Michigan Environmental Report

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

Another Lackluster Plan Won’t Fix Lake Erie

In early December, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and leaders from departments of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Nature Resources (DNR), and Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) announced an adaptive management plan to tackle harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.

Group to EGLE: Adopt equitable climate policies

This year, Michiganders across the state suffered through flood after flood, power outage after power outage, and ozone action day after ozone action day. Now, 28 organizations and municipalities are urging the state to boldly and equitably take on the cause of each crisis: climate change.

Environmental, public health, education, science and humanitarian experts came together to write letter of policy recommendations to the Michigan Council on Climate Solutions and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE). Both the citizen-led Council and EGLE are tasked with shaping a climate plan that will make Michigan carbon neutral by 2050.

The letter urges the Council and EGLE to adopt its policies, which will lessen energy use, power Michigan's grid with renewable energy, and electrify buildings, transportation and industry. It also urged both entities to ensure those most disproportionally impacted by climate change receive the most protection from it.

Major lead prevention legislation passes key committee

Nearly 1.5 million Michigan children are one step closer to drinking lead-safe water in their schools and daycare centers thanks to two votes in the Michigan Legislature.

Senate Bills 184 and 185 both passed out of the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality with 5-0-1 votes on Nov. 30. They head to the Senate floor.

Public health win: State will continuing fighting smog in West Michigan

Michigan's environmental department will continue reducing air pollution levels in three West Michigan counties, a great move for the hearts and lungs of their residents.

The decision was made by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE) on Nov. 3 for Allegan and Berrien counties and part of Muskegon County. Each area registers high levels of ozone, a dangerous pollutant also known as smog that is often created by fossil fuel pollution and wildfires.

Michigan budget includes big wins for healthy homes

The $70 billion state budget, signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday, includes funding that will make homes safer and healthier for Michiganders.

Residents will soon have better opportunities to get lead out of their homes, regulate household temperature and keep PFAS and other chemicals out of their faucets.

“The Michigan Environmental Council would like to thank lawmakers and Gov. Whitmer for prioritizing residents' health,” said Tina Reynolds, program director for environmental health at the Michigan Environmental Council. “We spend more than 80% of our time indoors. The safety of our homes is a critical part of a healthy environment.”

The Legacy of AJ Birkbeck, PFAS Leader

It began with a skim through the Yellow Pages.

Lynn McIntosh needed an environmental lawyer. Her thick phonebook yielded only one: AJ Birkbeck, Fulcrum Law.

So she gave him a call, and a short while later she was driving from small-town Rockford to East Grand Rapids in her rundown ’97 Mercury van.

COVID fund investments would make people, homes, planet healthier

Healthier, more affordable homes; cleaned-up communities; and a premiere electric vehicle workforce could soon be coming to Michigan.

It was all in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's vision for billions in unused American Rescue Plan dollars, which she revealed Monday afternoon.

The Michigan Environmental Council applauded her proposal, noting its emphasis on clean energy jobs and smart development will create financial and environmental resiliency.

Friends of the Rouge: Fighting floods with gardens & barrels

This blog post is the first in of "Bellringers," a quarterly series highlighting the major accomplishments of Michigan Environmental Council member groups.

When torrential rain hit Sandra Turner-Handy’s Detroit home in late June, her basement was immediately flooded.

She spent the next few days pumping out water, throwing out furniture, fixing a busted water heater and, worst of all, discarding the personal keepsakes of her late mother.

Then came two other “once-a-century” storms.