Michigan Environmental Report

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

MEC submits comments on NPDES wastewater permit for CAFOs

The Michigan Environmental Council and undersigned organizations submit the following comments [to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy] on the Draft 2020 National Pollutant Discharge Eliminations System (NPDES) Wastewater Discharge General Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.

The CAFO NPDES permit is an important tool in combating excessive nutrient and bacterial loading in Michigan's waters and we appreciate the opportunity to comment on the draft language. Contrary to the assertions by industry groups, the draft permit represents critical steps forward for increasing the environmental standards for permitted entities. We also strongly support the increased reporting requirements outlined in the draft permit. Increased reporting and tracking is foundational to establishing long-term environmental sustainability and accountability for the industry and, up until this draft permit, lacked the robustness to protect Michigan's waters. The following comments pertain to several of the most significant and high priority changes within the draft permit.


Bottle Bill legislation reforms address plastic pollution and make returns easier

Today, Kalamazoo lawmakers Rep. Jon Hoadley and Sen. Sean McCann introduced legislation that will modernize Michigan’s Bottle Bill to uphold the spirit of the law that was overwhelming adopted by Michigan voters 40 years ago to address pollution in our rivers and streams. Changes include expanding the deposit to all beverages except dairy, and requiring universal redemption so Michigan consumers can take back all their bottles to wherever they chose.


Conflicts of interest plague review panel decisions on PFAS water protections

Public health, community, and environmental groups call for transparency, ask member with financial stake in outcome to recuse himself 

The Environmental Rules Review Committee (ERRC) -- created in 2018 by the Republican-led legislature and signed into law by Governor Snyder -- is heavily dominated by representatives from industry and the regulated community. Members of the ERRC are likely to have direct, financial conflicts of interest during their service on the Committee depending on which rule set is being taken up. Despite disclosure of conflicts of interest and recusal from decision-making being common good governance procedures, the legislature did not include these requirements in the statute that created the ERRC.


Manistee County Commissioners applauded for upholding water protection ordinance

The Manistee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted 5-1 to reject a proposal to repeal the Kalkaska point of sale septic inspection ordinance. Michigan Environmental Council applauds this vote as a major victory for residents concerned about failing septic systems contaminating water in the region. Over 100,000 failing septic systems in Michigan discharge an estimated 30 million gallons of sewage into our water everyday because Michigan does not have a comprehensive inspection system for septics. 


Michigan mourns passing of Gov. William Milliken

“The 37 million acres that are Michigan is all the Michigan we will ever have.”  -- Governor William Milliken


MEC applauds bipartisan ‘Filter First’ legislation to protect children from lead in drinking water

Legislation introduced today by a bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers would protect children from exposure to toxic lead in drinking water by implementing a ‘Filter First” strategy in Michigan schools and daycare centers. The legislation would place filters at the point of use: both installing filtered faucets and water bottle filling stations and installing on-tap filters in sinks where water is used for human consumption, like school kitchens.


Community activists earn state’s top environmental awards

MEC to honor Rhonda Anderson & Lynn McIntosh for protecting public health in their communities and beyond

Rhonda Anderson, Detroit resident and Sierra Club organizer, has been named the recipient of Michigan’s highest environmental award in recognition of her role in advocating for the health of Southwest Detroit residents.

Anderson is joined by Lynn McIntosh, a Rockford resident who blew the whistle on the health threats of PFAS in the water caused by Wolverine Worldwide’s tannery near her home.

The pair will be recognized at the Michigan Environmental Council’s 21th Annual Environmental Awards Celebration on Thursday, September 26, 2019, at the Rattlesnake Club in Detroit.


DTE plan reveals flaws showing bias against clean renewable energy

DTE Energy today submitted their integrated resource plan -- a proposed long-term energy plan -- to the Michigan Public Service Commission, and community and environmental organizations urged them to reject it. 

Michigan Environmental Council is a formal intervener in MPSC proceedings, committed to ensuring Michigan’s transition to clean energy is equitable and delivers the best possible deal for residential ratepayers. We released the following statement regarding DTE's IRP: