Michigan Environmental Report

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

Letter: Why we oppose a Camp Grayling expansion

Camp Grayling is the largest National Guard training facility in the United States. What was once was the property of a lumber baron is now 230 square miles of government-owned land in the center of northern Michigan. 

When the land was bought a century ago, it was covered in beautiful forests, the sprawling Lake Margrethe, and the pristine Au Sable Manistee rivers.

Much of those trees and all of those waters still exist, intermingled with buildings, roads, and other military training infrastructure. But Camp Grayling's nature is not fully protected from additional development and the pollution that might come with it. That makes an unclear, proposed expansion of the facility all the more risky.

New Analysis: Michigan Must Supercharge Climate Action

Reposted with permission by NRDC. Written by Samantha Williams, climate & clean energy program director, Midwest

Amidst important climate achievements at the federal level this year (e.g., the Inflation Reduction Act), Michigan has been making important progress in its own right. The state has been busy at work developing a climate roadmap that will implement Governor Whitmer’s goals of cutting GHGs from the state’s economy 28% below 2005 levels by 2025 and 52% by 2030, ultimately achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Michigan’s goals reflect the scientific consensus on climate change and the scale and pace of decarbonization that must be undertaken for the state to do its part in tackling emissions and avoiding the worst impacts of the climate crisis. The final roadmap—the MI Healthy Climate Plan—was released in April to chart the course for the state’s GHG reduction goals, with an emphasis on this critical decade leading up to 2030.

Michigan is most prone to septic pollution. Bill considers solutions

Over half of Michiganders use septic systems on their property to dispose of their waste. Yet, only a fraction of them live in a county that helps keep those systems from polluting our land and water.

A bill in the Michigan Legislature would change that by establishing a statewide septic inspection program. All other states have some form of system in place.

Lead-free drinking water for kids closer to reality after Senate vote

Every Michigan child attending school or childcare centers—over 1.4 million—could soon drink lead-free water.

With 35-1 votes, "Filter First" bills passed out of the Michigan Senate on Tuesday and now head to the House.

Gas taxes won’t help consumers or the climate, but other investments would

Gas prices are slowly dropping across the state and nation, as they have been for two months. That’s thanks to an increase in gasoline production, federal initiatives, and a cutback on driving.

It’s what economists call the “rocket and feather” effect. Gas prices shoot up quickly and fall slowly. Unlike a falling feather, though, the slow drop in gas costs is painful. Gas prices are still abnormally high. That in turn, is making the cost of many products, which are dependent on vehicles, to be abnormally high, too.

People have endured this expensive cost of living for too long. For some, it’s a frequent inconvenience. For others, it’s another dent in their already too-strained paychecks, a sacrifice of comfort.

A proposed railway merger would bring more air pollution to Detroit

Southwest Detroit is home to renowned public art, Mexicantown's famous restaurants and shops, and its proud neighborhoods. But amidst the cultural vibrancy hangs air pollution. Lots of it.

That's because Southwest Detroit is also home to dozens of industries, a sprawling oil refinery, several major highways, and a bridge to Canada. That creates a lot of vehicular and factory pollution. The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health concluded the pollution is sickening and even killing people, and that sickness and death has led to billions of dollars in lost economic revenue.

Unfortunately, the air pollution and its effects could soon get even worse if a merger between two railway companies is allowed. It's why the Michigan Environmental Council's vice chair Michael Dorsey and president and CEO Conan Smith filed a letter to the federal government to stop it.

2022 Milliken Award Winners: Anne & Tom Woiwode

Rogers City: A Lake Huron community known for its salmon fishing tournaments, its century-old state park, and one of the largest ports on the Great Lakes.

Midland: A community where the Chippewa and Tittawabassee rivers meet, known for its arboretum and its beautiful parks and bridges.

These cities' stories cross in what they lack: coal-fired power plants.

In 2007, Midland and Rogers City were two of eight sites where coal plant construction was scheduled. Fifteen years later, not a single facility has come to be. In fact, almost every Michigan coal plant is set to retire in just a few years.

How did so much good happen in so short a time?

Anne Woiwode, then Sierra Club Michigan Chapter's director, is the woman largely to thank.

Consumers will close all coal plants by 2025

A fossil fuel free Michigan is one step closer to reality.

The Michigan Public Service Commission—the state's energy utility regular—granted Consumers Energy—Michigan's largest utility company—permission to close all its coal plants by 2025 on June 23. This means Consumers Energy will retire all of its coal plants 15 years earlier than it had previously proposed—and it will be one of the first large utilities in the country to go coal-free.