Michigan Environment Watch

Michigan Environment Watch examines how public policy, industry, and other factors interact with the state’s trove of natural resources.

Articles

Michigan House moves to overhaul standards for toxic cleanups

December 18, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Industry groups cheer move to require state regulators to use federal standards to determine if sites are safe. Critics say those are looser and the measure would make cleanups less protective.

Michigan House panel votes to gut ‘radical’ wetlands protections

December 18, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

‘If we don’t do something, we can kiss personal property rights goodbye,’ says sponsor of measure that would remove protections on at least 550,000 acres of wetlands. Critics disagree.  

Michigan GOP in no hurry to fulfill Rick Snyder’s environmental wish list

December 13, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

The outgoing governor wants to raise taxes and fees for environmental cleanups. His Republican colleagues aren’t biting.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signs Line 5 tunnel bill; appoints authority members

December 12, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

The Republican signed legislation to create a Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority to oversee a proposed tunnel surrounding the controversial pipeline.

Bill to make it tougher to pass regulations in Michigan heads to Snyder

December 11, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Republicans say legislation provides uniformity for businesses; Democrats say it would make it harder to respond to threats such as PFAS.

Michigan, Great Lakes at risk for oil spills beyond Line 5, report says

December 11, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

As Michigan lawmakers race to create a deal to protect Line 5, a new report flags 15 areas across the Great Lakes where habitats are vulnerable to oil spills.

Michigan lawmakers send Line 5 tunnel plan to Gov. Snyder’s desk

December 11, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

The House and Senate quickly approved a bill Tuesday to help Gov. Snyder lock-in a plan to swap out twin pipelines beneath the Straits of Mackinac and protect them in a bedrock tunnel. Critics decry a rush before a Democrat becomes governor.

Republicans: Michigan shouldn’t regulate more strictly than Washington

December 10, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Supporters call House Bill 4205 a transparency measure that’s good for business. Critics worry it would remove tools to tackle problems such as PFAS contamination.

Michigan Republican Senator: I’m no anti-environmental villain

December 5, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Sen. Tom Casperson, the powerful Michigan Republican behind a slew of bills to deregulate the environment, calls himself a champion of private property rights and disagrees with his portrayal in news media.

Michigan Senate approves plan to preserve Line 5 before foes take office

December 5, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Gov. Rick Snyder cleared a hurdle in his race to lock-in a plan to swap out twin pipelines beneath the Straits of Mackinac and protect them in a bedrock tunnel.

Michigan lawmakers: ‘Every little thing’ doesn’t need environmental protection

December 4, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

With little debate, legislation is sailing through the Legislature to deregulate wetlands, loosen rules for cleaning toxic sites and secure Line 5. The changes are ‘unprecedented," a critic says. 

As he exits, Michigan lawmaker wants to gut wetland protection, boost waste

December 4, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Term-limited Republican Sen. Tom Casperson’s lame-duck bills would cut wetland protections in half in most counties, raise allowable levels of radioactive landfill waste 10-fold and limit local zoning of mining activity.

Mackinac Bridge Authority shouldn't oversee Line 5 tunnel, Michigan Republicans say

December 3, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Facing pushback and scrambling to complete his tunnel plan before leaving office, Michigan’s governor scraps plan to have bridge authority oversee project.  

Flint finds replacing lead pipes isn’t easy. Even when state promises to pay

November 28, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Momentum has stalled, costs are rising dramatically, and state officials are threatening to halt funding for efforts to replace all of Flint’s water lead pipes.

Michigan environment roundup: Climate change spells trouble for Midwest farmers

November 28, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

The latest can’t-miss journalism about Michigan’s natural resources.

Michigan waited years to heed warnings on PFAS dangers, expert says

November 13, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

A DEQ veteran sounded alarms about threats to waters in 2010. Seven years later, Michigan took action. ‘I was at the edge of the abyss looking into hell,” scientist testifies.

Mackinac Bridge Authority in no hurry to consider Line 5 tunnel deal

November 8, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

On his way out of office, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder presents Line 5 tunnel deal to bridge authority members, drawing deep scrutiny. 

Gretchen Whitmer and Dana Nessel vowed to shut Line 5. Now’s their chance

November 8, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Halting Enbridge Energy’s oil pumping beneath the Straits of Mackinac was key promise in the Democratic campaigns of Michigan’s next governor and attorney general. Can they deliver?

Lead levels drop in Michigan kids after Flint spike. But so does testing.

November 2, 2018 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

With map: After a one-year increase, blood lead levels are down again in Michigan. But is it because fewer people are getting tested now that the Flint water crisis has faded?

In Northern Michigan, tribes protesting Line 5 hunker down for winter

November 2, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Representing Native Americans across Michigan and beyond, a small group of “water protectors” say they plan to camp out near the Straits of Mackinac until Enbridge Energy’s oil pipeline is shut down.

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