Michigan Environmental Report

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

MEC statement on Senate rejection of science educator for NRC appointment

Today, the Michigan Senate voted 20-16 to reject Anna Mitterling’s appointment to the Natural Resources Commission.

Michigan Environmental Council and Michigan Trout Unlimited issued the following statement in response:

“Today, Senate leadership voted down a very well-qualified appointee to the Natural Resources Commission reputedly because she uses sound science to guide her policy decisions,” said Michigan Environmental Council President and CEO Conan Smith. “If Michigan is to successfully manage the crises facing our deer and other game populations -- threats such as chronic wasting disease, habitat loss, and a changing climate -- it is simply unacceptable to ignore scientific principles in favor of emotion and politics. We must use the best research available to guide our decisions so that our conservation heritage is protected.”

MEC praises $10 million for Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund

Today Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s second executive budget was released. It included $10 million for a new Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund to protect Michigan families from lead in their homes. Michigan Environmental Council released the following statement in support of this funding recommendation:

“We applaud Governor Whitmer’s creative proposal to invest $10 million to unlock private capital and get low interest loans in the hands of residents who simply can't afford the high cost of making their home lead safe,” said Tina Reynolds, Michigan Environmental Council Program Director for Environmental Health.

MEC applauds 100% renewable energy bills

Legislation introduced today by Representative Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) and Senator Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) would set a 100% renewable energy standard by 2050 for Michigan, requiring utilities to get 100% of their energy from renewable sources by 2050. Achieving 100% renewable energy is a critical and necessary step to curb toxic air and water pollution and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Judge says DTE plan falls short

Today an Administrative Law Judge issued a 197-page opinion recommending the Michigan Public Service Commission insist on major revisions to DTE Energy’s “Integrated Resource Plan” – a long range energy plan that lays out how DTE will meet Michigan's energy needs going forward. Environmental and consumer advocates, including the Michigan Environmental Council, argued successfully that DTE’s proposed plan undervalued energy efficiency and renewables while also unnecessarily lengthen the life of old, expensive coal plants.

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.