Michigan Environmental Report

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

Environmental groups hail U.S. return to Paris Climate Agreement

Michigan Environmental CouncilMichigan League of Conservation VotersEcology Center and Environmental Law & Policy Center applauded President Joe Biden’s executive action re-committing the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement on his first day in office.  

“During the past four years, the Trump administration rolled back, weakened, or eliminated more than 100 environmental and public health safeguards which increased air and water pollution that put peoples’ health at risk,” said Charlotte Jameson, program director for legislative affairs, energy and drinking water at the Michigan Environmental Council. “The previous administration only made the climate crisis worse by dismissing scientists, ignoring environmental justice and threatening our health and environment. President Biden is outlining his vision for a more resilient nation and inviting everyone to join the effort.” 

Statement: Whitmer’s recovery plan a boon for green, just jobs

On Tuesday, Jan. 19, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released the Michigan COVID Recovery Plan. Included was a commitment to a clean energy jobs training program. Michigan Environmental Council President/CEO Conan Smith issued the following statement in response:

“Gov. Whitmer’s commitment to train Michiganders for clean energy jobs is just what we need during a pandemic that has left many people unemployed, many others underemployed and an economy struggling. What’s more, Gov. Whitmer’s decision was grounded in environmental justice. The training program will provide good, secure jobs to those that have long been systematically gatekept from them, and it is in tandem with her commitment to statewide carbon neutrality by 2050. Both results will make Michigan and its residents healthier and more resilient.”

Big wins to ring in a new decade

The fog of anxiety was thick for many as we trudged through an exhausting election and an ever-present pandemic. Yet, bright lights cut through.

Laws, decisions and amendments passed at 2020’s end will make the health of Michigan’s people, places and finances stronger in 2021 and beyond.

Check out the wins from late 2020 that MEC helped secure. Let’s ring the bells once more!

Multistate Asian carp agreement keeps Great Lakes healthy

In a move that will protect the health of Michigan’s water, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed an agreement Thursday that will keep an invasive, destructive species out of our water.

Michigan will provide $8 million in appropriated funds to Illinois, which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will use to engineer and design fortifications of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. Once complete, the site will provide a strong series of blockades to keep Asian carp from entering Michigan waterways.

‘A Common Hymnal’; How Brad Garmon Builds Resilience in Michigan’s Outdoor Community

“We’re a state of makers,” said Jeff Thompson, of Shaggy’s Copper Country Skis. “We put the world on wheels, and now we want to do everything else.”

Thompson was a guest speaker at a December virtual showcase of Michigan’s outdoor manufacturers, co-hosted by the Michigan Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

The Motor City drove the world. Albion gave it iron. Alpena, cement. Now, Thompson argued, outdoor recreation manufacturers are making Michigan known as a state that moves people in a new way.

Consumers’ rate hike approval shows need for new ratemaking structure, accountability

The 1.6 million residential customers of Consumers Energy will see their electricity rates go up 11.93% in January as Michigan continues to grapple with a pandemic and a recession. But it could have been worse. 

The Michigan Public Service Commission approved a $100 million rate increase Thursday that will go into effect Jan. 1.  An average residential customer can expect to pay $9.17 more a month.

Water shutoff moratorium helps families across Michigan communities

When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an emergency order March 28 requiring water be turned on and kept on in all Michigan homes, she did so to protect everyone’s health.

Clean, easily accessible water is essential for basic sanitation and is especially vital during a health pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control recommend frequent and thorough hand washing to keep people from contracting COVID-19 and spreading it to others.

But in October, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Gov. Whitmer needed the Legislature’s approval for orders declared under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act. Many past orders crumbled, including water shutoff protections.

This hunting season, check for lead ammo

This article is part of a continuing series on lead threats and lead safety by the Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Homes. Tina Reynolds, MEC’s environmental health program director, heads the coalition. MEC health policy intern Hailey Dunn wrote the article. Learn more at mileadsafehomes.blogspot.com.

Deer Hunting season is upon us! In a time of being told to stay indoors and out of the public due to COVID-19, some of us are finding comfort in our favorite hunting spots.