How Green Is Your Governor?

 

"It's time to be bold. We should not walk away from high expectations, it is time to deliver on high expectations."

---- Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Inauguration Speech, Jan. 1, 2011

Throughout his campaign, Michigan LCV watched Rick Snyder campaign on a conservation platform. Now, though, is the time to turn promises into actions, because actions always speak louder than words. As Gov. Snyder works to reinvent our great state, we will continue to keep a close eye on him and his administration through this dynamic tool --- "How Green is Your Governor?".

We will track the actions of Gov. Snyder, his administration, and the statewide departments he directs, as decisions are made on issues that are vital to re-energizing our economy, protecting our environment and moving Michigan forward.

Governor Snyder Gets His Mid-Term Report Card (1/18/13)

We are proud to release the first-ever “How Green is Your Governor?” Midterm Report Card! After our own "relentless" tracking, we have assigned Governor Snyder a letter grade of “C” for his first two years in office.

You can find the full version here: How Green Is Your Governor? Midterm Report Card.pdf

>click here to read the press release

The Big Picture








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For older posts from "How Green is Your Governor?", visit our Archives


Thursday, July 17, 2014
 
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality denies Detroit Bulk Storage’s permit to store petroleum coke at a new site in River Rouge, along the Detroit River. The decision comes after much pressure from the public to turn down the permit application due to environmental health concerns. The Michigan DEQ denied the permit on the basis that Detroit Bulk Storage's dust control measures are inadequate, which holds the proposed project out of compliance with Rule 901 (b) of the Department’s Rules for Air Pollution Control. Detroit Bulk Storage’s permit request proposed that loading and stacking of petroleum coke would cease once wind speed reaches 30 miles per hour. However, when tons of petroleum coke was stored at a site on Rosa Parks Avenue in Detroit last year, residents noticed petcoke dust pluming across the Detroit River even when winds were not at high speeds. Petroleum coke is a byproduct from oil refineries, often called the dirtiest of the dirty remnants of oil processing. Read More...
 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) approved a permit for an exploratory oil well in Scio Township, less than two miles from the Huron River. Local governments and concerned citizens who want to keep Scio Township free from oil drilling organized in opposition and requested the permit be denied. More than 200 citizens plotted their pledge to stand up to West Bay Exploration’s pursuit of mineral rights in Washtenaw County on Michigan LCV’s Mark Your Territory map, and the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, Ann Arbor City Council and Scio Township Board of Trustees all passed resolutions in opposition of the oil and gas company’s permit application to drill in the area, citing environmental concerns. Despite efforts to maintain local control and stop oil drilling from coming to town, the Michigan DEQ sided in the interest of an outside oil and gas company instead of local citizens and Michigan's natural resources. Read More Here

 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Governor Snyder signs House Bill 5400 into law that expands the kinds of industrial byproducts that can be used as fill for roads and parking lots. Under the law (PA 178), toxic industrial byproducts like fly ash, collected from smokestacks at coal-fired power plants and known to contain high levels of mercury, will be classified as "beneficial use materials." Such materials can be spread on roads outside Michigan homes, schools, and businesses, and could pose a threat to public health, land and waterways in the case that it breaks down from use over an extended period of time. The law does provide property owners the ability to request a detailed report of the materials that are being used on their property. However, the law also allows the company contractor the ability to reject the request of the information if they deem that it discloses their trade secrets. Read More...

 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announces its decision to weaken air quality standards for Marathon oil refinery and the Severstal steel plant, two heavily polluting industrial plants near Detroit. Both have long records of noncompliance with previous air quality permits. Since 2010, Severstal alone received 38 notices of violation from the DEQ. For the past eight years both plants’ smoke stack tests have indicated that they release beyond the DEQ permitted amounts of lead, manganese, carbon monoxide, and fine dust particles. The companies sought revised air quality standards to establish more attainable pollution limits.  Read More...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Governor Snyder submitted a plan to double the recycling of Michigan household solid waste . The proposal seeks to bring Michigan back as a front runner in its recycling program by investing in public education and technical assistance, increasing convenient access to recycling programs, and developing markets for recycled goods through grants and other economic incentives.The initiative would be funded by a $1 million appropriation in the governor’s recommended fiscal year 2015 budget, along with $500,000 in Department of Environmental Quality pollution prevention grants that would continue to support local recycling programs over the next two years. Read More Here

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) temporarily bars energy companies Encana Corp. and Chesapeake Energy Corp. from participating in oil and gas lease auctions until criminal charges against the companies are resolved. The restriction comes after Attorney General Bill Schuette charged Encana and Chesapeake with conspiracy and antitrust violations that, if true, would have resulted in 97% less revenue for the Natural Resources Trust Fund, which supports land acquisition and proper land management. The DNR stated that the two companies will not be allowed to participate in lease auctions until the charges are completely resolved. This decision follows a joint press release in which Michigan LCV, Anglers of the Au Sable and Michigan Environmental Council called on the DNR to hold these two companies accountable by suspending leasing until the issue is resolved. Read More…

"How Green Is Your Governor?" tracks the actions of the Governor and the agencies that he directs. The DNR is one of those agencies, and so its actions are scored as well.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lt. Governor Calley signs into law a package of bills that would bring taxes and pipeline requirements for enhanced oil recovery in line with other types of natural resource extraction. Enhanced oil recovery is a type of oil recovery that uses CO2 to extract an additional 15-20% of oil from an existing well. While a tax break for any type of oil recovery isn’t ideal, enhanced oil recovery has the potential to curb CO2 emissions by recycling CO2 from industrial plants. Read More…

(Article V Section 26 of the Michigan Constitution gives the Lt. Governor authority when the governor is outside of the state, so Lt. Governor Calley signed this bill instead of Governor Snyder. However, we still count it as an executive action and therefore relevant to “How Green is Your Governor?”).

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issues a permit to Singapore Dunes LLC for a two-mile road through the Saugatuck Dunes, despite vehement opposition from local residents. The road is intended to allow access to 18 multi-million dollar lakefront homes that will sit on lots directly next to an interdunal wetland area. Scientific evidence shows that construction of the road will likely cause irreversible damage to the fragile shoreline, wetlands and natural habitats. Construction is set to begin this spring and last approximately two years.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Governor Snyder presents his proposed 2015-2016 budget for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). His total recommended funding for the DNR is an 11.7% increase from fiscal year 2014. The budget increase includes $3.5 million for 25 additional conservation officers to protect public lands and $2.5 million to develop Michigan trails. The Governor also places an emphasis on invasive species prevention, asking for $6 million to protect our Great Lakes from dangerous species like Asian Carp and Zebra Mussels. Read More…

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Governor Synder presents his proposed 2015-2016 budget for the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). He recommends a general fund increase over the previous year, meaning more funding for essential programs that regulate and manage Michigan's water and air quality. This extra funding will help to ensure that the DEQ has the capacity to adequately protect our state's unique resources. Read More…

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Governor Snyder delivers his State of the State address which recognizes that a comprehensive energy plan for Michigan is important. Governor Snyder started a constructive conversation about growing our clean energy economy in a speech he made in December, but we would have preferred to see more details in his State of the State address. Now it will be up to the state legislature to take action and turn out specific renewable energy and energy efficiency policy this year.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Governor Snyder delivers his State of the State address in which he expresses concern over both land-based and aquatic invasive species, such as Asian carp, and states that there has not been enough action to manage and control them. Governor Snyder says that he will be requesting that more federal and state funding be put toward invasive species management in the 2014 budget.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) intends to issue a permit to Singapore Dunes, LLC for development within 300 acres of critical dunes just south of Saugatuck State Park, provided Singapore Dunes, LLC complies with the conditions necessary to obtain the permit. The permit will allow construction of a two-mile long access road through pristine, nationally-renowned critical dunes areas. The critical dunes are extremely fragile and unique ecosystems, and it is highly likely that the road development will cause irreversible damage. The decision to issue a permit for development comes after considerable opposition from the general public, environmental organizations, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. It is a direct result of a major rollback to our critical dunes protection law that was passed in summer 2012. Read More…

*"How Green Is Your Governor?" tracks the actions of the Governor and the agencies that he directs. The DEQ is one of those agencies, and so its actions are scored as well.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Governor Snyder signs House Bill 4993 into law. This bill creates a public education program for wildlife management as well as the Michigan Wildlife Council, which will develop and implement the program. The program will be funded by a one dollar increase to certain hunting license fees. Read More...

 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Governor Snyder appoints Vicki Pontz to the Natural Resources Commission, a body within the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that is responsible for programs and policies that connect Michigan citizens to state natural resources. Pontz is currently the Director of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy, and she was previously the Director of the Environmental Stewardship Division at the Department of Agriculture (MDARD). Pontz's deep background in natural resources issues are promising, and we are hopeful that she will apply her skills to effectively and responsibly manage Michigan's forests, parks, trails and public land. Read More...

Friday, December 27, 2013

Governor Snyder reappoints John Matonich to the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) , a body within the Department of the Natural Resources (DNR) that is responsible for programs and policies that connect Michigan citizens to state natural resources. Matonich is the president and CEO of Rowe Incorporated, a national engineering and surveying firm. He also serves on several committees including the Joint Government Affairs Committee for the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, the Michigan Qualification Based Selection Coalition, and the Bylaws and Resolutions Committee of the National Society of Professional Surveyors. Matonich was appointed to the NRC in 2010 by Governor Granholm. He has made many pro-conservation decisions already, and we are hopeful that he will continue to do so. Read More...

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Governor Snyder outlines an energy plan for Michigan that encourages greater use of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and less reliance on coal-powered energy. He emphasized the importance of eliminating energy waste, and ramping up energy optimization. The health benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency were highlighted in the Governor's announcement. He cited clean, renewable energy sources as critical to reducing air pollution - notably Mercury - and reducing the prevalence of acid rain. This announcement is an encouraging starting point for action in the state legislature to bring forward sound energy policy that saves Michiganders money and protects our state's natural resources. We look forward to working with partners to put his words into action. Read More...

Thursday, December 12, 2013


The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announces its intention to prohibit surface development necessary for oil and gas drilling on nine parcels of property within the Au Sable River’s Holy Waters corridor. To do this, the DNR intends to change leases to be “non-development” agreements, meaning that the specified parcels of land will be protected from infrastructure needed for fracking operations and other surface drilling. In turn, the land would be protected from the inherent environmental hazards associated with this type of infrastructure. While the DNR could have chosen to turn down the leases entirely, prohibiting drilling infrastructure on the specified areas of land is a step in the right direction. The Holy Waters section of the Au Sable River is known for its pristine beauty and renowned fly fishing conditions. Read More…

Tuesday, December 2, 2013

Governor Snyder signs Senate Bills 171 and 172 into law, which discourage poaching in Michigan. Specifically, Senate Bill 171 introduces a graduated penalty system for illegally hunting antlered deer. The bigger the deer, the higher the fine. It will also revoke hunting licenses for up to seven years if a person illegally hunts an antlered deer. Senate Bill 172 will increase fines for recreational trespassing, in an attempt to deter illegal hunting.



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) proposes changes to regulations for fracking operations.The proposed changes would improve baseline testing requirements for watersheds prior to the commencement of fracking projects. They would require oil and gas companies to publicly disclose chemical additives within 30 days of when drilling begins. Both of these changes improve current fracking regulations, but they do not go far enough to protect Michigan's clean water. Read More...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Governor Snyder signs House Bill 4132 into law. The bill allows temporary appointments to fill vacancies on local conservation district boards so that the boards can still reach a quorum if a sitting member resigns. Currently, if this situation arises and a board cannot reach a quorum, the obligations of the conservation district board fall to the state until the next election of a new member. HB 4132 remedies that situation and allows conservation district boards to continue operating properly. The bill is now Public Act 114 of 2013. Read More…

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Governor Snyder signs House Bill 4094 into law. This bill prohibits hunters from being penalized or prosecuted for taking game or hunting lawfully in another state and importing it into Michigan if it is illegal to hunt that particular species in Michigan. The bill is now Public Act 111 of 2013. Read More…

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Governor’s administration releases a draft report on renewable energy entitled “Readying Michigan to Make Good Energy Decisions: Renewable Energy.” This report, which is a continuation of a statewide conversation about Michigan’s energy future, confirms the benefits of increased use of renewables. Among other findings, it affirms that Michigan is well-positioned to strengthen its renewable energy standard to 30% or more by 2035 and verifies the finding that energy surcharges will be significantly reduced or eliminated for certain electric providers beginning in 2014 due to the reduced cost of renewable energy. Read More…

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Governor Snyder signs House Bill 4668, a bill that streamlines Michigan's hunting and fishing license system and is projected to raise almost $20 million for conservation and protection of Michigan’s natural resources. Specifically, the bill creates a base license and increases the fees on add-on licenses. The increased fees will generate enough revenue to hire 40 additional conservation officers, as well as manage and maintain wildlife habitat and stock fish. This is the first update to Michigan's hunting and fishing license system in 17 years. Read More...

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Governor Synder appoints Erin McDonough to the Natural Resources Trust Fund Board, which oversees funding for public land acquisition and development. The Natural Resources Trust Fund that is backed by royalties from the oil and gas industry, and reinvests in state parks and outdoor recreation opportunities across the state. McDonough is currently the Executive Director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs. Previously, she worked for National Wildlife Foundation (NWF) and the Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy. Her extensive experience in conservation and land-related issues will be a valuable asset to the Board. Read More... 

August 14, 2013


Governor Snyder dedicates a trailhead for the planned924-mile hiking and biking trail that will run from Belle Isle in Detroit, up through the Lower Peninsula, and across the Upper Peninsula into Wisconsin. Several trail fragments exist already, but the planned project will add 200 miles of trail to connect them. The project will culminate into a 924-mile contiguous, statewide trail, and it is projected to be complete within three to five years. Read more... 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Governor Snyder signs Senate Bill 163, a bill that overhaulsMichigan's wetlands program, but in doing so, jeopardizes Michigan's control over the program. This bill was intended to address concerns from the Environmental Protection Agency, but it falls short and leaves our wetlands program open to federal takeover. More specifically, it rolls back protections for wetlands and creates more exemptions for construction and development within protected areas. Read More...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Governor Snyder signs Senate Bill 284, which establishes the Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund to aid certain energy customers in paying their heating bills. The Public Service Commission is authorized to raise up to $50 million for the fund plus an additional $10 million in federal money. While this fund will protect citizens during the cold winter months, there is no provision to protect the energy optimization and efficiency program. Read More...

Friday, June 28, 2013

Governor Snyder signs House Bill 4297, a bill that waives the Recreation Passport fee for disabled military veterans. Qualifying veterans will no longer have to pay the annual fee, which is $11, to have access to state parks. The bill, now Public Act 81 of 2013, passed both chambers with overwhelming support before being signed by the Governor. Read More…

Friday, June 28, 2013

Governor Snyder signs Senate Bill 264, a bill that modifies dredging permits. Now Public Act 87 of 2013, it allows for open lake disposal of non-toxic dredged material and reduces the dredging permit fee. While alternatives to open lake disposal do exist, the bill is not projected to have extreme adverse environmental impact. Read More…

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Governor Snyder appoints Sally Talberg to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC). Talberg, who replaces Commissioner Orjiakor Isiogu, has an extensive background in electricity generation and environmental policy and regulation, including her work managing Michigan Saves, a multi-million dollar program providing funding for energy efficiency improvements. Talberg also previously worked at the Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Environmental Council. The MPSC is a regulatory agency for Michigan’s utilities and public energy. Read more…

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Governor Snyder signs the FY 2013-2014 budget. Early on, the House version of the budget proposed $700,000 in cuts to the DEQ, but all of that was reinstated in the version that the Governor signed today. The budget also provides funding for the hiring of additional conservation officers to better protect Michigan's public land and natural habitats. Read More… 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Governor Snyder signs a package of bills that modifies the Qualified Forest Property Program and encourage further participation in the program. The program provides incentives for private owners of forestland to actively manage that land through harvesting and habitat modification. Read More…

Friday, May 31, 2013

At the Council of Great Lakes Governors 2013 LeadershipSummit, Governor Snyder, other Great Lakes Governors, and Canadian Premiers identify a list of “least wanted” aquatic invasive species which include several different types of carp and invertebrates. The group has also come up with a specific steps to reduce the spread of “least wanted” species into and within the Great Lakes and to further collaboration amongst the Great Lakes region. Read More…

Friday, May 31, 2013

At the Council of Great Lakes Governors 2013 Leadership Summit, Governor Snyder, other Great Lakes Governors, and Canadian Premiers adopt a resolution to ensure that water quality and quantity in the Great Lakes Basin is closely monitored and managed. The resolution also encourages collaboration between the U.S. and Canada in water monitoring. Read More…

Friday, May 31, 2013

At the Council of Great Lakes Governors 2013 Leadership Summit, Governor Snyder, other Great Lakes Governors, and Canadian Premiers adopt a resolution urging the U.S. and Canadian federal governments to identify and implement specific steps to decrease detrimental algal blooms in the Great Lakes Basin. Algal blooms, generally caused by agricultural runoff and runoff from treatment plants and septic systems, produce conditions that can produce toxins, kill fish, and rapidly destroy aquatic ecosystems. Read More… 

Friday, May 31, 2013

 At the Council of Great Lakes Governors 2013 Leadership Summit, Governor Snyder publicly states that he supports increasing renewable energy in Michigan. Although he does not state a specific percentage, he indicates he’d like to have options available for consideration by the end of 2013. Read More…

Friday, May 31, 2013

In a statement at the Council of Great Lakes Governors 2013 Leadership Summit, Governor Snyder indicates that he supports ongoing conversation about physically separating the Great Lakes from the Chicago Waterway as a long-term solution to protect the Great Lakes against Asian Carp. The Governor’s statement comes after a press conference in which Illiniois Governor, Pat Quinn, suggested that a physical barrier be actively pursued. Read More…

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Governor Snyder signs into law Senate Bill 16,which allows Michigan to fully participate in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. This compact is an agreement between 36 states to recognize hunting, fishing and trapping license suspensions in member states. So, if a Michigan resident violates the game laws of another state, their license may be suspended, revoked or denied, and vice versa. The bill is now PA 37 of 2013. Read More…

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Governor Snyder signs SB 288 & 289, bills that allow the Natural Resources Commission (NRC), in addition to the legislature, to designate species as game animals. The legislature will retain sole responsibility for removing an animal from the game species list. The bill package also grants free hunting and fishing licenses to active military members and gives the NRC authority to issue fisheries orders. The bills are now PA 21 of 2013. Read More…

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Governor Snyder announces public support of Attorney General Bill Schuette’s legal opinion that the Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) should not be used to pay for dredging Michigan's harbors and waterways. The NRTF was voted into the Michigan Constitution in 1984 to ensure the protection and preservation of Michigan land. Schuette’s legal opinion affirms that using the NRTF to pay for dredging would infringe upon its intended purpose in the Michigan Constitution, and Governor Snyder's public support emphasizes even further how important the Trust Fund is for the future of Michigan's natural resources and outdoors. Read More... 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Governor Snyder signs Senate Bill 233, a bill that provides$21 million for harbor dredging projects. With Great Lakes water levels at historic lows, dredging is a necessary step to ensure that the state’s tourism, shipping and recreation economies do not suffer. The Governor’s approach, to fund dredging from both the General Fund and the Michigan State Waterways Fund, is much preferred over other legislative fixes for dredging that mandate appropriating money from the Natural Resources Trust Fund. The Trust Fund was voted into the Michigan Constitution so that public lands would remain protected. Dredging is far outside the scope of land conservation and protection, and this bill signing ensures that the Trust Fund will not be raided, at least for the time being. Read More…

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issues a final mining permit to Orvana Corporation for its Copperwood Mine in Gogebic County, clearing the way for construction of the mine to begin. Although some measures were taken to ensure wetland and watershed mitigation, it is still concerning that a sulfide mining operation is set to be constructed within 200 feet of the Lake Superior shoreline. Additionally, amendments to the permit did not include backfilling the mine, even though it is considered a safer and more environmentally-sound option than storing the waste on site in a tailings pile. Read More…

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Governor Snyder appoints David Viviano to the Michigan Supreme court following the resignation of Justice Diane Hathaway. Viviano has served as chief judge of the Macomb County Circuit Court and prior to that election has worked for several law firms. While this appointment could affect environmental cases for years to come, especially if Viviano is re-elected in 2014, we do not yet know what that effect will be. Read More…

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Michigan Office of Regulatory Reinvention (ORR) released a report recommending changes for the Department of Natural Resources. One particular recommendation is that the state should develop a management plan "that will optimize the value to the state of its mineral resources." Although the ORR does not give enough detail for us to really determine what this means for Michigan’s environment, this recommendation shows a clear preference for development over conservation, even going so far as to undermine Article IV, Section 52 of our Constitution, which states, "The conservation and development of the natural resources of the state are hereby declared to be of paramount public concern in the interest of the health, safety and general welfare of the people." Instead, we would like to see an effort to balance the development and conservation, and ensure Michigan’s natural resources will remain protected for generations to come. Read More…

Thursday, February 7, 2013

In his Executive Budget presentation for 2014, Governor Snyder proposes approximately $30 million from the General Fund for dredging projects to stop the decline in lake levels in the Great Lakes and in waterways. Earlier this month, the legislature had proposed raiding the Natural Resource Trust Fund (NRTF), which is reserved for protecting and managing land in Michigan, as another option to fund dredging. The NRTF was added to the Michigan Constitution to ensure that funding would be available for state lands, raiding it for dredging would be outside the scope of that purpose. Governor Snyder’s proposed option is a much more preferred and appropriate solution. See Video...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

In his Executive Budget presentation for 2014, Governor Snyder proposes an increase to hunting and fishing license fees. The revenue raised from the increased fees would go directly toward hiring 41 new conservation officers, whose numbers have declined significantly over the years. The revenue would also support habitat improvement for inland lakes and streams. See Video...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

In his Executive Budget presentation for 2014, Governor Snyder proposes raising the tax on gasoline to 33-cents per gallon. This is a 14-cent per gallon increase, and would be used to mend the state’s roads, but it would result in decreased emissions and an increased desire to use alternative forms of transportation. See Video...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

In his Executive Budget presentation for 2014, Governor Snyder recommends $97 million in funding for the Department of Environmental Quality for the cleanup of leaking underground storage tanks and for grants and loans to municipalities for improvements to storm water and sewage systems. See Video...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

In his Executive Budget presentation for 2014, Governor Snyder proposes a 57% increase in funding for the Department of Natural Resources from the General Fund. Funding would increase from $17.6 million this year to $27.2 million. See Video...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Lt. Governor Calley signs Senate Bills 939-942.This package of bills creates the Environmental Leaders program under the DEQ which is a voluntary program that provides incentives for businesses to become certified "Environmental Leaders." Environmental leaders will undergo certain requirements, such as creating a pollution prevention program and conducting their own periodic assessments to identify areas for improvement. Incentives include less frequent inspections, 72 hours advanced notice of environmental inspections, less frequent permit renewal, certain fee waivers, and limited liability. Read More…

 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Lt. Governor Calley signs Senate Bills 1261-1266. This bill package revives the Michigan Civilian Conservation Corps, a program that encourages college students to perform hands-on conservation projects, such as trail and site restoration and surveying, while earning college credit. Read More…

Monday, December 31, 2012

Governor Snyder signs Senate Bill 1238 into law. This bill places several requirements on the Natural Resources Trust Fund Board, the Board that manages the Natural Resources Trust Fund, a fund that was put into place to conserve and protect public lands. The bill requires that the Board give preference to certain Trust Fund projects including those with land that allows motorized use, projects that identify each parcel of land by legal description, and projects with land that is located in a county containing 50% or more privately owned land. Read More…

Monday, December 31, 2012

Governor Snyder signs House Bill 5727 into law. This bill requires government units to implement energy efficiency measures to minimize energy consumption and reduce operating costs. It also specifies energy performance contracts as the preferred method for implementing energy efficiency measures - energy service providers conduct an energy audit of government unit facilities, which becomes part of the energy performance contract. Read More…

Monday, December 31, 2012

Governor Snyder signs Senate Bill 1280 into law. This bill severely limits the NRC’s role within the DNR. It eliminates the NRC’s role as head of the DNR and take away the Commission’s ability to establish policies for the DNR Director’s guidance. It also requires that the Governor, rather than the NRC, appoint new DNR Directors. Read More...

Monday, December 31, 2012

Governor Snyder signs House Bills 5673-5676 into law. This package of bills expand the Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund, which provides loans to municipalities to control water pollution, assist with wastewater and sewage treatment projects and ensure safe drinking water. The bills also provide loans to municipalities for wetland mitigation and water quality improvements. Read More…

Friday, December 28, 2012

Governor Snyder signs House Bill 4561 into law. This bill doubles the span of time between reviews of Michigan's construction codes from every three years to every six years. Given the rapid pace of technological improvement -- especially cost-saving energy efficiency resources for businesses and ratepayers -- overly lengthy delays in reviews can restrict the growth and demand for innovative manufacturing products and services. Read More…

Friday, December 28, 2012


Governor Snyder signs Senate Bill 1031 into law. This bill allows a municipality to use land that it has acquired from the state for recreational purposes. Currently, municipal forestland can be utilized for forestry purposes, but not recreation. Read More…

Thursday, December, 27, 2012

Governor Snyder signs House Bills 6007-6012 into law. This package of bills changes the ad valorem tax structure currently in place for nonferrous minerals to a severance tax structure. The bills propose that 65% of the tax go to local governments to compensate for the loss of the ad valorem tax, and that 35% go into a rural development fund. The proposed tax rate of 2.75% would be significantly less than Wisconsin's graduated tax rate of 3 to 15%, potentially making Michigan more attractive for sulfide mining than Wisconsin. Read More…

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Governor Snyder signs Senate Bill 1328 into law. This bill weakens and rescinds regulations for the cleanup of contaminated property, many of which are currently in place to protect the environment and public heath against hazardous chemicals present at contaminated sites. Read More…

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Governor Snyder signs Senate Bills 909-912, bills that will create a regional transit authority in Southeast Michigan. Regional transit authorities integrate all transit systems within and between cities so that public transit can be streamlined and become more efficient. These bills will encourage the use of public transit in Metro Detroit that will reduce air pollution, and will allow for the allocation of federal funding to transit projects. Read More…

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Governor Snyder signs Senate Bill 967 and Senate Bill 445 into law. SB 967 is a bill that authorizes MDOT to enter into a contract with a regional transit authority to designate certain lanes of streets or highways exclusively for public transit. Senate Bill 445 provides a system for managing funding between the two agencies. Read More…

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Governor Snyder appoints Michigan Natural Resources Commissions (NRC) member, J.R. Richardson as chair of the Commission. Richardson, who has served as a member of the NRC since 2007 and is also a member of the Michigan State Parks Advisory Committee, replaces previous chair Tim Nichols. An avid hunter and backpacker, with previous work in the renewable energy field, Richardson has a background in environmental action and conservation. Read More…

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

During his Energy and Environment Special Message, Governor Snyder designates 2013 as a year for planning and developing a new recycling program to move Michigan toward more comprehensive recycling efforts. He states that the plan will be complete at the end of the year and will be revealed in 2014. Read More…

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

During his Energy and Environment Special Message, Governor Synder proposes that the state creates a strategic reserve of natural gas so that it can become a resource for long term investment. The Governor emphasizes the importance of extracting natural gas safely, and unveils a plan to partner with the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute to study hydraulic fracking in Michigan and how it can be done in a safe, effective manner. See Video…

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

During his Energy and Environment Special Message, Governor Snyder emphasizes the importance of Michigan’s trails and proposes to increase the amount of miles that we have. More specifically, he proposes to connect a series of trails throughout the Lower and Upper Peninsula so that it would be possible to hike all the way from Belle Isle near Detroit, through the Upper Peninsula and into Wisconsin. In order to get this plan underway, he has called upon the DNR to draft a strategic plan for state public lands and how best to utilize them. See Video…

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

During his Energy and Environment Special Message, Governor Snyder announces that he will assume the role of co-chair of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, and he has revealed plans to convene a summit of the Great Lakes Governor and Premiers to talk about issues concerning the Great Lakes, such as water use, water management, ballast water, and he placed an emphasis on controlling invasive species. The summit is planned for 2013, and Governor Snyder’s goal is to outline a comprehensive plan for the early detection, response, and management of all aquatic invasive species. See Video…

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Governor Snyder calls on the Department of Environmental Quality to reestablish a water use advisory council during his Energy and Environment Special Message. A main goal of this council will be to initiate conversations about how we can integrate green infrastructure opportunities into our rivers, streams, and inland lakes so that the surrounding environments of these unique places are not compromised. See Video…

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Although he opposed a proposal to increase renewable energy through a constitutional mandate, Governor Snyder has shown his support for increasing renewable energy in Michigan during his Energy and Environment Special Message. He has called for open dialogue and several meetings during 2013 to plan out our next steps for renewable energy. This process will be extremely important for energy planning in Michigan. We currently have a law that mandates we get 10% of our energy from renewable sources by 2015, but by initiating conversation about this topic throughout 2013, Governor Snyder will ensure that we will have a smooth transition into another phase once we reach 2015 and are prepared to move forward with our renewable energy policy instead of stalling out. See Video…

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In a special address supplementing his Energy and Environment Special Message, Governor Snyder calls upon the legislature to pass a bill in 2013 to require information about energy efficiency in home inspection reports. This way, new home buyers would be in a better, more informed position on likely energy costs, and environmental impact when purchasing a house. Read More…

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In a special address supplementing his Energy and Environment Special Message, Governor Snyder commends the Michigan Senate for passing a bill package to deliver low-income heating assistance to those in need that includes provisions emphasizing energy efficiency. He has also called on the House to join this effort and pass the package of bills, as well. Read More…

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In a special address supplementing his Energy and Environment Special Message, Governor Snyder directs the Department of Natural Resources to convene a summit of the Timber Industry in early 2013. The purpose of this summit will be to prepare a business plan for the future of Michigan’s timber industry. The Governor mentions that this must be a complementary plan, inferring that Michigan’s environment and the future health of our forests will be taken into account. This type of convention is necessary to ensure that different industries work together, but we would like to see more details on how our forests will be preserved and protected while the timber industry continues to grow. Read More…

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Governor Snyder calls on the legislature to support legislation to facilitate management of urban and rural public land in a special address supplementing his Energy and Environment Special Message. He would like to see consolidated public ownership of these lands and increased capacity for both rural and urban local governments to be better stewards of their land, so that state owned land is not misused or wasted. Read More…

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In a special address supplementing his Energy and Environment Special Message, Governor Snyder announces that, with the Attorney General, he is sending a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remind them of their obligation to take actions to protect Michigan’s aquatic, endangered species from the harm that invasive species will inflict if they enter and inhabit our Great Lakes. Read More…

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh has adjusted plans to change regulations to increase the brook trout bag limit in the Upper Peninsula. Previously, Creagh planned to increase the bag limit from five trout to 10. This would have been done despite scientific uncertainty of the impact it would have on river and lake ecosystems. Instead, Creagh listened to opposition from various conservation groups, angling groups, NRC Commissioner Rex Schlaybaugh and concerned citizens, and decided not to increase the bag limit. Additional scientific research is planned for 5 streams in the UP to determine the impact that an increased bag limit would have. Read More…

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Department of Natural Resources releases its draft 2013 – 2018 Statewide Outdoor Recreation plan for public review. The draft emphasizes the importance of trails and parks, not only to outdoor recreation opportunities, but also to Michigan’s economy. It focuses on the economic benefit that trails and parks bring to Michigan’s tourism industry and outlines a plan that will ensure these areas are well managed and protected for recreational use. Read More...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Governor Snyder signs House Bill 5292, a bill that amends NREPA to allow disabled military veterans to obtain hunting and fishing licenses free of charge. The bill signing comes after unanimous passage by both chambers. Read More…

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

 Governor Synder joins US Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, and Detroit Mayor, Dave Bing, in a public statement to urge the legislature to pass a bill to create a regional transit authority in Southeast Michigan. A regional transit authority will coordinate transportation efforts in Metro Detroit and allow for more streamlined, organized transit. It will offer a mass transit option that connects cities and makes it easier for people to travel to and from their jobs. The passage of the RTA bill is also necessary for finalizing $50 million in federal funding for light rail and rapid bus projects. Read More…

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

With Patty Birkholz’s resignation, Governor Snyder appoints Jon W. Allan as the new Director of the Office of the Great Lakes. Allan is presently the Director of environmental policy and intergovernmental affairs for Consumers Energy. He has made many contributions to environmental policy throughout his career, including negotiating the Great Lakes Compact. He is a great candidate for this position, but at this point, it is too soon to tell if he will continue with Birkholz’s outstanding record of Great Lakes protection. Read More…



Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Snyder Administration gives a statement opposing Senate Bill 1212 at a meeting of the Committee on Natural Resources, Environment, and Great Lakes. This bill weakens current ballast water requirements for ships entering the Great Lakes so that the Lakes will be left more susceptible to aquatic invasive species. By voicing its opposition at this meeting, the Snyder Administration most likely stopped this bill from moving through the legislature.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Snyder Administration gives a statement opposing Senate Bill 1238 at a Natural Resources Commission (NRC) meeting. This bill increases the Natural Resources Trust Fund Board from five to seven members and requires that two of the members be appointed by the Senate Majority Leader and the House Speaker. By voicing its opposition at this meeting, the Snyder Administration most likely stopped this bill from moving through the legislature.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Snyder Administration gives a statement opposing Senate Bill 1235 at a Natural Resources Commission (NRC) meeting. This bill removes the authority of the NRC to prohibit invasive species from being brought into Michigan by taking away its ability to add or remove organisms to the prohibited species list. By voicing its opposition at this meeting, the Snyder Administration most likely stopped this bill from moving through the legislature. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Governor Snyder signs Senate Bill 1130, the 'Develop the Dunes' Bill, despite an enormous outpouring of citizen requests, expert opinion, and editorials from across the state urging him to veto it. SB 1130 makes it harder for the DEQ to protect sand dunes from irresponsible construction, undoing decades of responsible development. It actually limits local zoning control of sand dune development, requires the DEQ to approve driveways even when they'll cause erosion, and shifts the burden of proof from developers to the state about whether or not a development will cause ecological harm to the dunes. Read more...



Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Governor Snyder signs House Bill 5364, which allocates $38 million from the Natural Resources Trust Fund to almost 100 land and conservation projects. Traditionally, a non-partisan Trust Fund Board reviews and recommends projects to the Legislature, which then quickly approves and appropriates the full experts' recommendations. For the first time, however, the Legislature delayed and ignored the Board’s full list and stripped $2 million from the bill that was to go toward funding future, important land acquisitions. Despite this historic setback, vetoing this bill would only have further delayed the remaining projects. The Governor’s signature is a welcome conclusion to the Legislature's embarrassing performance and it ends the delay which for months has postponed projects which could be employing workers and providing recreation opportunities. Read more...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Governor Snyder signs Senate Bill 248, the Land Cap Bill, one of the bills that Michigan LCV, sportsmen, and land conservancies fought most strenuously against all year. This legislation, now Public Act 240 of 2012, caps the amount of land the state can own and manage for conservation and recreational purposes. Even more discouraging, for the first time, the Legislature now has approval power over the land acquisition plan necessary to lift the cap. Michigan LCV certainly supports the creation of an updated land acquisition plan, however it should be constructed without the political interference of a Legislature with such a poor conservation track record. The Governor's letter attached to his bill signing, meant to streamline the land cap removal process, is still only cosmetic and ignores the larger concerns. Read more...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Governor Snyder signs Senate Bill 1052, the "Beach Grooming Bill." Ostensibly a bill to allow greater flexibility for land owners to manage their shoreline property, the negative repurcusions of this bill make it one of the most poorly-conceived bills of the legislative session. In practice, it will deregulate an already-efficient regulatory process that protected fragile shoreline habitats for fish spawning. Furthermore, removing necessary protections will lead to uncoordinated invasive species management, greatly increasing the likelihood of phragmyties spreading. Read more...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Governor Snyder signs House Bill 5414, a bill that expands the amount of state land that is designated as dark sky preserves. The goal of designating dark sky preserves is to minimize light pollution on state lands that are generally enjoyed for tourism and recreational purposes. This bill adds various tracts of land in Emmett County to the program, including Wilderness State Park. Read more…

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Governor Snyder signs House Bill 5660, a bill that exempts frozen pouch drinks from Michigan’s Bottle Bill. The Bottle Bill requires that certain beverage containers, including those made from aluminum, paper, or plastic, have a deposit for return. Although deposits are not currently required for frozen pouch drinks, HB 5660 exempts them from ever being required. This bill increases the amount of trash that will end up in landfills and it discourages recycling. Read more…

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Governor Snyder signs the Fiscal Year 2013 budget, which includes funding increases for both the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This decision concludes a decade-long trend of budget cuts that has resulted in a 75% total funding reduction for these agencies. Although the majority of cuts were made by Granholm, Snyder slashed both the DEQ & DNR budgets by more than 13% last year. For FY 2013, The DEQ will receive approximately $15 million more than last year, and the DNR will receive approximately $8 million more. This additional funding will allow these agencies to function more efficiently, and will thus increase their ability to protect the Great Lakes and Michigan’s natural resources. Read more... 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

 Governor Snyder signs House Bill 5717, a bill thatprovides loans to farmers who have suffered devastating crop losses due to unpredictable and abnormal weather this spring. The weather mainly affected fruit farmers, and is estimated to have caused losses of $210 million. By allocating support to these farmers, this bill will help to keep their land in production which will both fuel Michigan’s agricultural economy and prevent other types of more destructive land use. The bill is also important in that it acknowledges the dangerous impacts of unpredictable weather, although more proactive measures need to be taken to prevent climate change, since it is the driving force behind the unpredictable weather patterns. Read more…

Monday, June 25, 2012

Governor Snyder appoints former Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) director, Keith Creagh as the new director of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). To fill Creagh’s spot, the Governor has also appointed former Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Legislative Affairs Director, Jamie Clover Adams as the new MDARD director. While Creagh has extensive management experience, there is some concern that his background in agriculture may conflict with certain aspects of resource management. At this point, it is too soon to tell whether Creagh will continue previous director Stokes’ record of positive conservation-minded decisions for the DNR. The same can be said about Adams; she too has experience in management and environmental policy, but we will have to wait and see how she continues to ensure that agriculture is a main part of Michigan’s economy. Read more…

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Governor Snyder signs Senate Bill 744, a bill which requires the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to extend permit processing deadlines by 120 days at the request of applicants. The extension allows applicants to resolve issues such as zoning regulations, project planning, and property disputes before the DEQ has to make a decision to accept or deny a permit, thus avoiding unnecessary administrative work and permit denials. Read more…

 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Governor Snyder signs Senate Bill 499, a bill that allows telecommunication facilities to be built along trails on state land. While an amendment to the bill requires that they be buried underground and the trail restored to its original condition, it introduces new administrative costs to the DNR. Read more…

Thursday, May 3, 2012 

Governor Snyder signs into law Senate Bills 528-533, which weaken DEQ oversight for leaking underground storage tanks, which can cause serious pollution to drinking water. This package of bills revises cleanup procedures for these underground hazards and allocates oversight of remediation to storage tank owners themselves instead of the DEQ, the agency that is mandated to protect our environment. By delegating this responsibility to storage tank owners - who may be more concerned with cutting costs than cleaning up contamination - these bills increase the likelihood that polluted water and soil will remain a danger to local communities. Read more...

Monday, April 30, 2012

The DEQ approves a permit to Orvana Copperwood Resources US Corp. for a sulfide mine in Gogebic County.  The DEQ has determined that the proposed mine meets the standards of Michigan’s mining law, but these standards alone are not stringent enough to adequately protect Michigan’s environment from the adverse effects of sulfide mining. Drainage from sulfide mining has already decimated thousands of miles of rivers and aquatic ecosystems across the country. The permit for the Copperwood Mine allows mining within 200 feet of Lake Superior, and by approving it, the DEQ has opened up the possibility of the similar damage to both Lake Superior and the nearby Presque Isle River. Read More…

Friday, April 27, 2012

 The DEQ issues a final denial to nine gas well permits for Antrim Shale gas on the Song of the Morning Ranch yoga retreat within the Pigeon River Country boundaries. One of the permits was denied  because it was within a 1/4 mile of the Pigeon River, violating a 1980 consent agreement governing hydrocarbon development in the forest, and the other eight were in a non-development zone. Two other permits were approved in 2011 which did not violate the agreement. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lt. Govenor Calley signs House Bill 4207, a bill that prohibits residential burning of certain waste materials, but also prevents the DEQ from enforcing rules to prohibit open burning of waste materials not listed in the bill. While the bill reduces certain risks to public health by banning the burning of plastic, rubber, foam, electronics, and other hazardous materials, burning materials that aren't listed in the bill will still cause air pollution. There is also concern that HB 4207 will limit the DEQ's ability to protect the public health. Read More...

(Article V Section 26 of the Michigan Constitution gives the Lt. Governor authority when the governor is outside of the state, so Lt. Governor Calley signed this bill instead of Governor Snyder. However, we still count it as an executive action and therefore relevant to “How Green is Your Governor?”).

Friday, March 30, 2012 

Governor Snyder signs an agreement with four other Great Lakes states and the Obama Administration regarding offshore wind energy. The agreement requires the states and agencies to share their existing regulations on offshore wind energy in order to increase collaboration and streamline efficient development. This collaborative effort will speed up review of proposed wind energy projects, thus accelerating the development of clean energy in Michigan. Read More…

Thursday, March 22, 2012

 Lt. Governor Calley signs Senate Bill 778, a bill to protect public access to Michigan’s lakes, rivers, and streams. The bill prohibits obstructions to public access at road ends, such as private docks or boat hoists, and violation results in a misdemeanor. While SB 778 ensures private obstructions will not deter public access, it does not prohibit existing easements or seasonal docks installed by municipalities or the DEQ. Read More…

(Article V Section 26 of the Michigan Constitution gives the Lt. Governor authority when the governor is outside of the state, so Lt. Governor Calley signed this bill instead of Governor Snyder. However, we still count it as an executive action and therefore relevant to “How Green is Your Governor?”).

Wednesday, March 16, 2012

Governor Snyder appoints two new justices to the Court of Appeals, Michael Riordan and Mark Boonstra. Riordan, an Assistant U.S. Attorney, will fill Michigan Supreme Court Justice Brian Zahra's former seat on the First District Court of Appeals. Boonstra, senior principal at the Miller, Canfield, Paddock, and Stone, PLC law firm, will fill Richard Bandstra's seat on the Third District Court of Appeals. While these appointments could affect environmental cases for years to come, especially if either are re-elected in the fall, we do not yet know what that effect will be. Read More...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

photo how green governor snyder 
Governor Snyder signs House Bill 4754, a bill that allows the state to sell a portion of a former railroad in Petoskey for conversion into a recreational trail. The state acquired several miles of tracks in the 1970s when some railroad lines went bankrupt. Transferring this unused railroad track into recreational trails encourages tourism and opens up opportunities to experience Pure Michigan. Read More...

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Office of Regulatory Reinvention (ORR) releases its recommendations regarding changes to environmental regulations in Michigan. Although some of the recommendations are justified, the ORR recommends cutting back numerous DEQ regulations that are currently in place to protect the Great Lakes, our unique environment, and public health. Additionally, Michigan Environmental Council, (MEC) the lone environmental voice at the panel meeting, actively objects to 1/3 of the recommendations and claims that another 1/3 will have no impact on the environment and are not priorities; MEC only supports 1/3 of the recommendations. Read More…

 Tuesday, January 10, 2012

photo how green governor snyder Governor Snyder appoints Rex Schlaybaugh Jr. and Annoesjka Steinman to the Natural Resources Commission, an advisory council to the DNR that works to conserve, protect, and manage Michigan’s natural resources. The Commission holds monthly public meetings to encourage citizen involvement in its decision making process. Schlaybaugh, the former CEO of the Dykema law firm, is an avid angler with connections to multiple conservation organizations. Steinman is highly experienced in land and water management and conservation, and has also been involved with various conservation projects and organizations. Read More… 

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