Environment Picture
Topic: Public Health

President's Column: Lessons learned from serving on the Flint Water Advisory Task Force

Michigan Environmental Report
Last October I received a phone call that would dramatically impact me professionally and personally. It was Gov. Rick Snyder’s office calling, asking me to serve as co-chair of the governor’s Flint Water Advisory Task Force. The task force’s charge was to determine what happened in Flint and why, and to provide recommendations on how to prevent this from ever happening again. The group would meet for five months, release three letters to the governor and issue a final report that contained 36 findings and 44 recommendations.
View ArticleSep 7, 2016  •  Spring/Summer 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report

MEC blasts southeast Michigan leaders for refusing to give voters a say on regional transit

Press Releases
Michigan Environmental Council President Chris Kolb on Thursday issued the following statement blasting elected leaders in southeast Michigan for standing in the way of major improvements to the region's transportation system and refusing to give voters a say on the Regional Transit Authority's master plan:
Read MoreJul 28, 2016

MEC calls on southeast Michigan leaders to send RTA plan to voters

Press Releases
The Michigan Environmental Council on Wednesday urged southeast Michigan leaders to come to an agreement around the Regional Transit Authority’s master plan and put funding for the plan before voters in November, noting the Aug. 16 deadline for county clerks to approve ballot language.
Read MoreJul 27, 2016

Mona Hanna-Attisha: Unwavering voice for Flint’s children

Michigan Environmental Report
Some pediatricians give kids a lollipop after a checkup. The deal’s a lot sweeter at Mona Hanna-Attisha’s clinic at Hurley Children’s Center in Flint. “Dr. Mona,” as she’s known around town, sends patients’ families out the door with a $10 voucher to buy fresh, healthy food at the Flint Farmers’ Market—no extra trip required, since the clinic is on the second floor of the market building. It’s also across the street from the bus station, providing an important connection in a city where 40 percent of residents live beneath the poverty line and many families don’t have a car. It’s a setup that embodies Hanna-Attisha’s integrated approach to medicine and her belief that quality pediatric care can’t be separated from good nutrition and a healthy, stimulating environment. That prescription is needed more urgently than ever in a city whose children already faced daunting struggles before their drinking water was contaminated with toxic, brain-damaging lead.
View ArticleJul 15, 2016  •  Spring/Summer 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report

Petoskey Prize recipient Pam Taylor: Fighting factory farm pollution with data and diligence

Michigan Environmental Report
Pam Taylor has a habit of naming things. She drives Lenawee County’s dirt roads in a black Ford Focus called the Batmobile, singing along to Motown music—her favorite. Excalibur is a store-bought extension pole, modified by her mentor to reach into rivers and take water samples. And the trucks hauling trailer loads of cow manure away from massive dairy barns? “We call those poop wagons,” she says. But when it comes to the area’s many concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, Taylor drops the playful language and gets more precise. “Ultimately, this is not farming,” she says of the industrial feedlots crammed with hundreds or thousands of livestock. “It’s industrial waste production. They produce more manure than milk.”
View ArticleJul 14, 2016  •  Spring/Summer 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report

Budget plan a missed opportunity to protect Michigan kids from lead poisoning

Press Releases
Funding for statewide lead poisoning prevention programs proposed Tuesday by a state budget panel falls far short of what's needed to protect Michigan children from the preventable but irreversible brain damage caused by the toxic metal, say MEC and partners in the Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Homes.
Read MoreJun 8, 2016

MEC: Regional transit plan packed with potential for vibrant, sustainable southeast Michigan

Press Releases
A new master plan for regional transit has the right elements to fundamentally transform southeast Michigan's transportation system, connect residents with jobs and opportunities, drive economic development and make Metro Detroit a magnet for innovative businesses and talented workers, the Michigan Environmental Council said Tuesday. 
Read MoreMay 31, 2016

MEC praises creation of board to prevent childhood lead poisoning

Press Releases
The Michigan Environmental Council today praised Gov. Rick Snyder's announcement of a new Child Lead Poisoning Elimination Board to protect Michigan's children from the devastating effects of lead exposure.
Read MoreMay 20, 2016

Senate energy bills fail to protect Michigan ratepayers

Press Releases
A pair of Senate bills to eliminate Michigan's wildly successful renewable power and energy efficiency standards will lead to major rate increases for families and slam the brakes on economic development in the state, the Michigan Environmental Council told lawmakers today.
Read MoreMay 4, 2016

MEC testimony on energy bills SB 437 and SB 438

Research Reports
We believe the current versions of SB 437 and SB 438 are a step backwards for energy policy in Michigan. The bills fail to protect Michigan families and businesses from unreasonable rate increases, fail to protect public health and will impede economic development within the state.
Download ReportMay 4, 2016

MEC statement on proposed Lead and Copper Rule reforms

Press Releases
Michigan Environmental Council President Chris Kolb issued the following statement in response to reforms to Michigan's implementation of the federal Lead and Copper Rule proposed today by Gov. Rick Snyder: "The reforms proposed today are an important first step in what needs to be a major, multi-pronged effort to protect Michigan children by ridding our communities of lead hazards. Governor Snyder has put forth a strong plan for addressing the lead risk in water, and we look forward to working with him and legislative leaders to ensure the proposed programs and policies are adequately funded, swiftly implemented and strongly enforced.
Read MoreApr 15, 2016

MEC commends DEQ decision to maintain oversight of toxic air chemicals

Press Releases
The Michigan Environmental Council applauded the Department of Environmental Quality's announcement this week that it will continue regulating all air emissions of toxic chemicals, noting that the decision will go a long way in ensuring the department fulfills its primary mission of protecting human health and the environment.
Read MoreApr 5, 2016

Flint Water Advisory Task Force Final Report

Research Reports
The Flint Water Advisory Task Force offers in this report our findings and recommendations regarding the Flint water crisis. We have come to our conclusions largely through interviews of individuals involved and review of related documents now available in the public record. Our report includes 36 findings and 44 recommendations, offered to fulfill our charge of determining the causes of the Flint water crisis, identifying remedial measures for the Flint community, and safeguarding Michigan residents.
Download ReportMar 23, 2016

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

Michigan Environmental Report
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 ArticleFeb 20, 2016  •  Winter 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report

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

Michigan Environmental Report
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 ArticleFeb 20, 2016  •  Winter 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: MEC Board, Public Health

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

Michigan Environmental Report
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 ArticleFeb 20, 2016  •  Winter 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Chemical Policy, Public Health

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

Michigan Environmental Report
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 ArticleFeb 19, 2016  •  Winter 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report

FWATF Finds MDEQ Primarily Responsible for Flint Water Crisis

Press Releases
The Flint Water Advisory Task Force today released a letter sent to Governor Rick Snyder advising him of the Task Force’s finding that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is primarily responsible for failing to ensure safe drinking water in Flint and must be held accountable.
Read MoreDec 29, 2015

Flint Water Advisory Task Force letter to Gov Snyder 122915

Research Reports
We believe the primary responsibility for what happened in Flint rests with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). Although many individuals and entities at state and local levels contributed to creating and prolonging the problem, MDEQ is the government agency that has responsibility to ensure safe drinking water in Michigan. It failed in that responsibility and must be held accountable for that failure.
Download ReportDec 29, 2015

DEQ once again failing to put public health first, advocates warn

Press Releases
Changes to state regulation of toxic air emissions proposed today by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality would raise the risk of serious health impacts among Michigan families, particularly in vulnerable communities, public health advocates caution. The department today announced it is moving forward with a proposed administrative rule change requested by industry to deregulate 500 toxic chemicals which have been subject to oversight in the past.
Read MoreOct 26, 2015

Program seeks partners to unlock recycling potential in Detroit

Press Releases
Curbside recycling is finally available throughout the City of Detroit, but the $25 fee for a recycling cart is a significant hurdle for many residents. A donation program launched today by the Zero Waste Detroit coalition and the Michigan Environmental Council aims to help put recycling within reach for everyone who wants to participate.
Read MoreApr 22, 2015

MEC lays out policy priorities to move Michigan forward in new legislative term

Press Releases
Michigan Environmental Council today released a proactive policy agenda outlining actions state leaders should take in the upcoming legislative cycle for a stronger economy, cleaner environment and higher quality of life in the Great Lake State. The list of policy priorities encompasses a broad range of issues, from protecting our water resources and iconic wild places to accelerating our state’s transition to a clean-energy economy, building a modern transportation system and ending lead poisoning in Michigan.
Read MoreDec 22, 2014

Michigan Environmental Council Policy Priorities 2015-16

Research Reports
Michigan Environmental Council will focus its energy on the following priorities in the new legislative session. These and other goals emerged after five regional meetings with MEC member groups and partners statewide. At MEC’s annual meeting in October 2014, member groups identified this final priority list as the most important set of issues to address in the near term.
Download ReportDec 22, 2014

Unfinished business: Environmental Justice in Michigan

Michigan Environmental Report
Achieving a clean, healthy and safe environment for Michiganders, by working with all residents to hold public and private institutions accountable to the communities for whom they serve and in which they operate, is the mission of the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition. This mission was put into practice on September 12 and 13 in Lansing at the well-attended first statewide summit on environmental justice in Michigan.
View ArticleDec 1, 2014  •  Summer / Fall 2014 - Michigan Environmental Report

Will Deregulating Michigan's Toxic Air Emissions Put Residents at Risk?

Research Reports
Backgrounder on the Proposed Administrative Rule Change. The administration is currently assessing a proposal that would reduce the number of toxic chemicals regulated by more than 500. Changes proposed include 1) Eliminating regulation of toxic chemicals that have not been tested for their impact on public health, and 2) Eliminating regulation of the less toxic non-carcinogen chemicals (regardless of the quantity being emitted).
Download ReportOct 8, 2014

Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Housing succeeds in gaining additional state budget funds to save children from lead poisoning

Michigan Environmental Report
The state legislature passed a budget in June that included $500,000 more for lead abatement, raising the total for lead remediation in the 2015 budget to $1.75 million. The Safe Homes/Safe Kids: Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Housing (MIALSH) coalition brought people to the Capitol in advance of the budget hearings for a day of outreach to state policymakers. Coalition members also testified before both the House and Senate during the budget process.
View ArticleJul 1, 2014  •  Spring 2014 - Michigan Environmental Report

Michigan Environmental Council applauds federal proposal to cut carbon pollution

Press Releases
Michigan Environmental Council welcomes the Environmental Protection Agency's action today to curb carbon emissions from power plants, the country's largest source of greenhouse gases. The draft rule announced this morning would require a 30 percent reduction from 2005 levels in power-sector carbon emissions by 2030.
Read MoreJun 2, 2014

Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Housing holds May 7 Legislative Education Day

News Updates
The Safe Homes/Safe Kids: Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Housing (MIALSH) coalition—made up of health departments, lead contractors, small business owners, homeowners, landlords, and other service providers—will bring people to the Capitol on May 7 for a day of outreach to state policymakers on the impacts of lead poisoning and the need for consistent funding for prevention and abatement.
View ArticleApr 25, 2014

Mama Summit 2014 calls for action on climate change

News Updates
This May, moms, dads, grandparents, and kids from across the country will travel to their state capitols to show broad and united support for children's health. Together in a bipartisan setting, participants will demand action to protect the air our children breathe--both indoor and outdoor--and call for action on climate change.
View ArticleApr 11, 2014

Lead poisoning prevention advocates come to the Capitol; Rep. Olumba gets personal about his daughters’ lead exposure

News Updates
Advocates who helped secure $1.25 million for lead poisoning prevention funding in this year’s state budget blanketed the Capitol this month, showing lawmakers that the money is being effectively spent and advocating for continued funding in this year’s budget.
View ArticleFeb 28, 2014

Green & Healthy Homes Initiative Wayne County – Detroit reduces housing-related health risks

News Updates
No one would choose to live in a home poisoned with lead. But unless you know what to look for, the risk can be invisible.
View ArticleDec 5, 2013

Built to Last: A blueprint for a more resilient Michigan

Research Reports
Michigan has a rare opportunity for thoughtful reinvention. Choices we make now will ripple through our environment and economy for decades to come.
Download ReportSep 23, 2013

Success! State budget includes $1.25 million to help keep Michigan kids safe from lead dangers

Michigan Environmental Report
More than $1 million to help keep Michigan children safe from lead poisoning was included in a budget bill signed in June by Governor Rick Snyder. The allocation was a direct result of advocacy and education efforts by the Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Housing (MIALSH). MEC is part of the coalition’s core leadership team.
View ArticleJun 20, 2013  •  Spring 2013 - Michigan Environmental Report

Bell ringers! Environmental successes won in recent weeks

Michigan Environmental Report
In each issue of the Michigan Environmental Report, we celebrate accomplishments by MEC and member groups.
View ArticleJun 20, 2013  •  Spring 2013 - Michigan Environmental Report

Success! State budget includes $1.25 million to keep Michigan kids safe from lead dangers

Press Releases
More than 6,500 kids in Michigan have elevated lead levels, which lead to lost IQ, permanent damage to reproductive and endocrine systems, behavior and aggression problems and many others. This funding will help reduce the number of poisoned children.
Read MoreJun 20, 2013

Do I stay or do I go?

Michigan Environmental Report
Living in a Detroit neighborhood devastated by vacant lots and abandoned eyesores, my chief dilemma is the same one shared by my neighbors: Do I leave the city I love, or do I stay?
View ArticleMar 25, 2013  •  Winter 2013 - Michigan Environmental Report

Top Twelve Proposal 3 Questions

News Updates
Across the state, we've been giving presentations on the 25% by 2025 proposal, and fielding good questions. Here are the top 12 questions answered.
View ArticleOct 30, 2012

Take action on 25x25: Send a letter to your family & friends

News Updates
MEC Development Director Andy Draheim's recent letter to his friends and family encapsulated his reasons for supporting Proposal 3, the 25x25 renewable energy standard on Michigan's ballot. We provide it here as an educational and outreach tool to YOUR friends and family who are interested in cutting through the confusing fog of television advertising and overwrought hyperbole.
View ArticleOct 29, 2012

MEC: Michigan Legislature has opportunity to help eradicate childhood lead poisoning

Press Releases
The Michigan Environmental Council today applauded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) decision to cut in half the reference value for lead in children’s blood. There is no safe level of lead, and the CDC action is a step in the right direction.
Read MoreMay 21, 2012

MEC applauds Consumers Energy's decisions on coal-fired power plants

Press Releases
“The Michigan Environmental Council applauds Consumers Energy on its announcement to not move forward with a new coal-fired power plant, and its decision to retire seven smaller units around the state,” said James Clift, policy director of the Michigan Environmental Council. “These decisions are good news for public health in Michigan.”
Read MoreDec 2, 2011
RELATED TOPICS: Clean Energy, Public Health

Our Kids, Our Communities

Press Releases
New campaign will make Michigan a healthy place for kids to grow and thrive.
Read MoreSep 14, 2011

President's Column: Lost amid tax cut fever

Michigan Environmental Report
Lowering the cost of doing business in Michigan to grow our state’s economy has been a huge priority in Lansing this year. That focus has been almost entirely centered on taxes, including a $1.7 billion business tax cut by 2013. There is an overlooked cost center with more money-saving potential than tax cuts and far greater benefits for Michigan businesses and residents: energy costs. The amount Michiganders pay for energy rivals that of taxes, yet it has not been in the current administration’s sight lines.
View ArticleSep 12, 2011  •  Summer 2011 - Michigan Environmental Report

MEC report: Michigan’s old coal plants costing residents $1.5 billion annually in health care

Michigan Environmental Report
A Michigan Environmental Council report that drew more than 120 legislators and policymakers to a State Capitol briefing in June shows the state’s oldest coal-fired electricity plants cost Michiganders $1.5 billion annually in health care expenses. “Public Health Impacts of Old Coal-Fired Power Plants in Michigan” examines pollution from small particulate matter – the main component in soot.
View ArticleJul 6, 2011  •  July 2011 Online - Michigan Environmental Report

Report: Michigan’s old coal plants costing residents $1.5 billion annually in health care

Press Releases
The Michigan Environmental Council called on the State Legislature to provide greater oversight of Michigan utilities today following the release of a report showing that the state’s oldest coal-fired electricity plants cost Michiganders $1.5 billion annually in health care costs.
Read MoreJun 27, 2011

Public Health Impacts of Old Coal-Fired Power Plants in Michigan

Research Reports
This report quantifies the economic burden and health toll that the state’s oldest coal-fired power plants create. It examines pollution from small particulate matter – the main component in smog. The report found that the state’s nine oldest coal plants cost a family of four an average of over $500 per year in expenses and damages associated with increased hospital admissions, premature deaths and treatments for asthma, respiratory ailments, and cardiovascular problems, among others. The study also estimated national impacts of Michigan’s old coal power plants, finding that they are responsible for $5.4 billion in health care costs – mostly in the Great Lakes region where much of the pollution falls out. Those plants began operation between 1949 and 1968 and are among the most polluting and least efficient in the state.
Download ReportJun 27, 2011

Toxic chemicals in kids’ toys would be disclosed under legislation being crafted at the State Capitol

Michigan Environmental Report
Michigan parents would have new tools to help keep their kids safe from toxic chemicals in toys under legislation expected soon in the State Senate. The bill would require large toy manufacturers and importers to disclose their use of hazardous chemicals in children's products.
View ArticleFeb 21, 2011  •  February 2011 Online - Michigan Environmental Report

GardenGreen coalition aims to reduce, eliminate use of dangerous lawn pesticides

Michigan Environmental Report
A new initiative by MEC member group LocalMotionGreen aims to reduce the use of toxic pesticides on lawns and gardens in Grosse Pointe and all of Southeast Michigan.
View ArticleDec 15, 2010  •  Fall 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report

Michigan 50 Year Vision

Research Reports
The Vision outlines goals – and intermediate steps – to get Michigan to a year 2060 where energy needs are met cleanly and affordably; thriving centers of commerce prosper in harmony with our Great Lakes and other natural assets; and people thrive in dynamic neighborhoods that have easy access to efficient transportation options, healthy local food and cultural amenities.
Download ReportDec 9, 2010

Path to cheaper, cleaner trash disposal in Detroit rife with political pitfalls

Michigan Environmental Report
Politics and constant transition in Detroit’s leadership this year has frustrated Detroiters working to establish cleaner, cheaper alternatives to the Detroit incinerator for disposal of the city’s garbage. But MEC Community Outreach Director Sandra Turner-Handy has been at the forefront of the effort, meeting with mayoral staffers and key allies in Detroit in an effort to keep the politics of confusion from undermining good policy decisions.
View ArticleAug 28, 2009  •  Summer 2009 - Michigan Environmental Report

City mulls options for cheaper, safer post-incinerator garbage disposal

Michigan Environmental Report
A blueprint for a cleaner, healthier, cheaper way of handling Detroit’s waste is being considered by Detroit Mayor Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. in the wake of the city’s decision to stop burning garbage at the expensive, polluting Detroit incinerator.
View ArticleDec 14, 2008  •  Fall 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report

Congress passes key standards on dangerous chemicals in children’s toys

Michigan Environmental Report
A Congressional Committee chaired by Michigan Congressman John Dingell finalized the Consumer Product Safety Commission Reform Act to include provisions to set first-ever national standards on lead in toys and ban the plasticizer phthalates from children’s toys and childcare articles.
View ArticleAug 11, 2008  •  Summer 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Public Health, Chemical Policy

Bell ringers! Environmental successes won in recent weeks

Michigan Environmental Report
In each issue of the Michigan Environmental Report, we celebrate accomplishments by MEC and member groups.
View ArticleMay 29, 2008  •  Spring 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report

Drug giant drops lindane lawsuit against Ecology Center

Michigan Environmental Report
The Michigan Environmental Council supported member group Ecology Center in defending itself from a frivolous lawsuit filed by Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals. The company’s suit was designed, in MEC’s opinion, to thwart efforts by the Center and others, including MEC, from pursuing legislation to restrict the dangerous chemical’s use on children.
View ArticleMay 29, 2008  •  Spring 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report

West Michigan Environmental Health Initiative earns federal honors, dollars

Michigan Environmental Report
The Greater Grand Rapids Children’s Environmental Health Initiative recently earned recognition from federal agencies as one of four national models of community collaboration projects.
View ArticleJan 1, 2008  •  Winter 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report

Beware: Toxic dangers may lurk in holiday decorations

Michigan Environmental Report
Artificial Christmas trees are not the only holiday decoration containing lead—a potent neurotoxin that is especially dangerous to the developing brains and bodies of young children.
View ArticleOct 22, 2007  •  Fall 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report

Detroit refinery expansion: Will Marathon learn from BP?

Michigan Environmental Report
Michigan’s only oil refinery wants to get bigger, potentially adding to air pollution in a southwest Detroit neighborhood that already is bordered by two expressways, a steel mill, a salt mine, and dozens of other heavy-duty industrial facilities.
View ArticleOct 22, 2007  •  Fall 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report

Health Policy Director

Research Reports
Employment opportunity -- position description
Download ReportNov 30, -0001
RELATED TOPICS: Employment, Public Health
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