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
No coal 
Consumers Energy announced in early December it was dropping plans for a massive new coal plant in Bay City. The company also plans to close some of its oldest and most polluting coal power units during the coming years. The news was music to the ears of clean energy advocates, who have argued for years that the power plant was unnecessary and that cleaner and more affordable options are available. 

 Fast trains 
The Michigan Legislature in late September approved matching money, leveraging $161 million in federal funds to enhance passenger train service between Chicago and Detroit. The grant provides money to upgrade rail stations, purchase track, and rework congestion points to separate passenger and freight trains. The result will be a Detroit-Chicago trip in about four hours—shaving up to 90 minutes off the existing travel time. 

 Veto this! 
Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed legislation that would have ceded some of Michigan’s control over Great Lakes protection to Washington, DC, bureaucrats. HB 4326 would have prohibited Michigan’s governor and state agencies from imposing any rule that exceeds federal standards unless approved by the State Legislature. That would have effectively stripped the state governor—and future governors—from acting decisively and quickly to protect our Great Lakes and other Pure Michigan assets.

 Together we can 
Bridging partisan divides in today’s polarized politics isn’t easy. But the Michigan Environmental Council pulled it off with Michigan Rail Summit 2011—an event amply covered in this issue. The audience and panels included folks not used to uniting in a common cause—think environmental advocates sharing the stage with the state Chamber of Commerce. Prominent leaders from both political parties also rallied behind the same goal—better rail transportation as a cornerstone of Michigan’s future.
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