Michigan Environmental Report

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

'Troubled Water': a film of Great Lakes love, hope & action

It’s June 10, early morning. William Wright and Chris Yahanda wake up on a beach somewhere at Wilderness State Park. A few miles away, Lakes Huron and Michigan meet. They eat breakfast with the gulls and lapping waves.

Then, as the sunrise breaks, Wright and Yahanda break out their paddleboards. They wade into the water’s shallows, kneeling on their vessels as if in prayer. Then, once the sandbar drops, they stand and use long paddles to travel south, their feet a minnow’s height from the surface. Their friend, Davis Huber, films them from a boat.

It was the second day of these three friends' 425-mile journey from the Mackinac Bridge above Lake Michigan to, eventually, the Lansing shorelines of the Grand River.

Gov.'s $250 million park investment the 'booster shot' we need

On Thursday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a massive, $250 million investment in state parks and outdoor recreation across Michigan. 

The budget proposal would direct funds to eliminate the massive backlog in state parks maintenance as more people than ever use them. The investment, in turn, would:

  • Strengthen Michigan's outdoor recreation economy, which provides 232,000 jobs across the state;
  • Help millions of residents and tourists alike make the most of the outdoors; and
  • Free up state funds (some of which regularly went toward state park maintenance) for local communities and organizations to invest in their own park projects

Consumers Energy summer rates a plus for residents, wallets & environment

In May, Consumers Energy rolled out a new summer rate for its residential customers. From June to September, Consumers residential customers will pay about 15 cents a kilowatt-hour between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 cents a kilowatt-hour at all other times. 

The change prompted some scary headlines like  “Consumers Energy electricity rate increases 50% during peak hours.” But the real story is this new summer rate – called a peak rate or time of use rate – is a proven strategy to help us save money on our utility bills and protect our environment. Here's how.

Groups to EGLE: Count ALL smog to save lives

A group of 13 organizations urged the state to protect West Michiganders from the heart and lung diseases smog exacerbates in a recent public comment filing.

The group, led by the Michigan Environmental Council, urged the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to allow Allegan, Berrien and parts of Muskegon counties' ozone (aka, smog) air readings to stand as recorded. Readings exceed safe smog levels for public health and, as such, would make the areas fail to meet air pollution standards. 

Under House GOP budget, say 'So long' to parks, pollution protections

In April, Michigan House Republicans set forth budgets that, if approved, would send our state into a tailspin of instability, threatening the lives and livelihoods of Michiganders in every political district.

House Bills 4395 and 4397 passed out of the Michigan Legislature with only Republican approval, and not all Republicans at that. If made law, the Departments of Natural Resources (MDNR) and Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) would only be able to function about 12 weeks at a time on budgets 25% of what they are now.

We need lead-free school funding in our next budget

Neither Michigan Senate or House FY22 school budgets included a $55 million appropriation in grants for schools to install and maintain filtered water fountains with bottle fillers and, in some cases, on-tap filters.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s FY21 supplemental appropriation recommended funding this critical program, which would protect nearly 1.5 million children and tens of thousands of adults from lead exposure from their school’s drinking water.

Water infrastructure bills would protect our health and environment

The Michigan Senate Environmental Quality Committee passed a bipartisan bill package in 6-0-1 vote today that would make Michigan’s water cleaner and create thousands of jobs, all without taxpayer dollars.

Over $293 million in water infrastructure grants for local governments and residents would be available through a budget appropriation recommendation by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer through her MI Clean Water Plan and bolstered by Sens. Rick Outman’s (R-Six Lakes) and Paul Wojno’s (D-Warren) Senate Bills 319 and 320.

Denby: A Detroit neighborhood by and for the people

As the bright March sunlight hinted at warmer days, Sandra Turner-Handy took a walk around her block to hand out yard signs.

Turner-Handy lives in Denby, a neighborhood in east Detroit with a few thousand residents, hundreds of quaint brick homes, an Art Deco high school and a $1.5 million park.

It was at this park, Skinner Park, the Detroit Tigers stopped at during their pre-Opening Day tour, an event those yard signs promoted. Despite the rain, families from Denby and nearby Yorkshire Woods came to meet the Tigers, jam to a drumline, chow down and get baseball equipment.

Turner-Handy — engagement director for the Michigan Environmental Council and leader of the Denby Neighborhood Alliance — was thrilled, and not just because she’s an avid Tigers fan. The club chose Skinner Park out of 308 official Detroit parks. It was symbolic, proof Skinner was a focal point for the community.