Michigan Environmental Report

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

Key groups left out of Council of Future Mobility and Electrification

Weeks after kicking off her carbon neutrality plan for Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer created a critical mobility council Thursday that included no environmental, transit or non-motorized leaders.

Michigan Environmental Council, Transportation Riders United and Environmental Law & Policy Center are calling on Gov. Whitmer to add at least one seat to the Michigan Council on Future Mobility and Electrification designated for the aforementioned leadership.

Water shutoff moratorium bill must pass to protect public health, say 16 orgs

A 16-member assembly of water rights, social justice and environmental organizations and impacted Michigan residents urged Michigan’s Senators to take up and pass, as soon as possible, a bill that would protect public health by ensuring access to clean water and sanitation for all during a global pandemic.

A substitute version of Senate Bill 241, introduced by Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) would require water utilities to turn water service back on to all customers and place a moratorium on residential drinking and sanitary water shutoffs until Jan. 1, 2021. 

House bill throws cold water on warming electric vehicle market

A bill passed out of committee Wednesday would put the brakes on Michigan’s burgeoning electric vehicle market.

The Michigan House Government Operations Committee passed House Bill 6233, sponsored by Rep. Jason Sheppard (R-Lambertville), in a 3-1-1 vote. The bill would prohibit vehicle manufacturers from selling their vehicles directly to consumers. These manufacturers would also be unable to service their vehicles in Michigan and conduct test rides.

Access to residential solar stymied by continued legislative inaction

During its Tuesday session, the Michigan Senate Energy Committee continued to delay urgently needed action that ensures small-scale solar has a future in Michigan.

The Committee unanimously approved two resolutions encouraging the Michigan Public Service Commission to undertake studies on integrating resident-owned generation options - such as rooftop solar - into the electric grid. 

The resolutions, however, do nothing to lift the cap Michigan currently has on small-scale solar, said Charlotte Jameson, program director at Michigan Environmental Council

MEC’s annual event speaker: Angelou Ezeilo, guide for underrepresented youth

By 2050, the plans of many politicians, cities, states and nations to overcome the worst of climate change will conclude.

By then, the Earth will likely be more than 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industry times, the mark at which many nations sought to cap global warming during the Paris Accord. 

Meanwhile, the communities that have for so long borne the brunt of environmental injustice — our Asian, Black, Brown, Indigenous and Latinx communities — will make up the majority of America’s population.

Coalition files motion in support of livestock pollution protections

On Thursday, a coalition of eight Great Lakes region organizations filed a motion in support of the area’s people, water and wildlife. 

Michigan Environmental Council, Environmental Law & Policy Center and other partners seek to legally intervene in the 2020 Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation general permit contested by Michigan Farm Bureau and livestock commodity groups.

Organization forms to improve economic, environmental conditions for farms

Tuesday marked the launch of an organization aimed at improving the economic and environmental conditions hindering Michigan farms.

Michigan Agriculture Advancement, or MiAA, will advocate for statewide policies and programs that promote farm prosperity, weather resiliency, water quality and rural economies. Michigan Environmental Council will be a strong supporter of its efforts.

MEC’s 2020 Petoskey Prize Winner: Gary Rayburn, Pine River protector

Don a coat and walk to the Pine River’s edge in Gratiot County during Michigan’s winter months and you’d think the Pine River “was the most wonderful river in the world,” said Gary Rayburn.

Gary Rayburn is not fooled, though. The high E. coli levels are always there. And when the weather warms, the algae rise from the depths, a thick, neon green sign of nutrient overload from manure runoff.