Michigan Environmental Report

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

2022 Petoskey Prize Winner: Diane Cheklich

Diane Cheklich, the 2022 Petoskey Prize winner and volunteer for Detroit AudubonIn the wildflower meadow of Callahan Park, you might see the royal gold and purple strut of a pheasant or the iridescence of an indigo bunting or hear a pee-a-wee of, fittingly, the eastern wood peewee.

You also might see Diane Cheklich. She might be on a bench or along the path that cuts through Callahan Park’s meadow. She might be taking photos of robins catching worms or monarchs on milkweed with her long lens camera. Or she might be showing other visitors around.

'Keep the UP wild' say 350 groups to lawmakers

More than 350 groups from the Upper Peninsula and across the state came together Wednesday to show the Michigan Senate how good protected, pristine nature could be for the UP's people, economy, and community.

Leading organizations of Keep the UP Wild—a group of environmental, religious, business, academic and community leaders—submitted written testimony Wednesday urging the Senate Natural Resources Committee to oppose Senate Resolution 150. Horst Schmidt, president of the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition and key Keep the UP Wild leader, provided video testimony.

What's really to blame for Midwest energy shortages

There's been a lot of coverage on the potential that the Midwest could experience brownouts or blackouts this summer.

With it, a narrative is taking hold that the retirement of coal plants and the supposed "unreliability" of new renewable energy will mean utilities have less energy at hand when demand is at its peak, and that will force them to temporarily shut off power when the need gets too high.

But this narrative is false.

Consumers Energy settlement a milestone in climate action

A settlement agreement filed by a major Michigan utility company will be a critical step in combating the climate crisis, reducing coal plant pollution in air and water, and supporting green jobs.

Let the sunshine in, say lawmaker, industry & advocates

Whether from advocates, lawmakers or industry leaders, the message was the same at Tuesday evening's town hall: pointless restrictions on who can use solar energy must end.

Panelists of the event hosted by the Michigan Environmental Council and Michigan United each encouraged the passage of House Bill 4236. The bill, sponsored by 10 Republicans and three Democrats, would lift the cap on distributed generation. This would allow anyone to generate energy, like solar, on their business or property and get credit for any excess energy they send back to the grid.

This environmental investment is among the largest in decades

This is big. Like, really big. 

It's not often we get to celebrate a truly good environmental win. Sometimes good legislation is dead on arrival. Sometimes it stalls out as a new guard of politicians arrives. And sometimes good policy is paired with the ambivalent or bad.

But on March 30, Gov. Whitmer signed into law $2.5 billion in funding to better water, parks and communities, and it's almost wholly good news. It stems from earlier proposals by Gov. Whitmer and Republican Sen. Jon Bumstead, and it's supported by leadership from both political parties.

Supplemental deal a historic investment in Michigan’s nature, water & communities

A bipartisan deal would lead to less flooding, cleaner drinking water, better state parks and affordable, energy efficient homes.

The supplemental budget deal, which passed out of the House Appropriations committee late Wednesday night, would invest over $2.5 billion into environmental projects. Much of the money stems from extra state and federal COVID dollars.

The supplemental reflects the environmental priorities of Gov. Whitmer, who previously proposed $2.2 billion in environmental initiatives. The final deal builds off of two proposals put forward by Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Sen. Jon  Bumstead, which provided $4.3 billion in water and parks funding.

Judge's recommendations could mean Michigan misses climate goal

As the state prepares to release its plan to make Michigan carbon neutral by 2050, a judicial recommendation, if taken up, would get us just shy of a crucial step being reached.

Administrative Law Judge Sally Wallace recommended Consumers Energy close two of the three units of its JH Campbell coal plant in Ottawa County by 2025. She also recommended the Campbell Unit 3 undergo further study and modeling to determine when it should close.