Michigan Environmental Report

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

Big wins to ring in a new decade

The fog of anxiety was thick for many as we trudged through an exhausting election and an ever-present pandemic. Yet, bright lights cut through.

Laws, decisions and amendments passed at 2020’s end will make the health of Michigan’s people, places and finances stronger in 2021 and beyond.

Check out the wins from late 2020 that MEC helped secure. Let’s ring the bells once more!

Multistate Asian carp agreement keeps Great Lakes healthy

In a move that will protect the health of Michigan’s water, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed an agreement Thursday that will keep an invasive, destructive species out of our water.

Michigan will provide $8 million in appropriated funds to Illinois, which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will use to engineer and design fortifications of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. Once complete, the site will provide a strong series of blockades to keep Asian carp from entering Michigan waterways.

‘A Common Hymnal’; How Brad Garmon Builds Resilience in Michigan’s Outdoor Community

“We’re a state of makers,” said Jeff Thompson, of Shaggy’s Copper Country Skis. “We put the world on wheels, and now we want to do everything else.”

Thompson was a guest speaker at a December virtual showcase of Michigan’s outdoor manufacturers, co-hosted by the Michigan Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

The Motor City drove the world. Albion gave it iron. Alpena, cement. Now, Thompson argued, outdoor recreation manufacturers are making Michigan known as a state that moves people in a new way.

Consumers’ rate hike approval shows need for new ratemaking structure, accountability

The 1.6 million residential customers of Consumers Energy will see their electricity rates go up 11.93% in January as Michigan continues to grapple with a pandemic and a recession. But it could have been worse. 

The Michigan Public Service Commission approved a $100 million rate increase Thursday that will go into effect Jan. 1.  An average residential customer can expect to pay $9.17 more a month.

Water shutoff moratorium helps families across Michigan communities

When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an emergency order March 28 requiring water be turned on and kept on in all Michigan homes, she did so to protect everyone’s health.

Clean, easily accessible water is essential for basic sanitation and is especially vital during a health pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control recommend frequent and thorough hand washing to keep people from contracting COVID-19 and spreading it to others.

But in October, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Gov. Whitmer needed the Legislature’s approval for orders declared under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act. Many past orders crumbled, including water shutoff protections.

This hunting season, check for lead ammo

This article is part of a continuing series on lead threats and lead safety by the Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Homes. Tina Reynolds, MEC’s environmental health program director, heads the coalition. MEC health policy intern Hailey Dunn wrote the article. Learn more at mileadsafehomes.blogspot.com.

Deer Hunting season is upon us! In a time of being told to stay indoors and out of the public due to COVID-19, some of us are finding comfort in our favorite hunting spots.

Where Line 5 stands now and in the future

“In the darkness of despair we saw a vision, / We lit the light of hope and it was not extinguished.” ~ Liam Mac Uistin, “We Saw A Vision”

Sean McBrearty recited these opening lines hours after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took bold, decisive action to shut down the Line 5 oil pipeline that cuts through our Great Lakes.

Statement: Gov. Whitmer's bold action on Line 5 protects the Great Lakes

Line 5 will be shut down. That was the move Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made Friday against the oil pipeline that cuts through the Straits of Mackinac in the Great Lakes.

Gov. Whitmer sent a notice of violation, termination and revocation of the 1953 easement that made Line 5’s existence possible to Enbridge, its owner. She then submitted a court filing to force the termination.