Michigan Environmental Report

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

Under House GOP budget, say 'So long' to parks, pollution protections

In April, Michigan House Republicans set forth budgets that, if approved, would send our state into a tailspin of instability, threatening the lives and livelihoods of Michiganders in every political district.

House Bills 4395 and 4397 passed out of the Michigan Legislature with only Republican approval, and not all Republicans at that. If made law, the Departments of Natural Resources (MDNR) and Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) would only be able to function about 12 weeks at a time on budgets 25% of what they are now.


We need lead-free school funding in our next budget

Neither Michigan Senate or House FY22 school budgets included a $55 million appropriation in grants for schools to install and maintain filtered water fountains with bottle fillers and, in some cases, on-tap filters.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s FY21 supplemental appropriation recommended funding this critical program, which would protect nearly 1.5 million children and tens of thousands of adults from lead exposure from their school’s drinking water.


Water infrastructure bills would protect our health and environment

The Michigan Senate Environmental Quality Committee passed a bipartisan bill package in 6-0-1 vote today that would make Michigan’s water cleaner and create thousands of jobs, all without taxpayer dollars.

Over $293 million in water infrastructure grants for local governments and residents would be available through a budget appropriation recommendation by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer through her MI Clean Water Plan and bolstered by Sens. Rick Outman’s (R-Six Lakes) and Paul Wojno’s (D-Warren) Senate Bills 319 and 320.


Denby: A Detroit neighborhood by and for the people

As the bright March sunlight hinted at warmer days, Sandra Turner-Handy took a walk around her block to hand out yard signs.

Turner-Handy lives in Denby, a neighborhood in east Detroit with a few thousand residents, hundreds of quaint brick homes, an Art Deco high school and a $1.5 million park.

It was at this park, Skinner Park, the Detroit Tigers stopped at during their pre-Opening Day tour, an event those yard signs promoted. Despite the rain, families from Denby and nearby Yorkshire Woods came to meet the Tigers, jam to a drumline, chow down and get baseball equipment.

Turner-Handy — engagement director for the Michigan Environmental Council and leader of the Denby Neighborhood Alliance — was thrilled, and not just because she’s an avid Tigers fan. The club chose Skinner Park out of 308 official Detroit parks. It was symbolic, proof Skinner was a focal point for the community.


MEC, AG Nessel and allies work to block Consumers rate hike

In an effort to advocate for Michigan customers, four groups announced today they are joining Attorney General Dana Nessel to intervene in Consumers Energy’s proposal to raise electric rates in Michigan. 

The groups intervening are the Michigan Environmental Council, Citizens Utility Board of Michigan, Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council.

In December 2020, the Commission approved a $90.2 million rate increase, which went into effect January 1 of this year. The utility company originally asked for an increase of $254 million during that case, but MEC and allies were able to blunt it.

If the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approves Consumers Energy’s $225 million rate increase request, residential customers would see an additional 8.3% rate increase while industrial customers would see a 4.2% increase and commercial customers would see a bump of 0.4%.


Lifting cap on small-scale solar creates jobs, saves residents money

Environmental groups endorsed a bill last Wednesday that would eliminate the cap on how many residents and businesses can use small-scale solar energy to power their homes and companies, saying current law restricts job growth and investment and access to affordable energy. 

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters and Michigan Environmental Council testified in support of Rep. Markkenen's House Bill 4236 during the House Energy Committee Wednesday. The Republican from Hancock has the bipartisan support of 12 cosponsors. 


'Bottle Bill' will clean up environment, expand our bottle return system

Sen. Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo) and Rep. Christine Morse (D-Portage) introduced legislation to update and expand Michigan’s 40-year-old “Bottle Bill” law. Michigan Environmental Council will advocate and educate with them for its passage.

Senate Bill 167 and House Bill 4331 would expand the state’s current 10-cent deposit on certain soft drinks, beer, and other carbonated beverages to all other non-carbonated beverages, except for milk containers.


Bill holds corporate polluters accountable, saves taxpayers money

Whether it be the “green ooze” that trickled onto a highway from a shuttered Madison Heights business in 2020 or PFAS currently seeping into west Michigan wells, a new bill ensures those causing pollution catastrophes pay for the health threats they create.

On Tuesday, Feb. 23, Michigan House Democratic House Floor Leader Yousef Rabhi introduced House Bill 4314, which requires private companies to pay to clean up pollution they create. Current law only requires companies to contain and limit exposure of these pollutants. The financial burden of cleanup falls on residents, who pay through taxes.