Environment Picture

Michigan Environmental Report

Winter 2016

Vol. 34 Issue 1

MEC submits comments on state’s 30-year water strategy

MEC and several of our partners and members submitted formal comments on the draft document, Sustaining Michigan’s Water Heritage: A Strategy for the Next Generation, created by the Office of the Great Lakes (OGL) at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
View Article2016-02-19  •  Winter 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report

Dogs know it when they smell it— Michigan business uses innovative team to track sewage contamination

Dogs have had jobs ever since they started hanging out with humans: Protect the sheep. Haul the sled. Keep rats out of the grain. These days pooches are punching the clock in some pretty sophisticated careers. They help people with disabilities navigate daily challenges. They track down missing persons. Their sharp noses can sniff out drugs, bombs—even cancer. Then there’s Kenna, a two-year-old golden retriever from East Lansing. Kenna’s job is…well. Here’s a quote from the website of Environmental Canine Services, the company that employs Kenna: “Our scent trained canines provide a rapid means for detecting and source tracking human sewage contamination in stormwater systems, streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans.”
View Article2016-02-20  •  Winter 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report

DEQ proposed toxic air chemicals deregulation fails to put public health first

For more than a year, Michigan Environmental Council has been sounding the alarm about the state’s plan to deregulate emissions of some 500 toxic chemicals into Michigan’s air. We strongly oppose the Department of Environmental Quality’s proposed rule change, which would raise the risk of serious health impacts among Michigan families, particularly in vulnerable communities.
View Article2016-02-20  •  Winter 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: chemical policy, public health

MEC President Chris Kolb named to co-chair Flint water task force

MEC President Chris Kolb was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder in October to co-chair a task force charged with determining the root causes of Flint’s drinking water crisis, and making recommendations to ensure nothing like it happens again in Michigan.
View Article2016-02-19  •  Winter 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report

PRESIDENT’S COLUMN: What I’m looking for in the next DEQ director

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is now in need of a new leader, due to Dan Wyant’s resignation in the wake of the department’s mishandling of the Flint drinking water crisis. Keith Creagh, director of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), is serving as the interim director until a permanent replacement can be found. So what qualities should a new director bring to this position?
View Article2016-02-20  •  Winter 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: MEC Board, public health

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 Article2016-02-15  •  Winter 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report

Ten surprising facts in Michigan’s new water strategy

Crafting a 30-year strategy to position Michigan’s abundant (and awesome) water assets in a national and global context is no easy feat. MEC is grateful to Governor Snyder for asking for such a plan, and to Jon Allan and his team at the Office of Great Lakes (OGL) for pulling a laudable draft of one together. More discussion of the water strategy is below, but first, here are the top ten surprises I found in digging through the document. Take a look for yourself, and see what surprises you!
View Article2016-02-19  •  Winter 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Great Lakes, water protection

Fish farms don’t belong in the Great Lakes

This article was originally published in the Detroit Free Press and is reprinted here with permission. Multiple proposals to put fish farms in our shared Great Lakes waters are under consideration by state officials. We find it deeply troubling that this idea is even on the table. Michigan officials have been approached with at least two proposals for fish farms, in Lake Michigan near Escanaba and off Rogers City in Lake Huron. State agencies have assembled a panel to look into these plans and explore the possibility of aquaculture in Michigan’s Great Lakes.
View Article2016-02-19  •  Winter 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report

MEC and Tip of the Mitt highlight key policy options in new U-M fracking report

The University of Michigan last fall released a report three years in the making that offers a comprehensive review of Michigan’s policy options regarding fracking for natural gas and oil. While fracking has been used for decades in Michigan, new techniques use far greater quantities of water and chemicals and pose greater risks to the environment and human health.
View Article2016-02-19  •  Winter 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report

Less than stellar state transportation funding outcome has three bright spots

The transportation funding package Gov. Snyder signed into law last November brought a disappointing end to the years-long debate over how to raise much-needed funding for Michigan’s transportation system. The approved package has many serious failures. Funding increases will be slowly phased in over the next six years. The short of it: Don’t expect to see major improvements to our crumbling roads and bridges anytime soon. Still, despite the well-deserved criticism of the outcome, there are a few bright spots worth highlighting.
View Article2016-02-15  •  Winter 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: transportation policy

MEC leads effort to reconnect Michigan By Rail from Coast to Coast

Grand Rapids entrepreneurs catch the morning train to a meeting in Lansing and update their business plan on the ride home. A couple boards in Ypsilanti for dinner and a show with friends in Detroit. Michigan State students hop a train for a Saturday at the beach in Holland. These scenarios are just glimpses of how a Coast-to-Coast Rail Service could knit together Michigan’s largest population centers and reconnect our coasts. By meshing existing train tracks with local transit options and intercity coach services, the route would extend possibilities well beyond its station stops and allow comfortable travel across Michigan without a car.
View Article2016-02-19  •  Winter 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: transportation policy

David Ermisch and Craig Lamberton: Celebrating marriage with MEC

Though he now lives on the East Coast, it’s clear that Cheboygan-raised David Ermisch still loves Michigan’s Great Lakes and wild places. For one thing, he didn’t let a late-summer cold front with temperatures in the 50s stop him from swimming in Lake Michigan during a visit to his family’s cottage in the Upper Peninsula. And when Ermisch took a different kind of plunge in June, he and his new husband, Craig Lamberton, urged their wedding guests to make a contribution to the Michigan Environmental Council in lieu of a gift.
View Article2016-02-15  •  Winter 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: charitable giving
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