Michigan Environmental Report

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

Oil tunnel plan leaves big questions for Great Lakes protection

Gov. Snyder today announced his plan for the 65-year-old pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac, commonly known as Line 5. The state and Enbridge, the company that owns Line 5, made a deal that allows Enbridge to build a tunnel below the Straits. This tunnel would be owned and operated by the State of Michigan, but would be leased to Enbridge for a term of up to 99 years to house the pipeline.

“Line 5 remaining active in its current condition is a threat to the Great Lakes, plain and simple,” said MEC President and CEO Chris Kolb. “The tunnel will take years to build and during that time the risk of a spill from the existing 65-year-old pipeline poses a very serious threat. At any moment, Line 5 could leak 2.4 million gallons of crude oil into the Great Lakes and cause billions of dollars of damage to our waters, coastal communities, and recreational economy.”


Contaminated water in our backyard

Growing up in a community like Rockford, Michigan, it’s easy to take a lot of things for granted. It felt safe and welcoming, and the idea that my family or neighbors could be drinking toxic water never crossed my mind. Then, one weekend while I was home from college, my Mom told me that I couldn’t drink from the tap, explaining why we had an unusually large amount of bottled water in the house.


Traverse City sets first community-wide 100 percent renewable energy goal in Michigan

On Tuesday, August 14, Traverse City, Michigan committed to transition fully to renewable energy. The board of Traverse City Light & Power (TCLP), the city’s municipally owned utility, voted in favor of setting a 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2040, and an interim goal of achieving 40 percent renewables by 2025 as part of its strategic plan.

This is the first city in Michigan to commit to a community-wide 100 percent clean energy goal.


Cultivating a better future: how Michigan farmers can help prevent algae blooms

Over the past few weeks, we have shared with you parts one and two of our plan to combat nuisance and toxic algae blooms. Today, we have the final installment which focuses on better practices for both crop and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

We saved the best (or worst) for last because, simply put, runoff from agricultural operations is the main contributor to the algae blooms occurring in Lake Erie and all around the Great Lakes Basin. The runoff from both CAFOs and crop operations feed nuisance and toxic algae blooms, and despite the state spending millions of dollars trying to address this problem, we’ve seen only marginal improvements over the past decade.

Help us fight algae blooms. Sign this petition and urge Governor Snyder and the State Legislature to take action now.


Plugging the Leak: Help us keep raw sewage out of our waters

So far in our three-part plan to combat toxic algae blooms we have shared with you how healthy soil leads to clean water. In this installment, we share part two of our plan: a statewide septic code.


Digging Deeper: How can healthy soil lead to clean water?

Last week, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released reports that predicted yet another summer of toxic, cyanobacteria algae blooms in Lake Erie. Now, we would like to tell you part one of our three-part plan to stop these blooms from afflicting our Great Lakes and the other important waterways of Michigan. Our solution: Healthy soil.

Act now: Sign our petition to get Governor Snyder and the State Legislature to do something about toxic algae blooms

This week, MEC is leading a summit sponsored by the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR) that will bring together top minds from around the country to better understand the connection between soil and watershed health. Tom Zimnicki, our Agriculture Policy Director, is on the steering committee of this summit, and is facilitating the discussions on how healthy soil begets clean water.


Michigan Environmental Council Statement on the Line 5 Enbridge Reports

In response to a report released by Enbridge today on priority waters crossed by Line 5, the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) issued the following statement.

“These reports do not alleviate the ever-growing threat of a spill in the Straits of Mackinac as a result of Line 5, and therefore, reaffirm the fact that the State of Michigan should immediately begin legal proceedings against Enbridge to terminate the easement that allows for a pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.  

MEC also has the following concerns or comments on the reports:


Michigan Environmental Council Commends Governor Snyder for Vetoing Bad Ballast Water Bill

“Michigan Environmental Council applauds Governor Snyder’s decision to veto HB 5095 which would have weakened Michigan’s ballast water regulation and increased the risk of new invasive species being brought into Michigan’s waters,” said MEC Policy Director James Clift.