Environment Picture

Bell ringers! Environmental successes won in recent weeks

In each issue of the Michigan Environmental Report, we celebrate accomplishments by MEC and member groups.
On track
Michigan’s public transportation and passenger railroad service both got good news in May. The public transportation budget recommended by Gov. Rick Snyder and passed by the legislature retained existing funding levels—good news in a budget that otherwise cut natural resource protection budgets. What’s more, the state was awarded an additional $200 million in federal money to create faster and more reliable railroad transportation along the Detroit-Chicago corridor.

Gone dark
A 600-acre park on Lake Michigan earned a “Dark Skies Park” designation from the International Dark Sky Association. The designation—only the 6th in the U.S.—is based on the lack of light pollution, strong rules to keep the night skies pristine, and the incredible views of our universe to be found there. The park is the Emmet County Headlands Park, west of Mackinac City. Let’s hear it for Pure Michigan branding!

Cost cuts
Consumers Energy Co. asked state regulators in April for permission to lower its residential renewable energy surcharge from $2.50 to 70 cents per month. Why? Renewable electricity is turning out to be WAY less expensive than the utility thought when it began working to meet the requirement of a 2008 state law that requires 10 percent renewable electricity generation by the year 2015. We’re not going to say we told them so. Nope, not going to say it.

Step forward
The Snyder Administration took steps in late May to increase disclosure of chemicals used in natural gas ‘fracking.’ The environmental community plans to work with the administration to clarify its order to ensure the public has access to the information it needs. This is especially true of first responders who need accurate data quickly in case of an emergency. Michigan expects a new wave of more intensive natural gas exploration, which could exponentially increase the risks involved.
© Copyright Michigan Environmental Council, All rights reserved