Environment Picture
Topic: Environmental Justice

Michigan House says bare minimum is good enough for Great Lakes

Press Releases
Legislation passed by the House of Representatives would cede Michigan's environmental authority to the federal government and prohibit state leaders from doing anything more than the bare minimum to protect public health or natural treasures like the Great Lakes, the Michigan Environmental Council said.
Read MoreMay 18, 2017

Michigan Environmental Council lays out policy agenda for 2017-2018

Press Releases
Testing all children for lead exposure, passing a statewide code for septic systems and becoming the first state east of the Mississippi River to open an Office of Outdoor Recreation are among the priorities in a new policy agenda unveiled Monday by the Michigan Environmental Council.
Read MoreJan 30, 2017

Michigan Environmental Council Policy Priorities 2017-2018

Research Reports
Following the Flint water crisis, it is clear that state government must refocus its attention on protecting public health and the environment. Michigan Environmental Council will focus on the following priorities in the 2017-2018 legislative session. These policy priorities were developed in collaboration with our member organizations from throughout Michigan.
Download ReportJan 30, 2017

MEC applauds infrastructure recommendations, urges leaders to follow through

Press Releases
The Michigan Environmental Council praised the recommendations put forth Monday by Gov. Rick Snyder’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission and urged policymakers to significantly increase investments to offset years of underfunding for safe drinking water, public transit, clean energy and other components of a healthy Michigan with a high quality of life.
Read MoreDec 5, 2016

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

NAACP campaigns for Proposal 3

Michigan Environmental Report
The NAACP has launched its Your Energy, Your Power! Campaign to Increase Clean Energy, including their support for Proposal 3.
View ArticleSep 20, 2012  •  Summer 2012 - Michigan Environmental Report

Our Kids, Our Communities

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

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

Coming together to create a sustainable city

Michigan Environmental Report
MEC Community Outreach Director Sandra Turner-Handy addressed attendees at the Detroit Works project’s May 5th Environmental Summit, telling them that they have the power to create a blueprint for Detroit’s future that is sustainable, healthy and environmentally conscious.
View ArticleJun 5, 2011  •  Spring 2011 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Environmental Justice

U.S. Social Forum, march against the waste incinerator an inspiration for lifelong Detroiter

Michigan Environmental Report
Michigan Environmental Council Community Outreach Director Sandra Turner-Handy helped organize the four-day U.S. Social Forum in Detroit this summer—a gathering of more than 10,000 people from across the country committed to social and environmental justice and community empowerment. She was instrumental in organizing a march on the Detroit incinerator—more than 1,000 strong led by the Zero Waste Detroit coalition. The marchers called for recycling programs and healthier trash disposal options to replace the dirty trash burner. Here are some of her thoughts:
View ArticleAug 24, 2010  •  Summer 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report

Saturday action aims to end Detroit’s wasteful incineration in favor of clean energy, jobs

Press Releases
Environmental advocates, Teamsters, and neighborhood residents will march together on Saturday, June 26 to demand the closure of the country’s largest waste incinerator. By engaging in street theater and colorful, positive actions, representatives of Detroit’s pollution-impacted communities will bring attention to the need for a just transition from burning waste, coal and diesel to building a better, cleaner future for Detroiters.
Read MoreJun 25, 2010
RELATED TOPICS: Environmental Justice

Steadfast and sincere, Margaret Weber is the engine that keeps Zero Waste coalition moving toward curbside recycling in Detroit

Michigan Environmental Report
Living in America’s largest city without curbside recycling, Margaret Weber just wanted to do her little part. That, she has.
View ArticleMay 29, 2010  •  Spring 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report

Opinion: In Michigan, not everyone is equal when it comes to bearing environmental costs

Michigan Environmental Report
It was no surprise to those in Michigan’s urban cities when, in 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that racial minorities and low-income people were disproportionately exposed to lead, selected air pollutants, hazardous waste facilities, contaminated fish, and agricultural pesticides in the workplace.
View ArticleNov 27, 2009  •  Fall 2009 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Environmental Justice

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

Jean Klock Park’s dunes closer to conversion from public ownership to private golf course

Michigan Environmental Report
Twenty-two acres of publicly-owned Lake Michigan sand dunes in Benton Harbor’s Jean Klock Park are closer to becoming part of a private golf course after a federal agency reversed itself in July and approved its conversion.
View ArticleAug 11, 2008  •  Summer 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Environmental Justice, Land Use

Innovation, inquiry is goal of upcoming Bioneers conference in Detroit

Michigan Environmental Report
Social and scientific innovators from across the country will descend on Marygrove College in Detroit Oct. 17-19 for the fourth annual Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit conference.
View ArticleAug 11, 2008  •  Summer 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report

MEC’s first satellite office: Strengthening the Lansing-Detroit connection

Michigan Environmental Report
The Michigan Environmental Council’s first-ever satellite office is appropriately located in the heart of Michigan’s largest city: Detroit.
View ArticleAug 11, 2008  •  Summer 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Environmental Justice

A line in the sand

Michigan Environmental Report
Last issue we profiled Milliken Award winner Prof. Bunyan Bryant. This issue we focus on Petoskey Prize recipient Carol Drake and her David-vs-Goliath battle to stop corporate interests from taking publicly owned Lake Michigan sand dunes. Both were scheduled to receive their awards during the May 28 Michigan Environmental Council Awards Event in Ann Arbor.
View ArticleMay 29, 2008  •  Spring 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Environmental Justice, Land Use

Bunyan Bryant: A giant for the environment and social justice

Michigan Environmental Report
Bunyan Bryant Ph.D., a giant in the field of environmental advocacy and social justice, is the recipient of the state’s highest environmental honor in 2008 – the Michigan Environmental Council’s Helen and William D. Milliken Distinguished Service Award.
View ArticleJan 7, 2008  •  Winter 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Environmental Justice

Two-year campaign culminates in Gov. Granholm inking enviro justice directive

Michigan Environmental Report
Efforts to protect low-income neighborhoods and communities of color from unfair effects of pollution were boosted in November when Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed an executive directive promoting environmental justice.
View ArticleJan 1, 2008  •  Winter 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Environmental Justice

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 ArticleJan 1, 2008  •  Winter 2008 - 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

Pollution-induced asthma: Tiny daggers in the lungs

Michigan Environmental Report
Particulate matter pollution - more commonly known as smog - from industrial sources, including oil refineries, can trigger heart attacks, respiratory illness and asthma attacks in children.
View ArticleOct 22, 2007  •  Fall 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
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