Michigan Environmental Report

News from Michigan Environmental Council on public policies affecting the health of Michigan's people and environment

Recommendation looms for DTE Energy plan that advocates and the public have called to reject

Advocates from across Michigan have been calling on the Michigan Public Service Commission to reject DTE Energy’s long-term energy plan as the the case surrounding the plan comes to a close. On Friday, the judge overseeing the case will share her reading of the case and propose a recommendation to the Michigan Public Service Commission, which will give the final ruling early next year. 

To date, more than 3,300 Michigan residents have submitted public comments and over 150 people attended the public hearing in June, the vast majority urging the Commission to reject DTE’s plan. 

In addition, various health, environmental, conservation and clean energy advocates have also worked to raise awareness of the shortcomings of DTE’s plan and mobilized customers to make their voices heard.

MEC applauds Governor Whitmer's deer baiting veto

Yesterday, Governor Whitmer vetoed House Bill 4687, an anti-science bill that would have allowed deer baiting, risking the further spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Michigan Environmental Council released this statement of support:

"We thank Governor Whitmer for standing up for science and vetoing this legislation. Science has shown that anything short of a full ban on deer baiting will not help slow the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease," said Sean Hammond, Michigan Environmental Council Policy Director. "CWD is the largest threat facing our deer population, putting at risk Michigan's outdoor conservation economy. The spread of CWD also creates potential risks to public health, as more exposures increase the risk of spreading to humans as Mad Cow has in the past. We cannot afford to take those risks."

Background on DTE Energy Integrated Resource Plan

Over the past months, various health, environmental, conservation and clean energy advocates have worked to raise awareness of the shortcomings of DTE Energy's integrated resource plan and mobilized customers to make their voices heard. Actions include information resources, blog posts and op-eds:

MEC submits comments on NPDES wastewater permit for CAFOs

The Michigan Environmental Council and undersigned organizations submit the following comments [to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy] on the Draft 2020 National Pollutant Discharge Eliminations System (NPDES) Wastewater Discharge General Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.

The CAFO NPDES permit is an important tool in combating excessive nutrient and bacterial loading in Michigan's waters and we appreciate the opportunity to comment on the draft language. Contrary to the assertions by industry groups, the draft permit represents critical steps forward for increasing the environmental standards for permitted entities. We also strongly support the increased reporting requirements outlined in the draft permit. Increased reporting and tracking is foundational to establishing long-term environmental sustainability and accountability for the industry and, up until this draft permit, lacked the robustness to protect Michigan's waters. The following comments pertain to several of the most significant and high priority changes within the draft permit.

Bottle Bill legislation reforms address plastic pollution and make returns easier

Today, Kalamazoo lawmakers Rep. Jon Hoadley and Sen. Sean McCann introduced legislation that will modernize Michigan’s Bottle Bill to uphold the spirit of the law that was overwhelming adopted by Michigan voters 40 years ago to address pollution in our rivers and streams. Changes include expanding the deposit to all beverages except dairy, and requiring universal redemption so Michigan consumers can take back all their bottles to wherever they chose.

Conflicts of interest plague review panel decisions on PFAS water protections

Public health, community, and environmental groups call for transparency, ask member with financial stake in outcome to recuse himself 

The Environmental Rules Review Committee (ERRC) -- created in 2018 by the Republican-led legislature and signed into law by Governor Snyder -- is heavily dominated by representatives from industry and the regulated community. Members of the ERRC are likely to have direct, financial conflicts of interest during their service on the Committee depending on which rule set is being taken up. Despite disclosure of conflicts of interest and recusal from decision-making being common good governance procedures, the legislature did not include these requirements in the statute that created the ERRC.

Manistee County Commissioners applauded for upholding water protection ordinance

The Manistee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted 5-1 to reject a proposal to repeal the Kalkaska point of sale septic inspection ordinance. Michigan Environmental Council applauds this vote as a major victory for residents concerned about failing septic systems contaminating water in the region. Over 100,000 failing septic systems in Michigan discharge an estimated 30 million gallons of sewage into our water everyday because Michigan does not have a comprehensive inspection system for septics. 

Michigan mourns passing of Gov. William Milliken

“The 37 million acres that are Michigan is all the Michigan we will ever have.”  -- Governor William Milliken