Michigan Environmental Report

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

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.

Budget investments show averting climate, water crises a priority

On Wednesday morning, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer rolled out a proposal for the largest state budget in history, with billions of dollars being dedicated toward natural resource protection, clean energy, clean water and climate resiliency.

Among the largest environmental investments are $1.22 billion for clean water; $593 million for climate, clean energy and mobility; and $403 million in natural resource protections.

Charlotte Jameson, chief policy officer of the Michigan Environmental Council, issued the following statement in response.

PFAS has been discovered in Michigan beef

A discovery of potentially dangerous chemicals in Michigan beef renewed calls for better pollution prevention and cleanup standards to be set.

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) announced Friday per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (commonly known as PFAS) were found in beef produced by Grostic Cattle Company near Hartland and sold to consumers. PFAS, used in a variety of products, have been linked to a number of illnesses, like cancers, thyroid disorders, diabetes and elevated cholesterol. 

Efforts are underway by the State of Michigan to ensure contaminated beef is no longer sold and consumers who may have bought it are alerted.

Draft climate plan sets stage for bolder action

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On Jan. 14, Michigan released a draft of its latest plan to make Michigan carbon neutral by 2050 and protect the state's people and places from climate change.

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE) presented the draft plan to the Council on Climate Solutions, which included all the recommendations put forth by the Council’s workgroups. EGLE will take public comment starting Friday before finalizing the plan.

Charlotte Jameson, chief policy officer for the Michigan Environmental Council, co-chaired the Council on Climate Solutions' buildings and housing workgroup. Jameson offered praise for the state administration developing a plan and noted the need for bolder action.