Environment Picture

Michigan Environmental Report

Winter 2010

Vol. 28 Issue 1

MEC wins $86 million refund for Consumers Energy customers

Thousands of Michigan electric customers will receive refunds from Consumers Energy, courtesy of the Michigan Environmental Council’s successful legal challenge to the utility. The utility collected $86 million from a surcharge designed for the decommissioning of the Big Rock nuclear plant near Charlevoix. The money was funneled into its operating expenses inappropriately, MEC argued.
View Article2010-03-03  •  Winter 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report

Economic gardening: Looking within rather than outside for Michigan’s recovery

Michigan is, by right, obsessed with economic development. The convoluted array of incentive and subsidy programs we’ve built to lure new firms or build new industries is substantial, to say the least. But the theory underlying most of these traditional economic development tools is changing. The shift—one with serious potential for environmental and community-minded folks—is fundamentally moving away from traditional “smokestack chasing” models toward what’s been dubbed “economic gardening.”
View Article2010-03-03  •  Winter 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: land use

Obama nominates former MEC chief Lana Pollack to International Joint Commission

Former Michigan Environmental Council President Lana Pollack has been appointed by President Barack Obama as nominee for Commissioner on the International Joint Commission.
View Article2010-03-01  •  Winter 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: water protection

President's Column: Scared? Sure, but state needs vision, not fear mongering, to lead us out of the economic abyss

In real estate, it’s location, location, location. In politics today, it’s jobs, jobs, jobs. Not necessarily green jobs, not clean tech jobs, just plain jobs, jobs, jobs.
View Article2010-03-01  •  Winter 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: legislation

Bell ringers! Environmental successes won in recent weeks

In each issue of the Michigan Environmental Report, we celebrate accomplishments by MEC and member groups.
View Article2010-03-02  •  Winter 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report

Weatherization and energy efficiency are back and as sexy as ever!

A small army of students, advocates and contractors armed themselves with caulk guns, door sweeps and compact fluorescent light bulbs one crisp December afternoon. Their mission—accomplished—was to install weatherization kits and educate Lansing residents on the benefits of conservation.
View Article2010-03-02  •  Winter 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: energy efficiency

Lake Michigan wind farm plan generates angst, highlights work of Wind Council

Norwegian developers are proposing the state’s first offshore wind farm in Lake Michigan near Pentwater. The plan, for up to 200 turbines within two miles of Silver Lake sand dunes, has generated controversy statewide. Developer Scandia Wind Offshore LLC recently announced it was cutting the project size in half and moving it farther offshore in response to criticism. Although Scandia has not submitted any formal proposal for the wind farm, its publicity has brought the issue to the forefront of public discussion.
View Article2010-03-03  •  Winter 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: clean energy, wind power

Smoking ban becomes law May 1; here’s what you’ll need to know

A new Michigan law banning smoking at bars, restaurants, and all other worksites, with the exception of the gaming floors of the three Detroit casinos and existing cigar bars and tobacco specialty stores, will become effective on May 1 of this year. The Michigan Environmental Council preferred a ban without the exceptions, but supported the final legislation, which was passed by the Michigan Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Dec. 18, 2009. Some frequently asked questions about the ban are reprinted below.
View Article2010-03-01  •  Winter 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: environmental toxins

Michigan House votes to phase out dangerous fire retardant deca-BDE

A dangerous fire retardant would be phased out in favor of less toxic alternatives in Michigan under legislation passed overwhelmingly in the State House of Representatives in January.
View Article2010-03-01  •  Winter 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: environmental toxins

Annual member meeting focuses on creating 50-year vision for a prosperous Michigan

Big picture and long-term thinking were the order of the day at the Michigan Environmental Council’s 2009 annual meeting held Dec. 11 near Lansing. The day focused largely on gathering input for the development of a far-reaching, 50-year vision for Michigan. Participants from MEC member organizations broke into small groups to brainstorm ideas on what a vibrant, clean, healthy state should look like in 2060, and how best to reach that goal.
View Article2010-03-01  •  Winter 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: MEC Member Groups

Garlic provides seeds of new program to help establish small Michigan organic farms

An innovative new program of the Michigan Land Trustees (MLT) aims to use sales of organic garlic as a catalyst to help small organic farmers become better established in Michigan.
View Article2010-03-01  •  Winter 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: MEC Member Groups

How to find Great Lakes environmental news? Echo puts it all in one location

Environmental news from the Great Lakes basin is as far flung as the sprawling region itself. But a burgeoning service that provides original environmental journalism and an aggregation of the region’s best media coverage each day is making it easier to keep abreast.
View Article2010-03-01  •  Winter 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report

Legacy Land Conservancy adds six new lands

For Legacy Land Conservancy, 2009 ended with a bang—six projects completed in 2009, all during the month of December!
View Article2010-03-01  •  Winter 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: conservation, MEC Member Groups

Fire: An agent of change on IHM campus

Fire isn’t always a destructive force, as the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM Sisters) demonstrated recently when they harnessed it as an agent for regeneration.
View Article2010-03-01  •  Winter 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: MEC Member Groups

Sisters’ Monroe Motherhouse earns green accolades, encourages public tours

The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM Sisters) home in Monroe is the motherhouse of green renovation and a “masterpiece of energy-efficiency,” according to the Detroit Free Press. Now a growing number of Michiganders are learning first-hand of the remarkable facility through group tours that are free of charge and available to the public.
View Article2010-03-01  •  Winter 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: energy efficiency
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