Michigan Environmental Report

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

Michigan Environmental Council supports Mayor Duggan’s vision for Detroit, but strongly believes the Office of Sustainability must be a part of it

While Mayor Mike Duggan did address some important issues facing Detroit in his State of the City address last night, he failed to recognize the importance of the Office of Sustainability. The Office of Sustainability’s goal is to create a long-term vision for the city of Detroit, one where public health and the environment are of paramount importance and protected for years to come. Michigan Environmental Council released the following statement in response:

Gov. Whitmer demonstrates commitment to clean water and public health in budget

Michigan Environmental Council and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters today applauded Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s budget proposal, which puts the health of Michigan’s air, Great Lakes and communities first by supporting dedicated funds to clean up the thousands of contaminated sites across Michigan as well as funding programs that ensure Michiganders have clean air and drinking water.

Join us to call for an end to lead poisoning in Michigan

Lead poisoning is entirely preventable, and ending lead poisoning in Michigan is an achievable goal. It is a top priority for us, and one we are sharing with the Michigan Legislature and state government leaders.

We invite you to join us in Lansing on March 14 to call for an end to lead poisoning in Michigan. Lead Education Day is your chance to let your Representative and Senator know that ending lead poisoning is a top priority for you too.

Michigan Environmental Council applauds AG Nessel for protecting residential ratepayers from unreasonable rate increases

LANSING - Today, February 26, Attorney General Dana Nessel filed testimony in strong opposition to an outstanding rate case submitted by the Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO). If approved as filed, UPPCO’s proposal would increase electricity rates for UP customers by nearly $10 million. Michigan Environmental Council released the following statement in support of AG Nessel’s testimony:

Averting disaster: a deep dive into the lame duck wetlands bill

The 2018 legislative lame duck session was bad for the environment. On their way out of office, term-limited lawmakers pushed through a number of terrible laws that remove or restrict natural resource protections. But their impacts could have been much worse. Many of these passed statutes started as bills that packed even greater environmental destruction.

Their change for the better owes to strong lobbying and down-to-the-wire negotiating by the Michigan Environmental Council, in consultation with several partner organizations.

Just how this collaboration helped influence policy-making is illustrated in the evolution of Senate Bill 1211—disastrous wetlands legislation intended to remove protections for 600,000 acres of Michigan wetlands and around 4,500 inland lakes.

MEC leadership changes: You can count on MEC in the Capitol

A letter from MEC Policy Director James Clift --

I am excited to announce that, after nearly 20 years with Michigan Environmental Council, I have been offered and am accepting a new position with the State of Michigan as the Senior Great Lakes Advisor to Liesl Clark, the Director of the Department of Environment Quality (soon to become the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy). This is an incredible opportunity to build on the work that has been my lifeblood at MEC for nearly two decades and a chance to be impactful and intimately engaged in the administration’s critical decision-making on water issues. I will be assuming the post in a little less than a week.

As you may know, this comes on the heels of the departure of our President, Chris Kolb, who left MEC to become the governor's Budget Director. While this amount of leadership change can be difficult for an organization to absorb, I leave MEC knowing that it remains strong, with a team of smart and enthusiastic leaders who are ready to step up, and a passionate Board of Directors who are eager to help usher the organization into the next phase.

Major Reorganization for Environmental Quality Offices is Good Sign for Michigan’s Environment

LANSING - Today, February 4, the Whitmer administration issued multiple executive directives which will result in a major reorganization of Michigan’s environmental quality departments and needed progress in tackling PFAS contamination and climate change. The Governor’s office announced that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will be replaced by a new department called the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, which will include a new Office of Energy and Climate Change and will bring back the Office of the Great Lakes from the Department of Natural Resources. The directives also highlight the Governor’s commitment to promoting environmental justice and public health with the establishment of an Interagency Environmental Justice Response Team and the Office of the Environmental Justice Public Advocate. The Michigan Environmental Council had the following to say in support:

Governor Whitmer Promotes Transparency in New Freedom of Information Act Executive Directive

LANSING - Today, February 1, Governor Whitmer issued an executive directive (ED) that makes it clear that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is important to her administration and encourages state departments to work with residents who request information. The ED includes ways in which state departments could enhance their transparency, including holding more publically accessible meetings. It also asks for departments to name a liaison who will provide assistance for people navigating the FOIA process and to create advocates in transparency when available. Michigan Environmental Council issued the following statement in support: