Capital Catch-Up: January 23, 2023

Capital Catch-Up: January 23, 2023

Promising Environmental Bills Introduced in Legislature Begin to Acknowledge Clean Energy, Water as ‘Kitchen Table’ Issues

The first week of the 2023 legislative session began in earnest with the introduction of tax cuts for seniors and low-income families, a repeal of the 1931 abortion ban, pro-LGTBQ and union legislation and more. 

The second week saw several bills introduced that relate to environmental priorities. Some of the bills are promising, including legislation to define water as a human right, repeal laws that handcuffed Michigan environmental regulations, advance environmental justice priorities to benefit impacted communities, and more.

Among the promising bills is Senate Bill 0014, introduced by Sen. Sean McCann (D – Kalamazoo). The bill seeks to repeal Michigan’s 2018 ‘No Stricter Than Federal’ law, which prohibits the state from implementing environmental regulations that are more stringent than federal regulations. Passed during the 2018 lame duck session, Michigan LCV strongly opposed the law that has made it more difficult to regulate  pollutants.  

Clean water is a non-partisan, ‘kitchen table’ issue for millions of Michiganders.

Michigan LCV believes that the new pro-conservation majority understands that issues revolving around clean water and energy, like holding polluters accountable and investing in Michigan communities, are ‘kitchen table’ and ‘pocket book’ issues for all Michiganders.

With a fast start to the 2023 legislative session, Michigan LCV is excited to get to work with our elected leaders on clean water, renewable energy and environmental justice legislation that will help invest in Michigan communities, build meaningful careers, and put money back in the pockets of Michigan families. 

Read more about environmental bills introduced last week below. 

Important Bill Introductions

Senate Bill 0026

Introduced by Sen. Stephanie Chang (D – Detroit), SB 0026 would mandate fines paid by permit violators go to the communities impacted by air pollution. Many residents of communities impacted by air pollution have been historically marginalized; this bill would help advance environmental justice priorities by holding polluters accountable while putting impacted communities first.

House Bill 4023

Introduced by Rep. Vanderwall (R – Ludington), HB 4023 would amend the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act to include required distance between underground storage tanks and public drinking water supplies. This bill would allow new storage tanks to be placed closer to drinking water wells with the signature of an engineer.

House Bill 4036

Introduced by Rep. Dale Zorn (R – Adrian) and Rep. Bradley Slagh (R – Hudsonville), HB 4036 would prohibit local governments from imposing bans on natural gas and/or the construction of natural gas infrastructure. This bill would lock down Michigan’s current dependence on dirty and volatile natural gas.

Senate Bill 0014

Introduced by Sen. Sean McCann (D – Kalamazoo), SB 0014 would repeal Michigan’s 2018 ‘No Stricter Than Federal’ law, which prohibits state agencies from adopting environmental regulations that are more stringent than federal regulations. 

Senate Bill 0025

Introduced by Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D – Novi), SB 0025 would create a new act to designate water and water utilities as a human right. Access to clean drinking water and water affordability continue to be Michigan LCV priority issues.

Senate Bill 0031

Introduced by Sen. John Cherry (D – Flint), SB 0031 would require regular health screenings for lead poisoning for Michigan children, as well as documentation of screening. 

Quick Hits

Eating one fish may be equivalent to drinking water contaminated by PFAS for a month

A recent study published by the Environmental Research Journal has found that eating one freshwater fish in the U.S. is now equivalent to drinking a month’s worth of PFAS-contaminated water. This includes fish from the Great Lakes. 

PFAS foam can be found on Great Lakes beaches. 


MLCV celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Michigan LCV’s Abigail Barker and Wesley Watson attended the West Michigan Urban League’s 23rd annual MLK Day breakfast in Grand Rapids last week. Also in attendance were Michigan Rep. Hillary Scholten and Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks!

Abigail and Wesley with Majority Leader Brinks!

Budget surplus is massive opportunity for clean energy, water spending for Michiganders 

According to new estimates from last week’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference, Michigan will have a $5.1 billion General Fund balance at the close of the 2023 fiscal year. This surplus presents the opportunity to invest in clean energy and water projects that will directly benefit Michigan communities. 

Michigan LCV In Action

The 2023 Our Water Activists Program

Started in 2021 Michigan LCV’s Our Water Activists program provides a unique community engagement and training opportunity through a non-partisan community organizing lens focused on getting youth involved in the fight against climate change. 

Through the program, participants gain real-world organizing experience pertaining to protecting our environment through community and non-partisan political engagement. 

Michigan LCV’s Abigail Barker (left) and Jessica Schick (middle), who joined the Michigan LCV team after being introduced to our organization by the OWA program!

We are now accepting applications for the first of three Our Water Activists cycle for 2023.

Those interested can apply using this link

Update From Washington

BLOG – Regulating Dangers to Our (and the Planet’s) Health

Asbestos, lead paint, and leaded gasoline. Three examples of dangerous products we have phased out of use for the harm they cause to human health without much resistance from consumers. But some products, like cigarettes – and now gas stoves – are proving harder to regulate despite their negative health impacts.”

Read the full article here

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