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 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.

Michigan tribes say Line 5 pipeline tunnel plan ignores treaty rights

November 2, 2018 | Andy Balaskovitz

Grand Traverse Band says ‘we were here first,’ but have been ‘pushed aside and treated as second-class people’ during debate and discussion about the controversial oil pipeline.

Great Lakes drownings peaked in 2018. And the year’s not over.

November 2, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

A safety advocacy group has tracked 728 Great Lakes drownings since 2010, including 105 in the first 10 months of 2018.

Minnesota has fought PFAS for years. Here’s how its plan can help Michigan.

October 17, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Michigan is planning to sue 3M for manufacturing hazardous chemicals showing up in water systems. Minnesota sued the company years ago and is sharing documents and other information, a top Minnesota regulator says.

Michigan environment roundup: ‘Bee highway’ to the rescue in Detroit

October 17, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

This week’s can’t-miss journalism about Michigan’s natural resources.

Enbridge to build $350M tunnel to protect Line 5 in Straits of Mackinac

October 3, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Gov. Rick Snyder announces that he won’t seek shutdown of controversial oil pipeline, opting instead for an agreement with its owners, Enbridge Energy, to protect it with a tunnel.

Monarch butterflies need saving in Michigan. Fenton woman does her part.

October 3, 2018 | Timothy Jagielo

Climate change, loss of habitat and destruction of milkweed are plunging populations of monarch butterflies, which are vital to the ecosystem.

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