. But combine all the other sources of pollution in a community and the effect could be truly detrimental.

Third, these bills would require the state to deny new construction if it makes an overburdened communities' health worse, and it would require the state to impose proper sanctions if expansions or renovations have a similar effect. 

Our role:
MEC is actively educating and advocating for these bills' passage. 

Bill info:
House Bill 4777 was introduced by Rep. Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck).
Senate Bill 439 was introduced by Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit).

Status: 
Rep. Aiyash's bill was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation on May 4, 2021. Sen. Chang's bill was introduced to the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on May 12, 2021. 

More resources:

  • Listen to Rep. Aiyash and MEC President & CEO Conan Smith discuss his bill here

Keeping manure out of our water

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Contested Case

INTERVENING

About 270 factory farms -- called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs -- exist around Michigan. The massive amounts of manure they produce, sell and dispose of can end up polluting our ground and surface water, destroying ecosystems, catalyzing algal blooms and threatening sickness on people and pets who drink and play in impacted water.

When the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) adopted its newest five-year rules to protect manure from entering our waterways, MEC and our allies were ambivalent. The rules created more transparency and reporting requirements, but they left loopholes open that factory farms could take advantage of.

Then, Michigan's Farm Bureau and a number of CAFOs filed a lawsuit against the rules. While MEC and allies would have preferred better rules, eliminating them would be devastating for the health of states around the Great Lakes and their people. We are working to win this case and prove why these rules are so important.

Our role:
MEC is legally intervening to protect pollution protection laws with other pro-farm, pro-sustainability allies. 

Contested case info:
Information on CAFOs and its general permit can be found on EGLE's website.

Status:
All interveners, such as MEC and contesters, such as the Michigan Farm Bureau, are currently taking part in the case.

More resources:

  • For MEC's case for intervening with allies, click here.
  • For MEC's stance on the revised CAFO permit, click here.

Keeping mines out of communities

Aggregate Mining Bill Package

OPPOSING

Aggregate mining extracts materials like gravel and sand, mixes it with water or cement, and ships it out. The result: large dust particles that put the heart and lungs of people nearby at risk. What's more, mining can devastate an ecosystem.

To protect people and places from harm, the location of mines must be carefully determined by the communities it may impact. Local people know local issues and solutions best.

A bill package in the Michigan Legislature would do otherwise. It strips communities' abilities to make decisions on mines and gives them to the state. But the bills provide no solid regulatory structure, making public health prone to mining businesses getting their way.

These bills have seen many iterations over the years and have always failed to become law. Republicans and Democrats alike know how harmful gravel mines can be and how good local residents are at knowing what's best for their communities.

Our role:
MEC is actively educating and advocating against the bill package with an 11-organization coalition, representing environmental, local government and school groups.

Bill info:
Senate Bills 429, 430 and 431 were introduced by Sen. Jim Ananich (D-Flint)

Status: 
On June 2, Senate Bill 429 passed the Michigan Senate 19-17 and Senate Bills 430 and 431 passed 20-16. The bills are now in the House.

More resources:

  • Read and share coverage by the Detroit News here.
  • Read local government groups' take on the bills here

RECYCLING


Revolutionizing our recycling and composting systems

Solid Waste Law Rewrite

SUPPORTING

When solid waste laws were written in the 1990s, they made obtaining landfill space easier at a time when it was scarce. Now, with plenty of landfill capacity available because of those laws, this bill package levels the playing field for businesses that give value to what was once thought as waste.

Compost sites, material recovery facilities, recycling centers and new and emerging technologies would be legally legitimized, given guidance for operation and resources. The package would also guide the creation of strong county materials management plans; create a stronger post-closure plan for landfills; and protect taxpayers from paying for contaminated site remediation.

If passed, this upcoming bill package, five years in the making, could revolutionize how we dispose of materials. It could triple recycling rates, keep our environment clean and create a more resilient materials management market and workforce. It is a win-win-win.

Our role:
This bill package is grounded in recommendations made by the state’s Solid Waste and Sustainability Advisory Panel, which MEC was part of from its inception. In 2018, we worked with MEC member organization Michigan Recycling Coalition and others to secure the state funding for the change. Since then, both MEC and MRC have led the charge to see these policies through with education, advocacy and Capitol connections.

Bill info: 
House Bill 4454 was introduced by Rep. Gary Howell (R, North Branch) on March 9, 2021.
House Bill 4455 was introduced by Rep. Sara Cambensy (D, Marquette) on March 9, 2021.
House Bill 4456 was introduced by Rep. William Sowerby (D, Clinton Township) on March 9, 2021.
House Bill 4457 was introduced by Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D, Ann Arbor) on March 9, 2021.
House Bill 4458 was introduced by Rep. Jack O'Malley (R, Lake Ann) on March 9, 2021. 
House Bill 4459 was introduced by Rep. Dave Martin (R, Davison) on March 9, 2021.
House Bill 4460 was introduced by Rep. Scott VanSingel (R, Grant) on March 9, 2021.
House Bill 4461 was introduced by Rep. Joe Tate (D, Detroit) on March 9, 2021.
Each bill had bipartisan support from the same group of 24 cosponsors. 

Status:
This bill package passed the House floor on April 22, 2021. Votes ranged from 78 to 87 'yea' votes and 16 to 26 'no' votes. It has advanced to the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee. 

More resources:


Expanding the bottle return system

Bottle Bill Rewrite

SUPPORTING

Deposit any can or bottle; get a 10-cent return. That's what this bill package offers. Yep, even plastic water bottles and juices are included.

Michiganders already boast a 90% bottle and can return rate and a 90% approval rating of our bottle return system. This bill, a rewrite of a 45-year-old law, would expand that success, keeping more recyclable products out of landfills, nature and neighborhoods and into the hands of our burgeoning recycling industry. Our bottle deposit system has a clean, efficient stream that's great for our recycling industry and companies looking to use recycled products.

What's more, these bills would allow bottles and cans not returned by residents to be returned by the state. Seventy-five percent of that return would fund contaminated site cleanups, while 25% would be sent back to Michigan retailers. Local governments and recycling centers would also receive funding for recycling and cleanup programs. And with an expanded cache of bottles and cans, more funding will go toward these efforts than ever before.

These bills are more than recycling bills. They will keep our state clean and will decontaminate long-polluted sites in our hometowns and vacation spots.

Our role:
MEC and Michigan Recycling Coalition are continuing their multiyear support of this policy through education, advocacy and Capitol connections, joining our legislative supporters.

Bill info: 
Senate Bill 167 was introduced by Sen. Sean McCann (D, Kalamazoo) on Feb. 24, 2021.
House Bill 4331 was introduced by Rep. Christine Morse (D, Portage) on Feb. 24, 2021.

Status:
This bill package was referred to the Committee on Regulatory Reform on Feb. 24, 2021. 

More resources:

  • For MEC's and Michigan Recycling Coalition's stance on good bottle return policy, read our Bridge Magazine op-ed.

WATER


Installing lead water filters in all schools

Filter First Bill Package

SUPPORTING

This bipartisan bill package would install water fountains and taps capable of filtering out lead in all public schools and in some day care centers. All schools would develop a drinking water safety plan with EGLE's guidance, which would outline the location and maintenance of drinking stations and guidelines if contaminants are found.

EGLE would also provide additional funding for additional needs, such as replacement filters, to daycares and schools that serve low-income communities.

Lead poisoning damages a child’s development which can make it difficult to succeed in school and beyond. This bill package mitigates the issue at a cost much lower than testing all pipes first for lead. A few months of planning and financial support could positively impact generations of Michigan’s youth.

Our role:
MEC is a co-leader of the Filter First coalition, made up of health, education and environmental groups and experts. It is a prime influencer of the bill and its accompanying budget appropriation.

Bill info:
Senate Bill 184 was introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R, Ludington) on Feb. 25, 2021.
Senate Bill 185 was introduced by Sen. Jim Ananich (D, Flint) on Feb. 25, 2021.
The bill package has the bipartisan support of nine Senators.

Status:
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appropriated $55 million for a Filter First strategy in her proposed 2021 budget. The bill package was referred to the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality on Feb. 25, 2021.

More resources:


Permanently ending water shutoffs

Water Shutoff Restoration Act

SUPPORTING

Last December, we celebrated with Sen. Stephanie Chang and other drinking water and justice advocates. Sen. Chang's bill to place a moratorium on water shutoffs passed the Legislature and was signed by the governor, the result of months of work. It codified a previous moratorium by Gov. Whitmer that was wiped off the slate when her executive powers were limited. 

Some 317,000 households are known to be behind on bill payments. Thousands more are likely struggling to pay on time. A moratorium is especially important during a pandemic, when making ends meet is tough and when washing hands can keep COVID-19 at bay.

Sen. Chang's new bill would go a step further than a moratorium; it would end the act of shutting off water due to nonpayment entirely. Further, it requires water utility suppliers to better track homes whose water is shut off so everyone's water can be restored.

Bill info:
Senate Bill 271 was introduced by Sen. Stephanie Chang (D, Detroit).

Status:
The bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality March 24, 2021.

More resources:


Funding water infrastructure

The Michigan Clean Water Plan

SUPPORTING

In 2002, voters approved some $1 billion to be spent on updating our water infrastructure, a crucial key to making all Michigan water clean and accessible.

Now, in 2021, $290 million in grants for sewer, wastewater, storm water, and septic system upgrades is all that remains. But our current funding structure makes it difficult for local governments to apply and receive these grants. Meanwhile, sewer overflows, septic failures and dirty storm water runoff continue to pollute our waters and force governments to spend money to repair the damage they cause.

Two bipartisan bills would reallocate the $290 million so local governments can easily tap into it, and we've joined a group of nonprofits advocating for these bills' passage. That $290 million must be spent, and it should be done in a way that will protect as many Michiganders as possible from dirty drinking water and cleanup costs.

Bill info: 
Senate Bill 319 was introduced by Sen. Rick Outman (R-Six Lakes).
Senate Bill 320 was introduced by Sen. Paul Wojno (D-Warren).
The bills package has bipartisan support from eight cosponsors. 

Status:
The bills were sent to the Senate floor after passing out of committee with a 6-0-1 vote.


Setting the nation's best drinking water standards

'No stricter than federal' repeal bill

SUPPORTING

If a state wants to make its drinking water the cleanest and healthiest it can be, it should be able to do so. A 2018 law sponsored by former Rep. Triston Cole says otherwise. It makes Michigan follow federal guidelines for some drinking water standards. This can keep state-specific science out and blanket national data in, which can make it tough to cater to Michigan's water pollutant threats. 

Repealing the lame duck "no stricter than federal" bill allows Michigan to put taxpayer dollars to their best use and cater to its residents' needs by setting strong standards for water quality.

Our role:
MEC and member groups are supporting this bill through education, advocacy and Capitol connections. 

Bill info:
Senate Bill 147 was introduced by Sen. Sean McCann (D, Kalamazoo).
It has 14 cosponsors.

Status:
The bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on Oversight on Feb. 18, 2021. 

More resources:

  • For perspectives from Sen. McCann and MEC member group Michigan League of Conservation Voters, read this statement

Halting a Great Lakes oil spill

Line 5 Pipeline Contested Case

INTERVENING

On Nov. 13, 2020, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made a historic, potentially revolutionary move. She set a death date for an oil pipeline on the grounds that it put the Great Lakes environment and its people in harm's way.

Gov. Whitmer's decision was what thousands of people and organizations had spent years advocating for. Enbridge's 67-year-old Line 5 dual pipeline has been a point of contention for years. Part of the it cuts across the Straits of Mackinac on its way from one part of Canada to another; the Straits are among Michigan's most vulnerable ecologies. 

Our role:
MEC, National Wildlife Federation and Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council are intervening on behalf of millions of Americans, Canadians and the water that they drink from and play in to ensure Line 5 is removed from our most valuable, spiritual resource.

Line 5 has already spilled 33 times as it pumps 23 million gallons of oil along. We cannot have a 34th.

Contested case info:
Information on Line 5's case can be found on the MPSC's website

Status:
The MPSC requested a second administrative law judge Dec. 9 opinion following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's court filing to shut down Line 5.

More resources:


RECENT WINS


Kept our air particle-free

Aggregate Mining Bill

BLOCKED

This bill would have eliminated zoning authority and oversight capability from local governments when it came to mining permits. Unrestricted gravel and sand mining operations would have occurred across the state, so long as the company doing the mining proved they could make a return of investment.

If passed, this bill would have stripped local governments of their ability to protect their constituents. Then, mining would have occurred near residential neighborhoods, schools, businesses and hospitals, potentially placing people next to harmful air and noise pollution. Now, people will remain safe from the particle pollution and trust in our public leaders' decision making will remain.

Our role:
MEC joined Senators and environmental and civic organizations to successfully block the bill from a vote.

Bill info:
Senate Bill 431 was introduced by Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit)

Status:
The bill passed the Committee on Transportation 6-1-2 but died on the Senate floor.

More resources:


Held electric utilities accountable

Consumers Energy Rate Case

INTERVENED 

MEC has intervened through the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) on behalf of the public for more than 20 years. In that time, we and our allies have advocated for reduced residential utility rates, transitions to cleaner energy and more reliable utility infrastructure. 

In Consumers' latest rate case, MEC worked to keep residential rates as low as possible and grid reliability as high as possible as the utility. The MPSC approved a $100 million rate hike, $180 million less than Consumers originally sought.

Still, residential customers will pay $9.18 more a month on average for less-than-optimal grid improvements. That is especially egregious given that the pandemic keeps many unemployed, underemployed and at home more than ever, using electricity. About 18% of Consumers Energy customers live below the federal poverty level, and 99% pay more than double the standard of affordability used by regulatory bodies around the country. 

Our role:
MEC was a legal intervenor in this case. We made sure Consumers Energy was charging its customers equitably and was properly investing in good grid improvements and clean energy transitions.

Rate case info:
Consumers Energy Rate Case U-20697 and all corresponding public documents have been uploaded on the MPSC's website

Status: 
The MPSC made its ruling Dec. 17, 2020. The rate hike goes into effect Jan. 1, 2021.

More resources: 

  • For our statement with Natural Resources Defense Council on the ruling and rundown of what it means, click here. 

Empowered our electric vehicle industry

Dealerships-Only Bill

BLOCKED

This pro-business-cartel bill prohibited vehicle manufacturers from selling their vehicles directly to consumers. These manufacturers would have been unable to service their vehicles in Michigan and conduct test rides.

If passed, the bill would have put the brakes on our burgeoning electric vehicle market by forcing startups into a dealership model of service. The model does not suit electric vehicle companies, which produce less vehicles by volume than traditional vehicle companies and need far less maintenance. 

The electric vehicle industry keeps our air clean; has a burgeoning, resilient workforce; and can keep Michigan as an innovative leader for transportation.

Our role:
MEC educated lawmakers on the benefits of this bill and placed public pressure with other environmental organizations, electric vehicle companies and clean energy organizations.

Bill info:
House Bill 6233 was introduced by Rep. Jason Sheppard (R-Temperance)

Status:
Passed through the House 65-39 on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, but it failed to be taken up on the Senate floor. 

More resources:

For more on why and how MEC fought the bill, read our release


Restored water shutoffs

Water Shutoff Moratorium Bill

PASSED

This bill would codify Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's emergency order placing a moratorium on all residential water shutoffs through March 2021. Gov. Whitmer's order was ruled unconstitutional by the Michigan Supreme Court in late October.

Some 317,000 households are known to be behind on bill payments. Thousands more are likely struggling to pay on time. A moratorium is especially important during a pandemic, when making ends meet is tough and when washing hands and bathing can keep COVID-19 at bay.

Our role:
MEC was part of a coalition of 20 environmental, civil, community and justice organizations advocating for the moratorium. 

Bill info:
Senate Bill 241 was introduced by Sen. Stephanie Chang (D, Detroit)

Status:
Gov. Whitmer signed the bill on Dec. 22, 2020 after it passed the Senate 30-8 and the House 96-9. 

More resources:


Ensured natural resources funding, access

Proposal 1: Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund amendment

PASSED

This Constitutional amendment approved by the vast majority of Michiganders will ensure that our land and water continue to be protected, and people are connected to them, in perpetuity. 

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund was enshrined in our Constitution in the 1970s. It takes royalties and fees from fossil fuel companies and uses them to provide grants for land purchases or land improvements. Millions of dollars are given to local organizations and governments (and a few state park projects) to protect and expand the preserves, trails, neighborhood parks, beaches and other public amenities we love.

The amendment voters approved in November 2020 makes two monumental changes. First, it ensures that the Trust Fund has no cap, meaning that fossil fuel royalties and fees, and investments made off them, will always go toward conservation and recreation. Second, it changes the formula the Trust Fund's board uses to better promote both the purchase of land and the betterment of land we already have. That will make our natural places more accessible in places rural and urban, whether through wheelchair-accessible amenities, bathrooms, kayak launches or natural wildlife plantings. 

Our role:
MEC spearheaded the campaign behind Proposal 1 with The Nature Conservancy through our 501(c)4, the Sustainable Michigan Fund. 

Amendment info:
Read communications specialist Beau Brockett's Prop 1 explainer in the Albion Pleiad here.

Status:
Proposal 1 passed with 84.3% of the vote in November 2020.