Michigan Environmental Report

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

MEC building closed in response to COVID-19 public health recommendations

Michigan Environmental Council has closed its physical Lansing office to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus COVID-19, following guidance from the state of Michigan and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Michigan environmental and community groups urge ERRC to adopt PFAS drinking water standards

On Thursday, February 27 the Environmental Rules Review Committee (ERRC) will meet at 1 PM to vote on the draft rules that set limits for PFAS in drinking water. Under Michigan law the ERRC can vote to approve the draft rules, approve the draft rules with modification, or reject the draft rules. The ERRC vote comes after a month-long public comment period during which thousands of Michigan residents weighed in to support the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s effort to adopt PFAS drinking water standards. Environmental and community groups issued the following statements urging the ERRC to approve the draft rules as is.

MEC statement on Senate rejection of science educator for NRC appointment

Today, the Michigan Senate voted 20-16 to reject Anna Mitterling’s appointment to the Natural Resources Commission.

Michigan Environmental Council and Michigan Trout Unlimited issued the following statement in response:

“Today, Senate leadership voted down a very well-qualified appointee to the Natural Resources Commission reputedly because she uses sound science to guide her policy decisions,” said Michigan Environmental Council President and CEO Conan Smith. “If Michigan is to successfully manage the crises facing our deer and other game populations -- threats such as chronic wasting disease, habitat loss, and a changing climate -- it is simply unacceptable to ignore scientific principles in favor of emotion and politics. We must use the best research available to guide our decisions so that our conservation heritage is protected.”

MEC praises $10 million for Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund

Today Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s second executive budget was released. It included $10 million for a new Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund to protect Michigan families from lead in their homes. Michigan Environmental Council released the following statement in support of this funding recommendation:

“We applaud Governor Whitmer’s creative proposal to invest $10 million to unlock private capital and get low interest loans in the hands of residents who simply can't afford the high cost of making their home lead safe,” said Tina Reynolds, Michigan Environmental Council Program Director for Environmental Health.

MEC applauds 100% renewable energy bills

Legislation introduced today by Representative Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) and Senator Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) would set a 100% renewable energy standard by 2050 for Michigan, requiring utilities to get 100% of their energy from renewable sources by 2050. Achieving 100% renewable energy is a critical and necessary step to curb toxic air and water pollution and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Judge says DTE plan falls short

Today an Administrative Law Judge issued a 197-page opinion recommending the Michigan Public Service Commission insist on major revisions to DTE Energy’s “Integrated Resource Plan” – a long range energy plan that lays out how DTE will meet Michigan's energy needs going forward. Environmental and consumer advocates, including the Michigan Environmental Council, argued successfully that DTE’s proposed plan undervalued energy efficiency and renewables while also unnecessarily lengthen the life of old, expensive coal plants.

Recommendation looms for DTE Energy plan that advocates and the public have called to reject

Advocates from across Michigan have been calling on the Michigan Public Service Commission to reject DTE Energy’s long-term energy plan as the the case surrounding the plan comes to a close. On Friday, the judge overseeing the case will share her reading of the case and propose a recommendation to the Michigan Public Service Commission, which will give the final ruling early next year. 

To date, more than 3,300 Michigan residents have submitted public comments and over 150 people attended the public hearing in June, the vast majority urging the Commission to reject DTE’s plan. 

In addition, various health, environmental, conservation and clean energy advocates have also worked to raise awareness of the shortcomings of DTE’s plan and mobilized customers to make their voices heard.

MEC applauds Governor Whitmer's deer baiting veto

Yesterday, Governor Whitmer vetoed House Bill 4687, an anti-science bill that would have allowed deer baiting, risking the further spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Michigan Environmental Council released this statement of support:

"We thank Governor Whitmer for standing up for science and vetoing this legislation. Science has shown that anything short of a full ban on deer baiting will not help slow the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease," said Sean Hammond, Michigan Environmental Council Policy Director. "CWD is the largest threat facing our deer population, putting at risk Michigan's outdoor conservation economy. The spread of CWD also creates potential risks to public health, as more exposures increase the risk of spreading to humans as Mad Cow has in the past. We cannot afford to take those risks."