Michigan Environmental Report
Many Michigan families once had a set routine on school day mornings. Now, they are hazy due to COVID-19. The pandemic not only threatens public health and school openings, it could impact how well children concentrate and succeed academically.
Some families, however, have struggled to get children to school and to learn effectively at no fault of their own long before the pandemic began.
Wednesday was historic in the fight for clean water. Michigan adopted enforceable limits on harmful chemical compounds in drinking water. The move, years in the making, will boost the physical and developmental health of those that have fought for years to make the limits a reality: the people.
A joint committee in the state’s legislature quietly allowed proposed limits on seven per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS, in drinking water to lapse, setting the limits into law. Some limits are the lowest in the nation.
“These limits were long-needed and were long-supported by the vast majority of Michigan residents,” said Charlotte Jameson, program director for Michigan Environmental Council, who testified before the joint committee Wednesday. “These limits will have long-lasting benefits, too. They will prompt more site testing, place pressure on companies to stop using PFAS and galvanize more statewide PFAS protections.”
Thursday morning, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its partners released the 2020 Seasonal Forecast of Harmful Algal Blooms for Lake Erie.
NOAA predicted a moderate bloom severity of 4.5 out of 10 that could possibly reach 5.5. An index of 5 indicates severe algal blooms. In 2015, the governors of Ohio and Michigan, along with the premier of Ontario, set a public goal of reducing nutrient pollution by 40% by 2025, with 2020 as a halfway interim goal of 20%.
In response to today’s report, the Alliance for the Great Lakes, Freshwater Future, Michigan Environmental Council, and Ohio Environmental Council are calling on the governors and the premier to improve domestic action plans to provide a blueprint, not just a long list of best management practices, that the public can use to hold decision-makers accountable.
Michigan Environmental Council’s board of directors is composed of 17 members committed to Michigan’s environment and whose experiences and perspectives make them champions of it. Jeremy Orr - Natural Resources Defense Council attorney and MEC board member representing the Michigan NAACP - is protecting Black Lives Matter protesters and their rights as a legal observer for the Detroit and Michigan chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.
By Friday, oil from Line 5 will no longer pump under the Straits of Mackinac, protecting the Great Lakes and the ecologies, economies and people that thrive because of them.
Ingham Circuit Court Judge James Jamo granted a request by Attorney General Dana Nessel to temporarily close the pipeline until more information on damage it sustained is revealed.
Whether it be a five-minute survey or a few-hour stakeholder meeting, taking part in an initiative years in the making could help Michigan’s public health for the next half-decade.
Partners across Michigan’s public health system are collaborating to identify and prioritize the state’s biggest public health issues through the State Health Assessment. They want to include residents - from a Dearborn resident sickened by air pollution to a northern Michigander stranded in a food desert - and entities involved in good public health - from clean water activists to fair wage fighters.
A bill increasing toxic chemical contamination accountability and pollution prevention unanimously passed the Michigan Senate Wednesday. It also serves as a reminder that the state’s first enforceable drinking water limits on PFAS have stalled in a committee for nearly three months, one step away from protecting human and environmental health.
COVID-19 has cast a bright spotlight on water shutoffs.
In response, we’ve seen the governor order service be restored, extensive media coverage and a flock of new voices joining debates about best ways to provide this essential service.
Yet all this attention hasn’t translated into enough immediate action. Today, upwards of 10,000 Detroit residents lack running water in their homes!
Thank goodness for We the People of Detroit.