Michigan Environmental Report
Today Great Lakes governors released a Great Lakes 2020 platform in advance of the Democratic presidential debates scheduled for July 30 and 31 in Detroit. The platform shows that Great Lakes restoration investments are demonstrating results, but serious threats to public health and water quality remain, including underfunded water infrastructure, invasive species, runoff pollution and PFAS contamination.
Leaders of Midwestern environmental councils -- representing hundreds of nonprofit environmental, health, and conservation groups -- urged candidates to outline how they would address these environmental issues facing the region, and issued the following statements.
Today the City of Detroit released their first sustainability strategy, the Sustainability Action Agenda (SAA), developed through City leadership and extensive community engagement to provide clear goals and outcomes for a sustainable city.
Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) is proud to partner with the City of Detroit’s Office of Sustainability in development of the Sustainability Action Agenda. MEC has worked diligently in Detroit for many years to create a clean, healthy and safe environment where people want to live, work and play, and has long advocated for an Office of Sustainability to advance sustainability goals in the city.
Michigan Environmental Council President Conan Smith issued the following statement in response to today's legal steps by AG Nessel to decommission Line 5, and Gov. Whitmer's executive action directing the DNR to perform a comprehensive review of Enbridge's Easement compliance:
"Michigan Environmental Council supports the legal action taken by Attorney General Nessel against Enbridge to end the threat of Line 5 in the Great Lakes. We thank her for the clear filing of summary disposition on Enbridge’s lawsuit, and hope for swift resolution of that lawsuit.
Recently a diverse set of stakeholders reached a deal with Consumers Energy over the utility’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The IRP is a long-range plan that outlines how a utility will meet energy needs 5, 10, and 15 years into the future. Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) weighs in on IRPs to advocate for keeping costs low for Michiganders by retiring aging, expensive coal plants and replacing that generation with low cost renewables and reducing energy waste. The agreement arrived at in Consumers’ IRP sets a bold path forward for the utility and one that will reap significant dividends in cleaning up our air, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and saving us money on our utility bills.
Gov. Whitmer announces decision to bolster solar energy and protect pollinators on Michigan farmlands
LANSING - The Whitmer Administration announced an executive decision today that farmland sites under Public Act 116 of Michigan’s Farmland and Open Space Program can now host solar arrays and remain enrolled in the program. Currently, there are approximately 3.3 million acres of farmland under PA 116. Notably, the PA 116 sites that opt to add solar under this decision must also meet pollinator habitat standards as determined by the Michigan Pollinator Habitat Planning Scorecard for Solar Sites, a tool designed by researchers at Michigan State University. Solar energy is an important and growing clean, renewable resource in Michigan. Michigan Environmental Council released the following statement in support:
Conan Smith--an experienced nonprofit leader, policy innovator, and respected public official--will be the new CEO of Michigan Environmental Council. He’s been selected to fill the position vacated by Chris Kolb, who was appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to serve as State Budget Director.
LANSING - The House appropriations subcommittee passed out their fiscal year 2020 budget for the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on a party line vote. In their budget, House Republican leadership took a hatchet to programs that protect Michiganders from environmental and public health threats by cutting an astounding $9 million from Governor Whitmer’s proposal. This comes in sharp contrast to what Senate Republicans supported in their budget for the departments, which included $120 million in general funds for EGLE. Michigan Environmental Council released the following statement in opposition:
The Michigan Public Service Commission partially struck down a controversial $328 million rate increase proposed by DTE Energy, approving only $125 million of the request. Residential ratepayers will bear most of the increase with a close to 4.8% increase in the average bill, while rates for commercial and industrial customers will increase by only 0.3%. The Commission also rejected a problematic fixed customer charge increase, DTE's poorly designed program for customers with rooftop solar installations, and excessive coal plant spending.