Pages tagged "Surface Water"
Budget investments show averting climate, water crises a continued priority
On Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer laid out her proposed state budget, with billions of dollars in investments for climate resiliency, clean water, land and wildlife protection, and more.
Among the largest environmental investments are $1.65 billion for climate and clean energy, $1.12 billion for clean water, $340.11 million for health and justice, and $120.63 million for land and wildlife protection.
Charlotte Jameson, chief policy officer for the Michigan Environmental Council, issues the following statement in response.Read more
Letter: Why we oppose a Camp Grayling expansion
Camp Grayling is the largest National Guard training facility in the United States. What was once was the property of a lumber baron is now 230 square miles of government-owned land in the center of northern Michigan.
When the land was bought a century ago, it was covered in beautiful forests, the sprawling Lake Margrethe, and the pristine Au Sable Manistee rivers.
Much of those trees and all of those waters still exist, intermingled with buildings, roads, and other military training infrastructure. But Camp Grayling's nature is not fully protected from additional development and the pollution that might come with it. That makes an unclear, proposed expansion of the facility all the more risky.Read more
Michigan is most prone to septic pollution. Bill considers solutions
Over half of Michiganders use septic systems on their property to dispose of their waste. Yet, only a fraction of them live in a county that helps keep those systems from polluting our land and water.
A bill in the Michigan Legislature would change that by establishing a statewide septic inspection program. All other states have some form of system in place.Read more
Budget investments show averting climate, water crises a priority
On Wednesday morning, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer rolled out a proposal for the largest state budget in history, with billions of dollars being dedicated toward natural resource protection, clean energy, clean water and climate resiliency.
Among the largest environmental investments are $1.22 billion for clean water; $593 million for climate, clean energy and mobility; and $403 million in natural resource protections.
Charlotte Jameson, chief policy officer of the Michigan Environmental Council, issued the following statement in response.Read more
Another Lackluster Plan Won’t Fix Lake Erie
In early December, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and leaders from departments of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Nature Resources (DNR), and Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) announced an adaptive management plan to tackle harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.Read more
Friends of the Rouge: Fighting floods with gardens & barrels
This blog post is the first in of "Bellringers," a quarterly series highlighting the major accomplishments of Michigan Environmental Council member groups.
When torrential rain hit Sandra Turner-Handy’s Detroit home in late June, her basement was immediately flooded.
She spent the next few days pumping out water, throwing out furniture, fixing a busted water heater and, worst of all, discarding the personal keepsakes of her late mother.
Then came two other “once-a-century” storms.Read more
2021 Petoskey Prize Winner: Karen Harrison
This summer, Karen Harrison has watched flowers bloom, frogs plop into water and salamanders waddle across grass from her backyard against the Au Sable River. Then, as summer turns to fall turns to winter, she’ll watch the tree foliage fall away, and in that newfound emptiness, she will take in the full scope of the river, a ribbon of cerulean cutting against the white.
It is this dynamism that Harrison loves best about the Au Sable and the Upper Manistee Rivers some three miles away. The rivers and the worlds in miniature they create perpetually, subtly move and change over the days and seasons.Read more
Michigan Environmental Council on Sen. Carl Levin’s passing
The Michigan Environmental Council is saddened by the passing of Sen. Carl Levin. As a Detroit native, he was a strong advocate of Michigan’s environmental issues, social justice issues and serving his hometown from acting as the co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Taskforce to securing millions in funding to create the Detroit Riverwalk which is now one of the country’s premier city riverfronts.
Sen. Levin possessed the kind of qualities we aspire to have including integrity, transparency and accountability. The legacy of his leadership and his advocacy of the environment will continue with the countless individuals he inspired throughout his career, including MEC staff.Read more
'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.Read more
Coal ash's impacts on water and health, revealed
As utility companies work to make their plans for carbon neutrality reality, they’ll need to clean up their acts on coal ash to truly protect Michiganders from fossil fuels’ threats to public health and the environment.
A new report by the Michigan Environmental Council reveals that, despite what some utility companies say, the 1.45 million tons of coal ash – the toxic byproduct of coal – produced each year in the Great Lake state is not always safely stored.
The report’s co-writers – MEC energy program director Charlotte Jameson and MEC energy policy specialist Abby Wallace – found that 12 the 15 coal ash sites with publicly available monitoring data had contaminated groundwater with toxic chemicals far above state and federal standards.
That puts the Great Lakes, rivers, groundwater and people living near coal plants at risk from toxic chemicals in coal ash, like lead, arsenic and mercury.
The report also found that the majority of the acres-long and meters-deep coal ash storage “ponds” are unlined, and one in Grand Haven flooded recently due to high water levels.
“MEC’s research shows the trend in groundwater contamination from coal ash has not substantially improved and that unlined coal ash ponds, even where a substantial clay underlayer exists, have been leaching toxic chemicals into our water for decades,” said Jameson. “We cannot fully protect our water and our health in Michigan if we remain dependent on coal-powered energy. We must swiftly close their plants; properly remediate their pollution; and transition to clean, renewable energy sources.”
“Holland. Marquette. River Rouge. Essexville. These are cities where utilities’ coal ash sites have contaminated groundwater with arsenic and lead significantly above health and environmental protection standards,” Wallace said. “Utilities must close coal ash ponds and remediate nearby groundwater to protect and give justice to the vulnerable communities around them.”
A 2021 Harvard University study noted one in five people worldwide may die from fossil fuel pollution, said Casey Patnode, a doctoral and public health student at the University of Michigan and founding member of Medical Students for a Sustainable Future.
“I’ve seen many patients come into the ER in respiratory arrest,” Patnode said. “I wonder how many of them would not have had to experience these situations if it wasn’t for the pollutants in their environment. Coal and coal ash must go completely for people to be truly safe from fossil fuels' debilitating effects, from developmental delays to cancer. We, at a population level, are on the precipice of being in this type of arrest and we need urgent action to prevent this."
MEC’s 2021 coal ash report was peer-reviewed by Earthjustice. It is an extension of a 2018 coal ash report.