Michigan Environmental Report

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

Line 5 shutdown shows Enbridge violated laws

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.

Take a survey. Join a meeting. Better Michigan's public health

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.

PFAS accountability bill passes, a reminder that enforceable limits sit stagnant

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.

Support emergency water deliveries in Detroit

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.

MEC applauds safe reopening of bottle return services

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday the resumption of bottle return services with certain restrictions starting June 15 in a win for Michigan’s residents and its recycling industries. 

“We applaud the governor for continuing her deliberate and safety-based approach to reopening Michigan’s economy during the continued COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sean Hammond, policy director of Michigan Environmental Council.

Pictures worth a thousand years

One summer morning in 2019, Kevin McKeehan, a Ph.D. candidate in Geography at Michigan State University, jumped into Lake Michigan. North Manitou Island was in full frame before him. Behind him, Capt. David Schroeder of the National Park Service turned his ship, the “Nahma,” away toward Lower Michigan’s mitten tip.

After wading to shore, McKeehan spent hours hiking, passing the occasional hollowed homestead of 19th-century loggers and fruit farmers.

Finally, the MSU graduate student found his destination: an outlook onto the island’s westward coastal dunes system.

MEC's Sandra Turner-Handy: Detroit census participation is critical

Detroit will launch a citywide event this weekend to encourage participation in the 2020 census. Michigan Environmental Council’s engagement director said the effort comes at a time when federal funding stemming from it is needed most.

“Now more than ever we need to fill out our census forms,” said MEC’s Sandra Turner-Handy. “We have families in distress. The federal dollars we get from each family counted can go a long way in helping them and the Detroit community at large, especially as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and a recession.”

Heartbreaking flooding shows need for infrastructure investments that slow climate change

When flash flooding broke two Midland area dams Tuesday, the hearts of Michigan Environmental Council’s staff were with the thousands of area residents who would have to leave their homes behind as high waters rushed into their communities.

The flood was the second of its size in 35 years, a result of the devastating effects of climate change and inadequate investment in resilient infrastructure. In Edenville Dam’s case, abnormally heavy rain ravaged a dam in need of repair.