Michigan Environmental Report
Editor's note: This post is by Kerrin O'Brien, executive director of the Michigan Recycling Coalition, an MEC member group.
After more than two years of negotiations, countless hours of committee hearings, numerous variations on several bills, untold column inches of news coverage and a dizzying series of false starts, dead ends and shifts of the political winds, the epic effort to overhaul Michigan's energy policy finally drew to a close Thursday evening.
The Michigan Environmental Council praised state leaders Thursday for approving a comprehensive energy reform package that will continue the state's transition to a clean-energy economy and reduce energy costs for families and businesses while protecting public health and the environment.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality last week delayed its expected decision on a permit for the Back Forty Project, an open-pit gold, zinc and copper mine proposed for the western Upper Peninsula. Back in September, the agency indicated in a preliminary decision its intent to approve the request from Aquila Resources, opening a final window for the public to weigh in before the final decision set for Dec. 1. The deadline for that final decision has now been pushed back to Dec. 29.
The Michigan Environmental Council praised the recommendations put forth Monday by Gov. Rick Snyder's 21st Century Infrastructure Commission and urged policymakers to significantly increase investments to offset years of underfunding for safe drinking water, public transit, clean energy and other components of a healthy Michigan with a high quality of life.
Michigan Environmental Council President Chris Kolb was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder last week to a 24-member Public Health Advisory Commission.
Proven problem solver Zimnicki joins group as agriculture policy director
The Michigan Environmental Council has launched a new sustainable agriculture program to promote state, local and federal policies that support Michigan in growing a diverse abundance of food while promoting the long-term well-being of our water, wildlife and climate.
Michigan environmental groups on Thursday praised the state's designation of its portion of the Western Lake Erie Basin as an impaired watershed under the Clean Water Act, a decision with potential to dramatically reduce nutrient pollution and improve water quality.