Environment Picture

Bell ringers! Environmental successes won in recent weeks

Get the lead out
MEC, through its leadership role in the Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Housing (MIALSH), helped secure $1.25 million in state funding for lead poisoning prevention and abatement in a bipartisan budget signed by Gov. Rick Snyder. Years of educational outreach to legislators and their staffs helped lay the groundwork for this important funding. Several legislators were moved to support the funding after personal meetings—arranged by the coalition—with families and others affected by the scourge of lead poisoning.

Budget buoyed
Heartening state budget news took place on several fronts in June. First, Gov. Rick Snyder’s general fund proposals for the departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality withstood attacks and remained largely intact. Funding was secured for Amtrak’s Wolverine (Chicago-Detroit-Pontiac) service which is a federally designated high-speed rail route. And a hunting/fishing license fee restructuring will provide money to hire more than 40 additional conservation officers to patrol Michigan’s woods and waters.

Dunes intact
A developer’s plan to ram a quarter-mile road through a township sand dune sanctuary near Montague was denied by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in May. MEC testified against the road, which in an Orwellian snippet of wordsmithing was called a “driveway” by the applicant. The state’s Critical Dunes Act was weakened by legislators in 2012 to make it easier for developers to build on the globally unique freshwater dunes that grace Michigan’s shores. The weakened law survived its first test. There will be more.

Runner up
The Michigan Environmental Council earned an honorable mention (runner up) in the 2013 Detroit Free Press Green Leaders contest. Entering in the nonprofit category, MEC was nominated by Gov. William Milliken, who wrote that MEC was “the most knowledgeable, effective and fair” environmental advocacy group in Michigan. The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy took top honors among nonprofits.
-Hugh McDiarmid
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