Your Hub for Environmental News from Southwest Michigan and around the State

Stay up to date on environmental issues.

environmental news from SW Michigan and around the State

Here’s an idea!

You could bookmark this page and make it your information center, the place you visit regularly to stay caught up on environmental issues.

In the column on the right you’ll find links to lots of sources for information on environmental matters. These sites offer reporting and opinions about victories and setbacks in the battle to move Beyond Coal, Beyond Oil, and Beyond Natural Gas.

News on Enbridge Line 5 and other Michigan pipeline issues, and our news about the Palisades nuclear plant have their own pages:

To stay up to date on the water crisis in Flint, follow Sierra Club Michigan Chapter’s reporting and news feed on their Flint Water Debacle page.

At the bottom of this page are news feeds from Sierra Club Michigan Chapter and the national Sierra Club.

Environmental news we’ve come across lately

Kalamazoo County Parks Commission agrees to exploration for oil beneath Scotts Mill County Park. (February 5)

 MLive reports Wolverine Oil and Gas Corporation requested meeting with Kalamazoo County Parks and Recreation Commission to discuss exploration for subterranean oil reserves in Scotts Mill Park on February 1. See the WWMT video report here.

Kalamazoo County Parks Commissioner, Matthew Lechel, shares his prospective on the decision to drill for oil beneath Scotts Mill County Park.

Climate Solutions Caucus welcomes Upton, Schakowsy. (January 26)

Citizens’ Climate Lobby posted a report by Axios stating “[Upton] is by far the most prominent and high-profile GOP lawmaker with jurisdiction over energy policy to join the 2-year-old House group. Upton, who has been in Congress for over 30 years, is currently chairman of the Energy subcommittee after serving the maximum three terms atop Energy and Commerce [from 2011 to 2017].”

Michigan Environmental Watch examines how public policy, industry, and other factors interact with the state’s trove of natural resources. (January 19)

Bridge Magazine has a full time environmental reporter these days. Find recent articles here.

As cleanup money gets used up, MI still has 7.300 toxic sites. (January 17)

Bridge Magazine reports cleanup money for Michigan’s 7300 toxic sites is almost gone.

MI DEQ sues Wolverine over Kent County contamination. (January 10)

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality news release reports MDEQ has filed a legal suit that would order Wolverine World Wide, Inc. to provide long-term solutions for Kent County residents who have been affected by Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in areas the state believes contain Wolverine waste. The complaint was filed today in the U. S. District Court, Western District, Southern Division.

Michigan Office of the Great Lakes Releases 2017 State of the Great Lakes Report (January 10)

The Great Lakes play an essential role in the Michigan way of life. The annual State of the Great Lakes Report produced by the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes reflects on the past year, recognizes accomplishments in protecting and restoring water resources, and identifies obstacles to tackle to ensure healthy natural resources and communities. The 2017 State of the Great Lakes Report is available at this link.

Climate change risk for 327 toxic Superfund sites (December 22)

Screen shot from interactive map on the AP superfund report. Click to enlarge

AP News reports 327 toxic site in the U.S.

See where flood-prone superfund sites are located in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo according to AP News

Nearly 2 million people in the U.S. live within a mile of 327 toxic sites located in flood-prone areas, according to an Associated Press analysis. Low-income, heavily minority neighborhoods are most at risk.

Osceola Township nixes Nestlé plan to increase its pumping capacity. (April 18, updates May 4, June 20, July 28, August 17, September 21, October 19, December 22)

The Osceola Township Planning Commission has denied Nestlé a permit to build a pipeline booster station that would increase its pumping capacity from 250 gallons per minute to 450 at its Ice Mountain bottled water plant. Nestlé can appeal, says WOOD-TV 8, “so it’s possible the project may still move forward. However, the plan would still need approval by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.”

Update May 4: Detroit Free Press says Nestlé has appealed to the Osceola Township Zoning Board of Appeals, asking the board to reverse the Planning Commission’s denial.

Update June 20: Osceola Township Zoning Board of Appeals upheld the Township Planning Commission’s permit denial. MLive says Nestle can appeal the decision to Osceola County Circuit Court, but MDEQ still hasn’t decided whether it would be okay for Nestlé to pump that much water.

Update July 28: MLive reports say that Nestlé has appealed to the 49th Circuit Court. Meanwhile, DEQ still hasn’t ruled on Nestlé’s permit request. It wants Nestlé to re-do it’s study, which experts disputed last April. DEQ also “has sought input from the state Department of Natural Resources, the Attorney General’s office and Michigan Native American tribes.”

Update August 17: After two judges in Mecosta County and two in Osceola County recused themselves from Nestlé’s appeal, the case has been assigned to 51st Circuit Court Judge Susan Sniegowski in Luddington.

Update September 21: Bloomberg Business Week published a comprehensive investigative report that looks at Nestlé’s history of cheap water extraction and local bullying tactics, focusing on Mecosta County: “Nestlé Makes Billions Bottling Water It Pays Nearly Nothing For.”

Update October 19: Bottled water production may not be free much longer for Nestlé or any other bottlers, according to MLive. Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, introduced House Bill 5133, which would impose a 5-cent per gallon fee on “each bottled water operator engaged in the business of producing bottled drinking water in this state,” regardless of the water source in Michigan.

Update December 22: Grand Rapids News reports a judge has ruled in favor of Nestle Waters North America about a controversial booster pump station needed to draw more groundwater. Township officials may take further legal action. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality still hasn’t made its ruling in the case.

New preserve coming to Portage named after Betty Lee Ongley. (December 20)

MLive reports the 11.1-acre property at 5233 Woodmont Drive donated by Claudette Reid and Richard Kraas was accepted and approved by the Portage City Council Tuesday. It will be named after and dedicated to Betty Lee Ongley, the city’s first female mayor and its most well-known community activist and volunteer.

Will Michigan fall to third place in EV production? (December 15)

This month, Green Car Reports reported Ford CEO, Jim Hackett said the company’s upcoming battery-electric crossover utility vehicle will not be built in Michigan, as previously announced, but in Mexico instead. Now, a new contender for electric-car production could boost Tennessee’s prominence in the world of plug-in cars. That would be Volkswagen, which plans to build battery-electric cars for the region somewhere in North America.

Study in Michigan shows utility energy savings mostly benefit wealthier customers. (December 13)

Midwest Energy News reports Michigan utilities spend tens of millions of dollars each year on rebates, energy audits and other programs to help customers cut their energy bills. Most of that spending isn’t helping the customers who could use the savings the most, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan.

GM to test a driverless version of its all-electric Bolt (December 1)

Green Car Reports: General Motors officials made a bold announcement on a Thursday conference call with investors: The automaker plans to launch commercial autonomous fleet operations beginning in 2019.

Tesla semi

Photo from Electrek.co

Meijer will test four Tesla electric semi-trucks. (November 17, 2017)

The Detroit News reports Meijer to be one of Tesla Inc.’s newest clients. “Meijer has always prided itself on being innovative, especially in our fleet and supply chain,” said Guglielmi. “We have made a small financial commitment to ensure we are at the front of the line to test this new Tesla truck technology.”

Republican-controlled legislature voted to weaken a law that keeps oceangoing cargo ships from releasing untreated ballast water in Michigan waters. (November 9)

According Crain’s Detroit Business, House Bill 5095 would weaken a 2005 law requiring saltwater vessels to use cleansing technology before discharging ballast water in the Great Lakes. A Detroit Free Press article, along with a video by Dan Egan, reports dozens of environmental groups, as well as various federal, state and local officials across the country have voiced reservations. They say the change increases the risk posed by invasive species that can harm habitat. See how our legislators voted on House Bill 5095.

 

News from Sierra Club Michigan Chapter

Sierra Club - Michigan Chapter News Releases

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 21, 2018

Contact: Mike Berkowitz, (248) 345-9808, mike.berkowitz@sierraclub.org

Sierra Club: State Lawmakers Receive Disappointing Grades in 2017-2018 Legislative Session

Latest scorecard shows legislators continue to neglect Michigan’s environment and pu...
Author: Mike Berkowitz
Posted: 02-21-2018


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12/6/2017
CONTACT: Sean McBrearty, Oil & Water Don’t Mix, (616)516-7758

Citizens Groups React to Line 5 Shut Down

LANSING- Yesterday, the portion of Enbridge Energy’s controversial Line 5 pipeline that operates through the Straits of Mackinac was temporarily shu...
Author: Mike Berkowitz
Posted: 12-06-2017

Sierra Club West Michigan Clean Energy Associate Organizer

This is a two-year, full-time organizing position based in Grand Rapids. The West Michigan Clean Energy Associate Organizer will build grassroots power and move West Michigan away from fossil fuels towards a clean energy...
Author: Gail Philbin
Posted: 12-06-2017
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Author: Gail Philbin
Posted: 11-27-2017

Sierra ClubNews from National Sierra Club

Press Releases

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