Michigan Environmental Report
Michigan moved closer to ending lead poisoning today when state lawmakers passed legislation to expand testing.
Senate Bill 31, sponsored by Sen. John Cherry (D-Flint), and House Bill 4200, sponsored by Rep. Helena Scott (D-Detroit) would incorporate two lead tests into the checkup routines of all Michigan children. If lead is detected, children would be treated accordingly and tested more often.
In a rare midyear address to the state on Aug. 30, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer set a new standard for Michigan: making major climate investments a priority.
Days after millions of Michiganders suffered from extreme thunderstorms and tornadoes, Gov. Whitmer called upon lawmakers to pass four landmark pieces of climate change legislation. She called for the state's utilities to run on 100% renewable energy and to reform where that energy's infrastructure could be built. She also called for utility company reforms, asking lawmakers to increase energy efficiency requirements and to give the Michigan Public Service Commission more power to hold investor-owned utilities accountable for climate resiliency and equity in their planning.
Michigan is home to some of the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the country, and many of the people that live here feel an almost reverential connection to their natural environment. As a result, our state is home to hundreds of environment and conservation organizations that invigorate and mobilize tens of thousands of volunteers annually to clean up trash, combat invasive species, monitor water quality, and more.
Many of these groups could be collaborating to decrease workload and compound their impact but aren’t because they simply don’t have the relationships or capacity to do so. The Stewardship Network exists to lessen these barriers to effective stewardship and to connect the people who are fighting to protect land and water in their local communities.
On May 18, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) of Southeast Michigan announced the departure of board chair Paul Hillegonds, a longtime environmental ally, as he closed out his term.
Today, the RTA works across four counties to provide interconnected transit services that bridge urban and suburban communities. The opportunities to enhance those services are abundant and exciting. But not so long ago, this was not the case.
What’s in a name?
One of the more noticeable impacts of the racial justice protests in the summer of 2020 was the wave of statue removals and name changes. The bulk of the name changes were directed at eponyms of slave owners and Confederate leaders. Across the country, communities set about stripping streets, buildings, and sports teams of racially and culturally insensitive titles.
The environmental community was certainly not absolved of this reckoning. The Sierra Club publicly confronted racist views held by its famed founder, John Muir. And another iconic American conservation organization found themselves under pressure from members and local chapters to address the problematic history of its namesake: John James Audubon.
On Thursday, May 18, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) of Southeast Michigan announced the departure of board chair Paul Hillegonds, a longtime environmental ally, as he closes out his term.
Formation of the RTA had been a longtime environmental priority by the time Hillegonds assumed the role of Speaker of the Michigan House (R-Allegan) in the mid 1990s. The Legislature tried and failed more than 20 times to adopt legislation enabling the regional authority. Hillegonds’ legislative career would end without a victory, but it would stay a priority for him, and when regional and state leaders finally agreed on a structure in 2012, Hillegonds was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to be its chair.
Lloyd's hair stopped growing. Then it began to fall out. Dirt-like spots appeared on his feet. He was five then, learning to read and paint and make friends.
So Lloyd's grandma, TaNiccia Henry, took Lloyd to the doctor and requested a lead test. With the prick of a finger, she found out Lloyd had lead levels seven times over what's legally safe. Although, as Henry and health professionals will tell you, no amount really is.
Over half a million Michigan students who depend on buses as primary school transportation could soon have cleaner, safer rides with electric school buses.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer included $150 million in her fiscal year 2024 budget for the transition to electric school buses, and last week the school aid subcommittees of the Michigan Legislature released promising budgets in support of this important funding. In the House budget, the full $150 million was appropriated, and in the Senate, $75 million.