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  • published Keep septic regulations in place 2019-05-13 12:33:39 -0400

    Keep septic regulations in place

    Michigan Environmental Council and our partner organizations have been working for years to create a statewide septic code that will require the periodic testing and inspections of septic systems. Every other state in the nation has a statewide septic code, except the Great Lake State. Only 11 counties in Michigan currently exercise some oversight of septics, including Kalkaska. Kalkaska county has a Point of Sale ordinance for their septic systems, and because of this ordinance, residents of Kalkaska are less vulnerable to human waste loaded with pathogens like E.coli entering into their drinking water.

    Unfortunately, the Kalkaska County Board of Health recently voted to repeal the Point of Sale septic program. The repeal now goes before 10 county Board of Commissioners for approval or rejection. These counties include Crawford, Kalkaska, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Missaukee, Newaygo, Oceana, and Wexford County. Since we do not have a statewide septic code, we must keep the few existing regulations on septics in place to protect the health and safety of Michiganders.


    This regulation is an important step in making sure the residents of Michigan are protected from dangerous water contamination. We will not be able to fix what we are not looking for, which is why it is imperative that the Board of Commissioners hears from you and keeps the Point of Sale septic inspection in place.

  • House Leadership Slashes Funding for Programs that Protect our Water, Land, and Public Health

    LANSING - The House appropriations subcommittee passed out their fiscal year 2020 budget for the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on a party line vote. In their budget, House Republican leadership took a hatchet to programs that protect Michiganders from environmental and public health threats by cutting an astounding $9 million from Governor Whitmer’s proposal. This comes in sharp contrast to what Senate Republicans supported in their budget for the departments, which included $120 million in general funds for EGLE. Michigan Environmental Council released the following statement in opposition:

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  • 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:

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  • Senate Bill Introduced to Natural Resources Committee Threatens Wetlands, Lakes, and Streams

    On Wednesday, November 28, the Senate Natural Resources Committee heard testimony on SB 1211 introduced by Senator Tom Casperson. Michigan Environmental Council, as well as many other environmental organizations, are strongly opposed to this bill. SB 1211 will completely overhaul how Michigan’s wetlands, inland lakes and streams are regulated by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Currently, Michigan is one of two states with delegated authority from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to administer the Clean Water Act. Michigan’s program is already noncompliant with federal standards, and SB 1211 will push us further out of compliance. The result is increased degradation of our water quality and the elimination of lakes and wetlands vital for ecological health and outdoor recreation. Michigan Environmental Council released the following statement in response:

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  • Here are some voting tips plus one change you'll see on the ballot this year

    On Tuesday, November 6, Election Day will finally be here. With Michigan’s environment facing threats on multiple fronts, strong leadership is more important now than ever. We understand that taking just an hour out of your day to go vote can be difficult, so here are some helpful tips to make your Election Day a good one!

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  • New Agriculture Proposal Threatens the Health of Michigan’s Public and Environment

    LANSING - Starting in 2019, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has proposed to no longer consider local zoning when determining the location of livestock operations under the Generally Accepted Agriculture Management Practices (GAAMPs). GAAMPs are voluntary farming guidelines established under the Right to Farm Act. If followed, GAAMPs afford farm operators protections from nuisance complaints and lawsuits from neighbors. Under current GAAMP standards, MDARD considers local zoning ordinances when evaluating locations for livestock operation placements. Under the proposed changes, however, MDARD would not consider such information. Michigan Environmental Council and the Michigan Townships Association released the following statement in regards to this proposal:

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  • The Price of Power: DTE Energy’s new proposal could mean much higher bills for Michiganders

    On July 3, DTE Energy filed a rate case with the Michigan Public Service Commission. If it is approved, it would increase electricity bills for DTE residential customers by $240 per year by 2022.

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  • commented on Governor Debate 2018-10-15 14:59:27 -0400

    What do you want to ask our next governor?

    On October 24, Gretchen Whitmer and Bill Schuette will face off in their final debate before the election. Got anything you'd like to ask them on the environment? Submit your questions here!

    Michigan Environmental Council will collect your questions and send the top ones to the producers of the debate. From Line 5 to PFAS, there are many environmental concerns in Michigan that must be addressed. What do you want to hear the candidates speak on before you go to the polls on November 6?

    It's time to ask the hard-hitting questions. After submitting, please share this with your friends and family with #ShapeTheDebate!

    Send your question(s)

  • published Contaminated water in our backyard in News 2018-08-24 12:37:34 -0400

    Contaminated water in our backyard

    Growing up in a community like Rockford, Michigan, it’s easy to take a lot of things for granted. It felt safe and welcoming, and the idea that my family or neighbors could be drinking toxic water never crossed my mind. Then, one weekend while I was home from college, my Mom told me that I couldn’t drink from the tap, explaining why we had an unusually large amount of bottled water in the house.

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  • published Cultivating a Better Future in News 2018-08-10 15:17:04 -0400

    Cultivating a better future: how Michigan farmers can help prevent algae blooms

    Over the past few weeks, we have shared with you parts one and two of our plan to combat nuisance and toxic algae blooms. Today, we have the final installment which focuses on better practices for both crop and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

    We saved the best (or worst) for last because, simply put, runoff from agricultural operations is the main contributor to the algae blooms occurring in Lake Erie and all around the Great Lakes Basin. The runoff from both CAFOs and crop operations feed nuisance and toxic algae blooms, and despite the state spending millions of dollars trying to address this problem, we’ve seen only marginal improvements over the past decade.

    Help us fight algae blooms. Sign this petition and urge Governor Snyder and the State Legislature to take action now.

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  • endorsed 2018-08-02 09:39:25 -0400

    Vote for Water Pledge

    Add your name to the list of those taking action to protect Michigan's water at the upcoming election.

    What makes the Great Lakes Michigan's most valuable natural resource? You could list facts about this all day long, such as how the lakes provide 40 million people with drinking water and 1.5 million jobs. But to a Michigander, you can’t sum up what the Great Lakes are worth with statistics. We know these lakes are priceless. So when you cast your vote in the upcoming August 7 primary, remember to Vote for Water.

    Who we choose to elect has a direct impact on the waters of Michigan. Our Great Lakes and inland waterways are currently facing a multitude of serious threats that need to be addressed. We urge you to keep these in mind during this election cycle:

    1. Algae Blooms - At their best, algae blooms foul our waters and make them a sickly green color, but at their worst, algae blooms can contain toxic cyanobacteria which contaminates our drinking water and closes beaches.
    2. Drinking Water Contamination - Michigan’s drinking water is threatened by pollution. In 2017, 71 water systems had higher lead levels than Flint and there are 35 sites and counting that have been identified with PFAS contamination.
    3. Aging Septic Systems - There are over 100,000 septic systems leaking over 30 million gallons of raw sewage into our groundwater every day. This waste pollutes our rivers, streams, and lakes and is loaded with pathogens like E. coli that threaten the health of Michigan residents.
    4. Line 5 - Every day, 23 million gallons of oil flow through a 65-year-old pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. A recent study found that a spill from this pipeline could pollute up to 400 miles of Great Lakes shoreline and would cost the state nearly $1.9 billion to clean up.
    5. Plastics - 22 million pounds of plastic enter the Great Lakes every year, and once it’s in our water, it never goes away. Instead, it breaks down into “microplastics” that get into our drinking water supply.
    6. Invasive Species – More than 180 invasive and non-native species have entered the Great Lakes, wreaking havoc on their ecosystem. These intruders, like the parasitic sea lamprey, outcompete native species, degrade habitats and disrupt food-webs which ultimately affects Michigan’s fishing, agriculture and tourism industries.

    This list could go on, but you get the point. The waters of Michigan are being attacked on multiple fronts. One of the greatest ways you can help protect them is by voting in the August 7 primary with these issues in mind. Pledge to Vote for Water now - and share this page with your friends and family with #VoteForWater.


  • Plugging the Leak: Help us keep raw sewage out of our waters

    So far in our three-part plan to combat toxic algae blooms we have shared with you how healthy soil leads to clean water. In this installment, we share part two of our plan: a statewide septic code.

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  • published Algae Blooms Petition in Toxic Algae Blooms 2018-07-12 14:44:57 -0400

    Stop Toxic Algae Blooms

    To Governor Snyder and the State Legislature:

    To stop toxic algae blooms, state leaders need to create comprehensive policies that protect our waterways from nutrient dumping. These annual blooms pose a serious public health threat to the residents of Michigan, damage local businesses dependent on tourism, and harm important ecosystems. Michigan has been plagued by these algae blooms for over a decade and enough is enough, restrictions must be placed on those polluting our waters. 

    For every summer over the past decade, the western basin of Lake Erie has been plagued by toxic algae blooms that threaten drinking water sources, pose a risk to human and animal health, and damage the tourism economy of the region. Despite state and federal agencies pouring millions of dollars into this issue, we have seen minimal improvements. On July 12, 2018, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their final forecast of the season predicting what we and the lake are in for this summer.

    Based on their findings, NOAA and their research partners expect to see another harmful algal bloom of toxic cyanobacteria this summer in Lake Erie. NOAA predicts this bloom will be smaller than the one in 2017, but larger than the one seen in 2016.

    The cause of these blooms in western Lake Erie is not a mystery and the solutions aren’t either. An overabundance of nitrogen and phosphorus, primarily from agricultural lands, feeds these explosive and, at times, toxic blooms. Michigan has largely relied upon farmers voluntarily adopting better practices to mitigate the amount of pollution entering western Lake Erie but this strategy clearly is not enough.

    Take action today: sign our petition to call for stronger protection for Lake Erie against toxic algal blooms

    While agricultural runoff remains the main source of pollution into Lake Erie, it is not the sole contributor. Some of the nutrient loading comes from point source pollution, such as wastewater treatment plants or factories. However, unlike the agricultural sector, Michigan required these industries to cut their pollution. The state also banned the use of phosphorus in fertilizer on homeowner’s lawns. While this is a step in the right direction, until we seriously address runoff from agricultural lands, harmful and toxic algal blooms will continue to make news in Lake Erie.

    The Great Lakes play a central role in the state’s economy, ecological health, and charm, but these natural gems are currently being threatened by excess nutrient runoff. It is easy to want to protect beautiful Lake Michigan or impressive Lake Superior, but we at the Michigan Environmental Council want to challenge our supporters to not forget about Lake Erie. 

    We hope to demonstrate that it is not hopeless for Lake Erie; the problem IS solvable. But we need your support to make these policy solutions a reality. Sign our petition today to ensure that state leaders are held accountable for protecting Lake Erie. And share the petition with your network to get the word out and push for swift action to save the lake.

    See our three-part plan to break the cycle of algae blooms here:

    Part One: Digging Deeper: How can healthy soil lead to clean water?

    Part Two: Plugging the Leak: Help us keep raw sewage out of our waters

    Part Three: Cultivating a better Future: How Michigan farmers can help prevent algae blooms

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