Digital Accountability Suite

How Green is your Attorney General?

Monitoring the Attorney General’s office and sharing its work with Michiganders is vital in ensuring the office is held accountable

Attorney General Dana Nessel ran on a pro-conservation platform, and so far she is delivering. From Line 5 to energy consumers to federal litigation, our Attorney General is interpreting the law and her office’s responsibility underneath it in a way that protects Michanders, our public health, and the environment.


As Attorney General Nessel works as the people’s lawyer, we will continue to hold her and her office accountable through this tool — “How Green is Your Attorney General?”

Monitoring the Attorney General’s office and sharing it’s work with Michiganders is vital in ensuring the office is held accountable for protecting clean air and water, our public health, and our natural resources. Our “How Green is Your Attorney General” tool tracks and grades all actions by Attorney General Nessel and her office relevant to protecting our environment, re-energizing our economy, and moving Michigan forward.

The Big Picture

Review the most recent actions we’ve tracked and scored below.

48 positive
  • AG Nessel Intervenes Again as Upper Penisula Utility Company Requests Permanent Waiver To Minimize Customer Outage Credits – Weight 2
    Monday April 8th, 2024
    AG Nessel has once again intervened in a case involving the Upper Peninsula Utility Company (UPCO). In a request proposed to the Michigan Public Service Commission, UPCO has requested a permanent waiver from needing to provide outage credits to their customers during “catastrophic conditions”, which is anytime 10% or more of their customers are out of power or when there is a declared emergency. This waiver would also allow UPCO to count multiple power outages as one, further reducing the number of outage credits they would be required to refund customers for.  Last year, Attorney General Nessel fought hard to update MPSC service quality rules to require utilities like UPCO, DTE Energy, and Consumers Energy to issue automatic outage credits to customers if they experience 6 or more outages within a 12-month period. This was a small win for Michigan residents, who experience some of the highest number of outages and highest costs for their energy rates in the country. In fact, outage credits should increase and expand - to the point where they operate not only to compensate consumers fairly for outages, but where they act as an incentive for utilities to meaningfully improve grid reliability.   Michigan LCV has given this intervention a score of two, as she continues to fight to hold utilities like UPCO accountable and ensure they are not excused from providing customers with unreliable service.  AG Nessel’s rate case interventions have resulted indirectly in savings into ratepayers' pockets.  We love her posture, and want to see even more of it.  Read more about the AG’s interventions with UPCO here:>>> AG Intervenes in UP Power Case Saving Michigander's Money and Reducing Pollution - Weight 1
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  • AG Nessel Joins Multi-state Coalition to Defend the EPA’s Oil and Gas Methane Rule - Weight 1
    Thursday March 21st, 2024
    AG Dana Nessel joined a multistate coalition of 21 attorneys general to file a motion to defend the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Oil and Gas Methane Rule. According to the EPA, the Oil and Gas Methane Rule exists to reduce methane emissions, limit and monitor leaks more effectively, and set procedures for states to follow to further limit their methane emissions from existing sources.  Before recent amendments, this rule only applied to new or modified oil and gas facilities and did not include existing facilities under its purview. This amended rule will further protect our environment and public health by strengthening regulations on all methane emissions. This will reduce air pollution and protect from an increase in the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, which trap heat in the atmosphere and exacerbate climate change.
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  • AG Nessel Secures Reduction in Rate Increase in Consumer’s Energy Rate Case – Weight 1
    Saturday September 30th, 2023
    Weight 1 AG Nessel recently intervened in a Consumer’s Energy gas rate case in which they requested a $175 million rate increase and a $2-per-month increase in service charges. AG Nessel’s intervention in this case reduced the rate increase to only $95 million, or an average of 3.9% increase for residential ratepayers. AG Nessel’s continued interventions at the Public Service Commission are necessary to minimize rate increase for ratepayers in Michigan. However, big utilities like Consumer’s Energy and DTE Energy continue to file for large rate increases each year even while earning significant profit for shareholders. In 2023, Consumers Energy gross profit was $1.071 billion, a nearly 7% increase from 2022. More, it is apparent that major IOU’s ‘bake in’ a cushion into their compensation requests in expectation of a PSC reduction.   Michigan LCV will continue to watch rate-case outcomes at the PSC for signs that regulators are increasingly holding IOU’s to task in delivering meaningful and measurable grid reliability improvements for the return requested.  The status quo is not working.  
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  • AG Nessel Files a Brief to Appeal Line 5 Case Return to State Courts - Weight 1
    Tuesday September 26th, 2023
    Weight 1 AG Nessel filed an appeal in the Enbridge Line 5 case currently being heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, arguing that the case should be sent back to the state court where it was originally litigated. The appeal comes after Enbridge had originally agreed to argue the case at the state level, and had only disagreed with the court’s jurisdiction after the state court ruled in favor of temporarily shutting down the pipeline located in the Straits of Mackinac. The appeal has drawn broad support from states and organizations across the country. Following the appeal, amicus briefs in support of AG Nessel’s appeal were filed by 12 states and the District of Columbia, 63 tribal and first nations, the Great Lakes Business Network, and multiple environmental organizations. While discussing her gratitude for the broad support for her appeal, AG Nessel further described the ongoing urgency surrounding the Line 5 case, “[t]he Line 5 pipelines are a ticking time bomb that has already been struck by anchors or other objects on multiple occasions. It is unfortunate that Enbridge has been able to delay this lawsuit for three years with procedural gamesmanship, but I am hopeful that the Sixth Circuit will send this case back to state court where it belongs, and where it can be promptly decided.”
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  • AG Nessel Sues Grand Rapids Airport for PFAS contamination of Drinking Water - Weight 3
    Monday September 11th, 2023
    Weight 3 AG Nessel filed a lawsuit against the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority in Kent County in an effort to compel the remediation of PFAS contamination released from the site.  The lawsuit comes after EGLE sent repeated warnings about PFAS releases and notice of violations of its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permit (NPDES). The airport site is recognized as one of Michigan’s more than 200 known PFAS contaminated sites, and PFAS has made its way into the groundwater and nearby drinking water sources.     PFAS is a harmful group of chemicals, both to human and environmental health. Once it is in the environment it is very difficult to clean up. >>>> Click here to read more on PFAS. The state’s suit alleges that the airport’s releases are potentially dangerous for public health, and the environment, and that the discharge has made its way to the Thornapple River.  This lawsuit sends an important ‘enforcement’ message not only to Gerald R. Ford Airport Authority, but also to other polluters in Michigan - regardless of their size, status, or brand. In reference to the lawsuit, AG Nessel said “Under Michigan law, if you caused the contamination, you must remediate it. We will continue to pursue our claims against the Authority until a satisfactory result is reached that protects the public and the environment.”
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  • AG Nessel Joins Coalition to Call for Federal Strategy in Addressing Plastic Pollution - Weight 1
    Friday September 8th, 2023
    Weight 1 AG Nessel recently joined a coalition of 14 other attorneys general to write a joint letter to the Environmental Protection Agency calling for a federal strategy to address the plastic pollution crisis. The letter calls for a proactive solution to the ongoing issue of the lifecycle of plastic and the harms it causes at each stage.  The letter details that plastic production plants produce air and water pollution. Many of these plants are located in low-income and communities of color, making the plastic crisis an environmental justice issue. Throughout their lifecycle, plastics are used and discarded into landfills or the natural environment. Plastics break down over time, into smaller particles called microplastics which have found their way into waterways and aquatic species including fish and other animals. This is an especially important issue in the Great Lakes state where we are surrounded by 20% of the world's surface freshwater (EGLE).  Plastic pollution solutions must go beyond  recycling and reuse efforts; we must reduce how much is produced and consumed. AG Nessel, alongside the 14 other attorneys general, calls for a reduction in plastic production and use, and their letter asks the EPA to promote the reuse of existing plastic as opposed to creating new plastics.  It also encourages the study of plastic use within the fashion industry for textile materials like polyester, and calls for the establishment of more detailed criteria for plastic recycling processes that protect the environment and human health.
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  • AG Nessel Urges Congress to Protect Essential Climate Funding within IRA – Weight 2
    Tuesday August 29th, 2023
    Weight 2 AG Nessel joined a coalition of 11 other states to urge Congress to uphold funding within the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), to protect billions of dollars towards climate solutions. The letter specifically opposes cuts to the IRA that would help small businesses and farm owners transition to renewable energy, encourage more clean energy to reduce pollution in disadvantaged communities, and help families create healthier homes by installing electric appliances. The IRA is essential to provide funding for families and small businesses access to clean energy. It is a crucial puzzle piece in the United States’ efforts to address climate change and help in the transition to clean energy across the country. We applaud AG Nessel for advocating to uphold these funds toward projects that will help reduce pollution, provide farmers and small businesses a funding source for clean energy projects, and encourage better health outcomes for families who make the switch to electric appliances.  >>>  Read the full letter here 
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  • AG Nessel Joins Comment Letter in Support of Proposed Gas Pipeline Leak Detection Rules - Weight 1
    Wednesday August 23rd, 2023
    Weight 1 AG Nessel joined a coalition of eleven other Attorney Generals in a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation to support proposed rules for pipeline leak detection and repairs. The letter addresses the extensive harm caused by methane leaks and recommends that the proposed rules be applied to future gas pipeline standards overall.  In the letter, the coalition of Attorney Generals called attention to the danger of methane leaks, both to human health and climate. Methane, also referred to as “natural gas”, is a greenhouse gas that can trap up to 25x more heat into the atmosphere over it’s lifetime compared to carbon dioxide. The letter also references a 2023 IPCC report stating that “methane emissions must be cut in approximately half of 2015 levels before 2050 in order to limit global surface temperature increases to 2℃ above 1850 levels by the end of this century”. "We must update and strengthen federal pipeline safety rules to protect the public from harmful methane emissions, which threaten our health and exacerbate climate change," -Attorney General Dana Nessel The AGs support within this letter for the new proposed rule is a statement to the federal government that more can and should be done to address the climate crisis.  Unintentional methane leaks from pipelines further exacerbate the climate crisis, while counteracting the benefits of statewide policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These proposed new rules would reduce the amount of methane that enters the atmosphere and save lives in the process.
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  • AG Nessel Formally Supports Ocean / Great Lakes Justice Strategy - Weight 1
    Wednesday July 26th, 2023
    Weight 1 During the summer of 2023 Michigan’s Office of Attorney General joined with California and 5 other Attorney’s General to formally comment in support of the US Biden Administration's national Ocean Justice Strategy. The strategy, which also includes the Great Lakes (of which Michigan boasts 3288 linear miles) is being developed by the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality. The joint letter called for the inclusion of seven major objectives:   
    • Equitable public access to the oceans, coasts, and the Great Lakes.
    • Alleviate the impacts of air pollution sources on nearby ocean justice communities.
    • Comprehensively identify all of the disparate harms ocean justice communities face from various sources of pollution.
    • Equitable management and protection of the oceans, coasts, and the Great Lakes.
    • Addressing and mending past harms and injustices. 
    • Equitable adaptation to climate change.
    • Meaningful engagement of ocean justice communities early in the process of any federal action.
    Michigan’s unparalleled freshwater coastline resources are globally unique.  Protecting those resources and ensuring equitable access to this shared heritage, now and into the future, is of paramount interest to Michiganders and all those that depend on the Great Lakes.  Michigan LCV applauds Attorney General Nessel for taking an interest in this issue.  
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  • AG Nessel Continues to Voice Support for Shutting Down Line 5 by Uplifting Wisconsin Court’s Decision - Weight 1
    Friday July 21st, 2023
    Weight 1 AG Nessel voiced her support for a Wisconsin judge’s ruling that Enbridge is trespassing on the Chippewa Indians Bad River Band reservation. The ruling determined Enbridge must relocate the 41 mile portion of Line 5 that crosses the reservation, and to pay more than $5 million in profits to the Bad River Band. AG Nessel has shown continued support and attention to decommissioning Line 5, which AG Nessel herself referred to as a “ticking time bomb” in the Great Lakes due to environmental and economic harms that would result from a Line 5 oil spill.  AG Nessel explained that, despite the recent decision, she foresees an ongoing legal battle to continue and will further advance her own lawsuit against Enbridge that claims a similar trespass along the bottomlands of the Straits of Mackinac. Additionally, Enbridge has already publicly committed to appealing the recent Wisconsin decision, so further proceedings are expected.
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  • AG Nessel Wants Utilities to Credit Customers Who Face Power Outages - Weight 1
    Monday February 27th, 2023
    AG Nessel has called on DTE Energy and Consumers Energy to proactively issue credits to their customers facing power outages. The ice storm this previous weekend left thousands of customers without power for days at a time. AG Nessel has requested the Michigan Public Service Commission reconsider her recommendations to improve grid reliability, credits to customers facing power outages, and implementing affordable energy rates. AG Nessel explained she plans to continue working with the legislature to require automatic credits to customers who lose power, increased credits to customers who incurred additional expenses as a result of the power outage (hotels, food, etc), and to find a system that will allow for utility accountability to ensure the utilities are investing in upgrades that increase grid reliability. Residents seeking resources during power outages can contact 2-1-1 which is a free service provided by United Way to connect Michigan residents with warming centers and local providers in their communities. Residents can also check Michigan State Police to review readiness checklists to prepare for power outages.
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  • AG Nessel Joins Coalition to Regulate Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Facilities - Weight 2
    Monday January 16th, 2023
    AG Nessel joined a multistate coalition to support the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to increase regulation of emissions from facilities in the oil and natural gas industry. This would allow regulation of new and existing facilities, which has the potential to dramatically reduce emissions of methane, volatile organic compounds, and hazardous air pollutants. The regulation of methane would be a crucial step in preventing additional warming, as it is a greenhouse gas that is more powerful than carbon dioxide in trapping heat in the atmosphere. Over 20 years, methane can trap nearly 80 times as much heat compared to the same amount of carbon dioxide.
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  • AG Nessel and Coalition of 17 States Resolve with the Department of Energy for New Federal Energy Standards
    Monday October 3rd, 2022
    AG Nessel, alongside a coalition of 17 other states, has secured an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to update federal energy standards for over 20 categories of products. These updates will require common household  appliances to be more energy efficient. The proposed  standards impact  around 90% of the total energy used in homes, which will save homeowners money on utility bills as their appliances become more efficient. The estimated savings are $600 billion by 2050, and prevents nearly a billion metric tons of carbon-pollution being emitted by 2040, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.  AG Nessel joined this coalition of 17 states, DC, and the City of New York in a complaint filed in 2020 to DOE. The complaint alleged the DOE was not complying with the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, which requires DOE to update energy efficiency standards for products periodically.
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  • AG Nessel Announces EGLE Order Against Flint River Polluter
    Monday September 19th, 2022
    AG Nessel announced the issuance of an Order by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to a chemical manufacturer, Lockhart Chemical Company, based in Flint. Lockhart’s underground tunnels that carry their chemicals to the wastewater treatment plant were found to have leaks which allowed these pollutants to make their way into the Flint River. This was determined through EGLE “fingerprinting”, which allowed the agency to pinpoint where the pollutants were originating from. EGLE had asked for voluntary-action from Lockhart before issuing this Order, but the company did not adequately stop their pollution leading to more agency involvement. Under Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, EGLE was authorized to order Lockhart’s use of certain underground tunnels whose contents eventually made the journey into the Flint River. With this action AG Nessel is holding Michigan polluters accountable. Read the order here.
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  • AG Nessel Joins Multi-state Coalition for Federal Fuel Economy Standards
    Tuesday August 23rd, 2022
    AG Nessel has joined 17 other attorney generals in a coalition to file a motion to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) to adopt stricter fuel economy standards. The coalition reasoned that states have a responsibility to protect residents and state resources.  AG Nessel explained her support of this motion: “This will reduce harmful emissions, save consumers money, and help protect the health of our communities.”  What do these stricter fuel economy standards mean for Michigan? These standards estimate that they will save consumers over $98 billion on gas via the estimated 60 billion gallons of gasoline these fuel efficient cars will save. In turn, this will reduce the amount of harmful air pollution from tailpipe emissions and fuel refinery operations. This is an overall win for public health, but especially for low-income and communities of color where fuel refineries are typically located.
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  • AG Nessel Asks EPA to Consider National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Greenhouse Gasses
    Friday August 5th, 2022
    AG Nessel along with 7 other attorney generals wrote a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator to encourage the EPA to consider establishing National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for greenhouse gas emissions. This comes as a response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision (West Virginia v. EPA) which limited the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. This plan would require each state to create a climate action plan specific to their state’s needs.  The letter emphasized the EPA’s responsibility to identify concentrations of pollutants that are harmful to public health and welfare, as outlined in the NAAQS provisions of the Clean Air Act. The letter went on to explain how limiting greenhouse gas emissions is directly related to slowing a dangerous rise in average global temperature.
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  • AG Nessel Files Lawsuit Against Companies for Polluting Kalamazoo River - Weight 1
    Tuesday March 15th, 2022
    AG Nessel, in conjunction with Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), filed a lawsuit against STS Hydropower, LLC, and Eagle Creek Renewable Energy, LLC, to compel them to clean up sediment in the Kalamazoo River after the companies grossly mismanaged drawdown of the lake to complete repairs of their dam.   The drawdown, which occurred in November 2019, caused over 173 feet of sediment to be discharged into the Kalamazoo River resulting in harm to wildlife and recreators, who in some instances, have needed rescuing from the muck. At the time the state was alerted of the companies’ plans to execute the drawdown, regulators from MDNR and EGLE attempted to work with them to minimize potential environmental damage. Despite receiving notices of permit violation notices and clear directives from both agencies, the state’s efforts were largely ignored.  Since then, both companies have failed to remediate the nearly 30 impacted miles of the Kalamazoo River. AG Nessel’s lawsuit is an important action to help restore this critical watershed, hold corporate polluters accountable, and protect wildlife.
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  • AG Nessel Secures Settlement with Arbor Hills Landfill - Weight 2
    Tuesday March 15th, 2022
    After more than a year of negotiations, AG Nessel and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) announced a settlement with the Arbor Hills Landfill in Salem Twp. AG Nessel’s lawsuit was initiated in October 2020 after it was revealed the landfill operators failed to comply with state and federal regulations regarding methane gas emissions and water pollution. The $2.3 million settlement includes requirements to resolve the issues at the landfill. Under the agreement, Arbor Hill Landfill must install monitors to detect methane gas emissions, identify and reduce the source of the emissions, implement remediation measures to minimize groundwater contamination, and conduct regular testing of the site for continued compliance. Also included in the settlement are provisions to operate a free hazardous waste disposal site for ten years and the planting of trees in the area to reduce odor. By brokering this settlement agreement, AG Nessel has ensured Salem Twp. residents will no longer be subject to harmful air and groundwater pollution which could pose a serious hazard to public health.
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  • AG Nessel Holds SW Detroit Gas Station Accountable for Air Pollution - Weight 1
    Tuesday February 8th, 2022
    AG Nessel secured a win for southwest Detroiters this February by winning a lawsuit against a duty-free gas station near the Ambassador Bridge that sought to ignore important Clean Air Act air quality standards that help reduce dangerous, localized air pollution.  In 2018, Ammex Inc. sued Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (the agency responsible for regulating gas stations) so that the company could avoid regulations that require all gas stations in southeast Michigan to sell low vapor fuel during the summer months. Air pollution in southeast Michigan is generally worst during the summer months due to high ozone levels, and fuel vaporizes into ozone at a faster rate during the summer. By successfully defeating Ammex’s lawsuit, AG Nessel ensured one of the largest gas stations in Detroit will be held accountable for releasing dangerous air pollution into vulnerable communities, which have a higher risk of air pollution-caused health problems, including asthma. 
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  • AG Nessel Holds Utility Companies Accountable for Recent Power Outages - Weight 1
    Tuesday September 21st, 2021
    In the wake of severe storms throughout August that left more than 10% of Michiganders without power, AG Nessel has launched a public inquiry regarding DTE Energy and Consumers Energy’s response. As part of the response to the failure of Michigan’s major utilities, AG Nessel published an online Power Outages Feedback form for individuals to report their power outages and document restoration time, and she held a listening tour to hear from impacted individuals directly. The effort to collect information from the public is intended to help better understand the full scope of the power outages and inform a more detailed inquiry.  Currently, Michiganders pay some of the highest electricity rates in the nation, but receive some of the worst service. As companies like DTE, have raised electricity rates to the tune of $775 million over five years with little improvements to service, Michiganders experienced the most amount of minutes out-of-power on average annually when compared to the Great Lakes region. Michigan utilities also have the second-worst restoration time per outage in the nation, even on days without major storm events. Michigan’s major utilities’ failure to provide reliable, affordable service is unacceptable, and we applaud AG Nessel in her efforts to fight for the interests of consumers statewide. 
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  • AG Nessel Holds “The Big Lie” Lawyers Accountable for Spouting Dangerous, Anti-Democratic Claims - Weight 2
    Friday August 20th, 2021
    This summer, AG Nessel secured an important win for democracy after U.S. District Court Judge Linda Parker sanctioned a group of Trump Campaign attorneys for their baseless lawsuits alleging voter fraud in the wake after the 2020 Presidential Election. Those that received sanctions include: Michigan attorneys Greg Rohl, Scott Hagerstrom and Stefanie Junttila, along with Texas attorney Sidney Powell. The effort to sanction the group of lawyers dates back to last January when AG Nessel initially filed motions for sanctions against each of the attorneys with Judge Parker. Michigan LCV applauds AG Nessel for seeking proper recourse against lawyers who abuse the judicial system to espouse dangerous claims that seek to undermine our democracy. 
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  • AG Nessel Holds Utility Companies Accountable for Rate Increases - Weight 2
    Thursday February 18th, 2021
    AG Nessel joined two rate cases overseeing Michigan’s major utility companies (Consumers Energy and DTE) to advocate for Michigan ratepayers, whose energy bills are some of the fastest growing, and most expensive, in the country.  Continuing her advocacy efforts on the Consumers Rate Case, which was decided in December of 2020 and which resulted in a $90 million total increase in Consumers’ rates, AG Nessel joined multiple environmental organizations in asking that the Michigan Public Service Commission reconsider their denial of a key, low-income ratepayer assistance program which would help thousands of Michiganders save money on their energy bills and avoid utility shutoffs. While the coalition’s petition was ultimately denied, AG Nessel’s advocacy on behalf of Consumers Energy ratepayers in 2020 saved Michiganders over $100 million in increased fees.  Similarly, AG Nessel’s office recently intervened in DTE Energy’s 2021 Gas Rate Case. In the case, which is currently pending before the Michigan Public Service Commission, DTE requests a $195 million (or 11%) increase in rates across all customer classes. In DTE’s last gas rate case, the Attorney General’s involvement helped save Michigan customers over $93 million by advocating for more reasonable fee increases. Across her time as Attorney General, Nessel has helped Michigan ratepayers save over $1 billion through her advocacy efforts at the MPSC. 
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  • AG Nessel Fights to Protect Michigan’s Free and Fair Elections - Weight 1
    Friday January 15th, 2021
    AG Nessel has repeatedly fought to protect the right to participate in free and fair elections, both at home and on the national level. In January of 2021, when Donald Trump was pushing the false narrative that the 2020 election had been ‘stolen’, AG Nessel joined a sign-on letter with all 50 attorneys general to condemn the January 6th Capitol attack, filed a response with the Supreme Court of the United States on the last lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2020 election, and repeatedly spoke out against anti-democratic efforts.  Michigan voters have the right to vote, and to have that vote count. AG Nessel’s responses to the anti-democratic efforts to overturn the 2020 election not only demonstrate her commitment to upholding our nation’s free and fair elections, but also her commitment to protecting the rights of Michigan voters.
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  • Negotiates Preliminary Settlement on Behalf of the State for Flint Water Crisis Victims - Weight 2
    Monday December 21st, 2020
    AG Nessel, on behalf of the state of Michigan, reached a preliminary settlement in August 2020 alongside Governor Whitmer of $641.2 million for victims of the Flint water crisis following an 18 month negotiation between state parties and the legal council of the plaintiffs. A public hearing took place on December 21, 2020 so the public could weigh in on the agreement, an important milestone that marked one of the final steps in the settlement process before it was sent to a judge for final approval. Judge Judith Levy of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan is now expected to rule by mid-to-late January 2021 whether the settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable before the claim registration process can begin and payouts can be made to victims. If approved, the settlement would be the largest in our state’s history, with thousands of victims receiving financial compensation by means of hundreds of cases being resolved. The state will be the largest contributor of the payout making up $600 million of total, with McLaren Regional Medical Center and the City of Flint also each contributing $20 million. The preliminary settlement designates about 80 percent of this payout to be distributed on behalf of minors who were affected, mostly to those who were 6 years old or younger at the time of potential lead exposure. Another 18 percent will be distributed to impacted adults for both exposure and property damage, with the remaining 2 percent being earmarked for special education services in Genesee County. When added together with previous aid for replacing lead service lines and emergency response funds, the state will have contributed over $1 billion to victims if the settlement is approved as is. Even though the state has agreed to the settlement, some private defendants that were part of the case, such as the engineering firms that had a role in the crisis, did not sign on to the agreement, allowing the plaintiff lawsuits against them to continue. At long last, after years of suffering by the residents of Flint, this settlement facilitated by AG Nessel will provide much deserved compensation to victims who were devastated by negligent actions that compromised their water supply. While this will not entirely rectify the wrongs done onto these residents, it puts an end to their ongoing legal struggles while acknowledging responsibility by the state.
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  • Filed Lawsuit Against Landfill Operator Who Continued to Violate Regulations - Weight 1
    Friday October 23rd, 2020
    Attorney General Nessel filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, & Energy against the operators of Arbor Hills Landfill in Salem Township, Michigan. In the lawsuit, the AG alleges Arbor Hills failed to comply with state and federal regulations and endangered the public’s health, safety, and welfare. The AG and EGLE are seeking injunctive relief that requires the landfill to operate in compliance with state and federal laws regulating air quality and solid waste management. According to locals living adjacent to the site, the Arbor Hills Landfill has been a nuisance for years and is a potential threat to the health of neighboring residents. EGLE has received numerous complaints over the last four years about the landfill’s odor, which is caused by a flammable combination of hydrogen sulfide and methane. The landfill is run by a company called Advanced Disposal Services which has a checkered past of environmental citations, including failing to install adequate collection and control systems that capture gas and leachate, which can contaminate nearby groundwater, even after telling the state they would install these systems on multiple occasions. These actions serve as an example of what regulating agencies can, and should, do to hold polluters accountable as we push for increased enforcement of existing environmental laws and nuisance ordinances. With this lawsuit, AG Nessel continues to display her commitment to protecting the health and safety of Michigan residents by cracking down on irresponsible behavior of bad actors.
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  • Ramping Up Enforcement of CAFO Rules to Hold Polluters Accountable - Weight 1
    Thursday September 24th, 2020
    The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), working alongside AG Dana Nessel, filed a lawsuit against a large CAFO operation that continues to violate existing permit rules designed to keep runoff pollution at a minimum. The polluter in question, Slater Farms, has grossly mismanaged its waste leading to nitrogen, E. Coli, and phosphorus runoff into adjacent waterways, including the White River watershed, which could negatively impact the Great Lakes. This is not the first time this polluter has violated laws designed to protect our water. In 2012, it was determined that they were operating a CAFO without a permit, and since that time have not fully complied with terms of their settlement with the state. It is refreshing to see a strong enforcement action by EGLE re: nutrient pollution and we look forward to more of the same.  This action comes on the heels of the Whitmer Administration directing EGLE to conduct a formal review of its pollution inspection procedures to strengthen enforcement and accountability following the discovery of toxic ooze on a freeway near Madison Heights in late 2019.  There was a lack of aggressive enforcement by EGLE’s predecessor DEQ; laws and rules are only meaningful if government uses both carrots and sticks to support them. It’s time to send a message to both small and large polluters that Michigan’s environmental regulations are to be taken seriously.  Well-designed rules and the best policies are important, but without proper enforcement, staff capacity, and rigorous ‘on-the-ground’ inspection procedures, they will not prevent bad actors from polluting.  We look forward to a continued commitment to enforcement that adequately deters potential polluters from jeopardizing public health and the environment.
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  • Protecting Our Waterways by Suing Egregious CAFO Polluter - Weight 1
    Wednesday September 23rd, 2020
    AG Nessel, on behalf of EGLE, filed a lawsuit against a large CAFO operation that continues to violate existing permit rules designed to keep runoff pollution at a minimum. The polluter in question, Slater Farms, has grossly mismanaged its waste leading to nitrogen, E. Coli, and phosphorus runoff into adjacent waterways, including the White River watershed, which could negatively impact the Great Lakes. This is not the first time this polluter has violated laws designed to protect our water. In 2012, it was determined that they were operating a CAFO without a permit, and since that time have not fully complied with terms of their settlement with the state. It is refreshing to see stricter internal enforcement of CAFO permit rules and waste disposal regulations. Hopefully, this lawsuit sends a message to large scale polluters that it's time to follow the laws on the books that prevent contaminants from reaching our drinking water. This action comes on the heels of the Whitmer Administration directing EGLE to conduct a formal review of its pollution inspection procedures to strengthen enforcement and accountability following the discovery of toxic ooze on a freeway near Madison Heights in late 2019.Having well-designed permitting rules based on science to protect public health is important, but without proper enforcement, staff capacity, and high-quality on-the-ground inspection procedures, rules themselves will not prevent bad actors from polluting our waterways. We look forward to a continued commitment to permit enforcement that adequately deters potential polluters from jeopardizing public health and the environment.
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  • Filed Suit Against Makers of PFAS - Weight 1
    Monday August 24th, 2020
    AG Nessel has filed two lawsuits against PFAS manufacturers - one against producers of generic PFAS-containing substances, and one against producers of PFAS used specifically in firefighting foams. The lawsuits allege that chemical manufacturing companies recklessly produced, distributed, transported, supplied, and arranged for the disposal of PFAS chemicals. The complaints contend that companies should have known that PFAS persist in the environment, do not degrade, accumulate in animals and humans, are carcinogenic, inevitably lead to contamination of the environment, and put the public health at risk. Furthermore, the lawsuits allege that the chemical companies did know these facts and yet continued to disguise the risk posed by PFAS-containing products, allowing for their use across the state and the globe. As such, the AG seeks damages that would not only force polluting companies to pay for PFAS contamination clean up, but would also provide funding mechanisms for future PFAS awareness education campaigns. Michigan LCV applauds the joint filing, agreeing with the AG that PFAS pose a severe public health risk to Michigan residents. Already, Michigan has over 190 confirmed PFAS contamination sites in the State, including several that have impacted drinking water sources. Lawsuits like these ensure that polluting companies, not Michigan taxpayers, will be held accountable for environmental contamination and cleanup, and also protect the integrity of our drinking water.
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  • Helped Broker $600 Million Settlement for Flint Families - Weight 2
    Thursday August 20th, 2020
    The State of Michigan agreed to pay $600 million to Flint families who were affected by the Flint Water Crisis. The settlement, which was reached after 18 months of intense litigation, will be one of the largest settlements by the State of Michigan in history. The preliminary settlement specifies that roughly 80 percent of the settlement funds will be spent on children - many of whom were under six years old when they were exposed to lead contamination from the Flint River. The remaining 20 percent will be split between funding special education services in Genesee County, payments to adult claimants, and payments to businesses who demonstrated losses in relation to water contamination. If the settlement is approved by the court and the funds are distributed to Flint residents, the State of Michigan will have surpassed $1 billion in aid to the city of Flint and its surrounding areas in relation to relief and recovery from the Flint Water Crisis. In our current climate, where the COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted racial disparities that severely affect the public health of majority-minority communities, efforts to compensate and reinvest in these communities are critical to our ability to ensure that the health of every Michigan resident is protected.
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  • Protecting Safe and Secure Elections by Opposing Cuts to US Postal Service - Weight 1
    Tuesday August 18th, 2020
    Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Michigan is joining a coalition of 13 states to file a lawsuit against the federal government over the recent unlawful changes to the operations of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). The lawsuit argues that the proposed and implemented changes by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy are both procedurally and substantively unlawful and risk the timely delivery of mail. The changes made to operations since Dejoy was named the U.S. Postmaster General in May include halting overtime for USPS employees, reducing operating hours, directing mail carriers to leave mail for the next day, ending the practice of processing ballots as first-class mail, removing mailboxes, and decommissioning sorting machines. Media reports indicate that sorting machines, which can sort about 270,000 pieces of mail per hour, have been removed from three Michigan cities. The lawsuit states that the changes “delay the receipt and postmarking of mail, harming the health and well-being of residents who depend on the mail for critical and time-sensitive items such as medications, bills, benefits payments, and legal documents. The delayed mail will include mailed absentee ballots, affecting elections of federal, state, legislative, judicial, county, city, town, and district officers scheduled for November 3, 2020.” Federal law dictates that any changes to USPS operations that affect nationwide mail service must be submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission and be open to public comment. Due to the negative consequences that will be caused by these changes, the coalition is asking the Court to order USPS to submit a proposal requesting an advisory opinion from the Postal Regulatory Commission and is seeking an injunction to prohibit the implementation of operational changes until the advisory opinion is given. The coalition also asks that the Court orders USPS to revoke any changes that have been illegally made. Nessel’s decision to join the lawsuit also received support from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. This decision is a step towards protecting safe and secure elections as concerns of COVID-19 and voter suppression continue to spread across the state and nation.
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  • Pushing Back on Trump Administration Efforts to Weaken Clean Air and Water Standards - Weight 1
    Friday July 24th, 2020
    Continuing her record of defending proven and effective environmental regulations, Attorney General Dana Nessel took action twice this summer against the Trump Administration’s reckless rollbacks of both the national Clean Car Standards and the Clean Water Act. Nessel took the first step against these attacks back in May, when she joined a lawsuit alongside other states against a recently finalized federal rule that weakens the national Clean Car Standards that were developed in 2010. The rules were designed to reduce emissions from vehicles that are a significant contributor to climate change, improve the health of Americans by having better air quality, and save drivers money by getting better fuel economy. Thankfully, the standards were successful at achieving all three of these goals before they became a target of the current EPA. Specifically, the lawsuit AG Nessel signed on to contends that the EPA’s rollbacks violate the statutory text and congressional mandates they are bound by and they improperly and unlawfully relied on poor analysis to justify changing the existing standards. AG Nessel also went to bat to defend our environment and public health in July by joining attorneys general in other states to file a lawsuit against the EPA’s rule restricting state authority in certain sections of the Clean Water Act. Until recently, states had the authority and flexibility to review and potentially deny federally permitted projects within their boundaries. In effect, this modified rule will prevent states from having any say in decisions over whether to allow projects to continue that pollute their own waters. In the lawsuit, the state AGs argue the rollbacks are unlawful because they expressly violate the clear intent and purpose of the Clean Water Act, goes against Supreme Court precedent on this matter, and contradict the EPA’s own interpretations of this section of the Act that spans numerous administrations, both Republican and Democrat. Signing on to both of these lawsuits this summer once again displays AG Nessel’s desire to defend Michigan’s air and water. These actions should be commended by all Michigan residents.
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  • AG Issues Restraining Order to Shut Down Damaged Line 5 - Weight 1
    Monday June 22nd, 2020
    On June 22, Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a restraining order against Enbridge to hand over crucial documents detailing recent damage to a support anchor on the eastern leg of the Line 5 pipeline. In addition to requesting the documents, the restraining order asks that Enbridge shut down Line 5 until the state can conduct a full investigation into the extent of the damage. This action comes on the heels of Enbridge’s failure to produce sufficient documentation to the state about the extent of the damage and after choosing to restart the western leg of the pipeline earlier in the week after Governor Whitmer specifically requested the pipeline to be shut down during the investigation.   Michigan LCV has consistently taken the position that Line 5 is a danger to the Great Lakes. Not only is the pipeline aging, but Enbridge has demonstrated that it cannot be trusted to protect the public good after having multiple instances of damage to Line 5 and a history of pipeline ruptures within the state. As a result, Michigan LCV fully supports any attempts by the Governor and the Attorney General to shut down the pipeline before a devastating spill irreparably harms Michigan waters.
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  • Swiftly and Effectively Settled with Wolverine Worldwide on Behalf of the People of Michigan - Weight 2
    Monday February 3rd, 2020
    In 2018, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality filed a lawsuit against Wolverine Worldwide. The lawsuit stated that the company contaminated residential drinking water wells by using and discarding PFAS containing materials. PFAS is a harmful manmade chemical that causes several serious health effects such as liver damage and increased likelihood of cancers. After an incredibly swift and successful period of negotiation, the State of Michigan and two local governments reached a tentative settlement with footwear company Wolverine World Wide that provides a solution for approximately 1,500 homes with PFAS in their drinking water. The company has agreed to pay $69.5 million for new municipal water mains and filtration systems while also agreeing to maintain home water filters until homes are able to be connected to municipal water sources. Construction will start in the spring of 2020 with new pipes for private wells that were contaminated with high PFAS levels. “Reaching a tentative agreement with Wolverine is an important step that moves us closer to our ultimate goal of ensuring that every Michigan resident has access to clean, safe drinking water,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessell in a statement. These new systems will take approximately five years to reach a portion of the homes affected. Unfortunately, the systems will not reach every one of these households. Priority will be given to neighborhoods with the highest levels of contamination. The deal covers comprehensive remediation along the former tannery site and includes more studies and monitoring of the area. The final binding agreement required approval by a judge which was granted by Judge Janet Neff to allow the project to begin. We appreciate the AG’s assistance with helping facilitate this agreement, and in particular the speed at which her team was able to find a positive resolution for the impacted community.
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  • Tesla Settlement Will Allow Retail Sales in Michigan - Improving Air Quality, Reducing Green House Gas Emissions, and More Quickly Ushering in the Advanced Mobility Future - Weight 2
    Wednesday January 22nd, 2020
    Similar to other states, Michigan has maintained a state law that prohibits and restricts automakers from selling vehicles directly to consumers. Auto manufacturer Tesla, Inc., however, prefers to sell its vehicles directly to consumers because of its niche market, which eliminates the need for their vehicles to be traditionally sold through a network of independent dealers. As a result, Tesla was not allowed to sell in Michigan directly. In response, Tesla sued Michigan alongside several other states that prohibited direct sales to consumers. In January 2020, Attorney General Nessel announced a settlement between the State of Michigan and Tesla allowing the manufacturer to sell vehicles directly to Michigan consumers.  The settlement allows Tesla to service vehicles through a subsidiary, deliver vehicles to customers in Michigan, and assist with sales through gallery locations throughout the state. These galleries will be able to educate consumers and facilitate transactions out-of-state. Tesla now has the opportunity to conduct demonstration drives and have conversations about pricing, service, financing, leasing, and trade-in options with prospective buyers. Essentially, Tesla can facilitate ordering and purchasing of vehicles as long as the actual sale takes place in another state. As part of this settlement, Tesla has dropped its suit against the State. We thank AG Nessel for pursuing this settlement; it will increase sales and enable more innovation and competition for environmentally friendly vehicles in Michigan.
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  • Supported Legal Action Against PFAS Polluters - Weight 1
    Tuesday January 14th, 2020
    Over the last few years, PFAS has become a central focus of environmental policy in Michigan both because of the length of time it can stay in the environment and its harmful and serious health impacts such as liver damage and increased likelihood of cancers. It is commonly found in  firefighting foam used by airports, military bases and firefighters as well as household items that create non-stick surfaces, like Scotchgard, Teflon and food wrappers. Due to several manufacturers displaying a lack of responsibility in the manufacturing and safety disclosures for these chemicals, this contaminant has been making its way into Michigan’s drinking water. As a response to this behavior, Governor Whitmer signed on to AG Nessel’s lawsuit against 17 individual companies, including 3M and DuPont, who have been some of the worst offenders of PFAS discharge into the environment. This is the first legal action on behalf of Michigan residents against PFAS contamination. In the lawsuit, AG Nessel claims the 17 defendants harmed the health of Michigan residents by concealing the dangers of PFAS and knowingly using PFAS and PFAS-containing materials that would eventually contaminate natural resources and expose the public to harm. The complaint states the 17 companies knew, or should have known, these chemicals would persist in the environment for a long period of time and become concentrated inside plants and animals. The suit also states the companies should have been aware of the potential or confirmed carcinogenic effects of these “forever chemicals,” and that the continued production of PFAS would increase levels in the environment and people's bodies. We thank Governor Whitmer for supporting AG Nessel as she defends the public health of millions of Michigan residents by holding bad actors accountable who contaminate Michigan’s environment.
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  • Pursued Legal Action on Behalf of the People of Michigan Against PFAS Contamination - Weight 3
    Tuesday January 14th, 2020
    Sites contaminated with PFAS chemicals are being identified across Michigan and the country. These chemicals are particularly concerning because of their mobility, longevity, and links to serious health effects such as liver damage, cancers, auto-immune diseases, and more. PFAS chemicals are commonly found in firefighting foam used by airports, military bases, and firefighters, as well as household items that create non-stick surfaces, like Scotchgard, Teflon, and food wrappers. Unfortunately, these contaminants have made their way into Michigan’s environment and drinking water in large part due to reckless action from polluters. As a response to this behavior, Attorney General Dana Nessel, with the support of Governor Whitmer, sued 17 individual companies including 3M and DuPont. This is significant as it is the first legal action on behalf of Michigan residents against PFAS contamination. In the lawsuit, AG Nessel claims the 17 defendants harmed the health of Michigan residents by concealing the dangers of PFAS and knowingly using PFAS and PFAS-containing materials that would eventually contaminate natural resources and expose the public to harm. The complaint states the companies knew, or should have known, these chemicals would persist in the environment for a long period of time and become concentrated inside plants and animals. The suit also states the companies should have been aware of the potential or confirmed carcinogenic effects of these “forever chemicals,” and that the continued production of PFAS would increase levels in the environment and people's bodies. To ensure Michigan residents receive the best representation, AG Nessel hired three nationally known law firms to support her department with assembling the case. It is worth noting former Attorney General Bill Scheutte was directed by former Governor Rick Snyder to prosecute 3M for similar behavior, but Schuette declined. Fortunately, AG Nessel took a much different approach. We thank AG Nessel for defending the public health of millions of Michigan residents by holding bad actors accountable who contaminate Michigan’s environment.
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  • AG Intervenes in UP Power Case Saving Michigander's Money and Reducing Pollution - Weight 1
    Friday December 13th, 2019
    On December 6, 2019 the Michigan Public Service Commission announced that it accepted several pieces of the Upper Peninsula Power Co.’s (UPPCo) integrated resource plan (IRP) determining it's future power supply.  The plan will lower costs for utility customers and has a number of environmental improvements including the adoption of: a 125 megawatt solar power contract that the utility presented as the lowest-cost energy supply option; an increase in UPPCo’s energy waste reduction goals to 1.65 percent of total annual electricity sales in 2020 and 1.75 percent in 2021. Energy waste reduction helps lower costs, reduce pollution and climate emissions through reductions in energy use. It’s estimated that every $1 spent on energy waste reduction saves $4 in avoided energy costs.  Additionally, the Commission did not support the building of a new 20 MW natural gas reciprocating internal combustion engine power plant. The Commission, among other concerns raised, said it expects a more robust discussion of alternatives.   The Attorney General intervened in the case beginning in August and directly supported testimony of clean energy and ratepayer advocates.  This type of ongoing legal support for Michigan’s environment and residential ratepayers at the Public Service Commission is an incredibly important tool in building a clean energy future and addressing climate change. 
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  • Joined State AGs to Urge Federal Cooperation with State Clean Energy Goals - Weight 1
    Thursday October 31st, 2019
    On Sept. 20 AG Nessel joined 21 other states in support of the state of California as it pushes stop the Trump administration from revoking its authority to set it own emission standards. This move would have national significance, as 13 other states are set to follow the new California emission standards, making up roughly ⅓ of the auto market in America. AG Nessel doubled down on this effort to curb both carbon emissions and Trump administration overreach by joining with 10 other attorneys general on Oct. 31, 2019 in calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to recognize and consider the states’ shared priority of transitioning to a cleaner energy system, and to adopt policies and take actions that aid in that effort. The attorneys general specifically called on FERC to consider:
    • Promoting market design choices that appropriately recognize the rights of states under federal law to grow their clean energy resources;
    • Assisting states in procuring the lowest-cost options for meeting electricity needs by eliminating barriers to competition for renewable energy generators, energy storage, energy efficiency, demand response, and other innovative clean energy technologies;
    • Comprehensively assessing the associated climate impacts and all reasonable clean energy alternatives when evaluating proposed new fossil fuel infrastructure; and
    • Exercising its oversight authority to ensure that the operators of regional electric grids and other regulated entities are fostering participation, transparency, independence and responsiveness to states, consumers, and other stakeholders.
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  • Line 5 Tunnel Authorization Law (PA 359) Summary Judgement Appealed - Weight 1
    Thursday October 31st, 2019
    Back in March of this year, Attorney General Nessel issued an opinion stating that the Mackinac Straits Authority (hastily signed into law during the 2019 lame duck period) was unconstitutional on the grounds that the title of the bill did not match the scope of authority granted to the authority in the legislative text.  A bill’s legislative text is supposed to match its title so that lawmakers have a clear indication of what they are voting on. Public Act 359 was passed by the Legislature in order to provide Enbridge Enbridge certain legal assurances for the construction of their Line 5 tunnel project. The Attorney General’s legal opinion prompted Governor Whitmer to order that Enbridge cease all construction on the tunnel, which in turn prompted Enbridge to file a lawsuit against Governor Whitmer.  Unfortunately, on October 31st, 2019 the Michigan Court of Claims granted a summary judgment, effectively reinstating the Mackinac Straits Authority by overturning the AG’s prior legal opinion. Both Governor Whitmer and Attorney General Nessel were swift in their decisions that the state of Michigan would appeal this ruling. Michigan LCV applauds this action to protect our Great Lakes from a catastrophic spill and mitigate air, water and climate pollution. 
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  • Announced PFAS Litigation Partners - Weight 1
    Thursday October 17th, 2019
    Back in May of this year, Attorney General Nessel announced her intent to pursue a lawsuit against some of the main PFAS manufacturers in Michigan, like 3M. This started the process of finding an outside legal team to support her lawsuit. On Oct. 17 after a rigorous application process and approval from the Review Board on Sept. 12, Attorney General Nessel announced that her office had selected a litigation team made up of Fields PLLC (Washington, D.C), Keating, Muething & Klekamp PLL (Cincinnati),  and DiCello, Levitt Gutzler LLC (Chicago). This team has a history of successfully litigating large scale environmental cases, and their contract with the State of Michigan is a Contingency Fee contract, meaning that no public dollars will be spent on the lawsuit. 
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  • Held Utility Companies Accountable to Ratepayers - Weight 3
    Sunday September 1st, 2019
    This summer Attorney General Nessel took multiple actions to hold utility companies accountable to the consumers they serve. AG Nessel intervened in Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) and rate cases with several major utility companies, urging DTE, SEMCO, I&M and Consumers to ensure that affordable and renewable energy were the top goals of each utility company. AG Nessel also addressed a letter to the Michigan Public Service Commission, asking that the PSC consider affordability and energy reliability for consumers in all decisions. These interventions have paid off for our state. AG Nessel was not only successful in lowering rates for DTE customers, but instrumental in steering the most recent Consumers Energy IRP to include provisions for renewable energy: “ This groundbreaking case moves Michigan to the forefront of reducing carbon emissions and promoting renewable and reliable energy,” Nessel said. “It also goes a long way to preserve and protect our state’s environment and provide a cleaner future for generations to come.” On August 30, AG Nessel doubled down on her commitment to hold utility companies accountable by backing an appeal against DTE Energy by The Sierra Club & Michigan Environmental Council. The appeal states that DTE used the approval of their Blue Water Energy Center Project to justify the approval of the Nexus Pipeline by reserving 10% of the pipeline’s capacity. According to AG Nessel and the environmental community, this represents a conflict of interest, especially as DTE intends to raise consumer rates by over $70 million over the next 5 years to help subsidize the construction of the pipeline. Effectively, this means that DTE used each of these projects to justify each other, and lock our state into continued investment into dirty fossil fuels that are not explicitly needed to guarantee energy stability. 
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  • Joined 28 States in Lawsuit Over Clean Power Plan Rollbacks - Weight 1
    Monday August 12th, 2019
    On Aug.12, AG Nessel joined with 22 other state Attorneys General and seven local governments in filing suit against Trump’s EPA and the new “Affordable Clean Energy” rule. This new rule would come at the expense of the Obama era Clean Power Plan, a rule put in place to put limits on emissions from existing fossil fuel plants. The Affordable Clean Energy rule, or ACE, rolls back the limits and will have virtually no impact on power plant emissions, prolonging the nation’s reliance on polluting, expensive coal power plants and obstructing progress toward clean, renewable, and affordable electricity generation. The numerical differences between the two plans are stark; where the Clean Power Plan called for a reduction of 415 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2030, ACE only calls for just 11 million tons. ACE also explicitly prohibits states from participating in cap-and-trade programs as a means of complying with the requirements of the Clean Air Act.  This new plan is a raw deal for our environment, and MLCV is proud to see our state join with other environmentally conscious states across the nation to push back on the Trump administration’s blatant disregard for the future of our climate.
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  • Called on Congress to Take Action on PFAS contamination - Weight 1
    Tuesday July 30th, 2019
    On July 30, 2019 Attorney General Nessel joined 20 other Attorneys General in sending a letter to Congress urging them to pass legislation to address PFAS contamination. The letter calls on Congress to provide funding for state level remediation programs, and lists other action suggestions based on firsthand knowledge collected in affected states. Other actions include designating certain PFAS chemicals as “hazardous substances” under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (which would help address our ‘orphan site’ problem), adding the entire class of PFAS chemicals to the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory, providing funding for remediation of PFAS-contaminated drinking water supplies, prohibiting the use and storage of firefighting foam containing PFAS at military bases and other federal facilities, and finally providing medical screening of PFAS exposure. We appreciate this move by AG Nessel to build congressional awareness  and action on this issue. 
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  • Lawsuit to Shut Down Line 5 - Weight 3
    Thursday June 27th, 2019
    On June 27, 2019 Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a lawsuit with the Ingham County Court system seeking to decommission the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline through the Straits of Mackinac, as well as stymie efforts by Enbridge to construct a tunnel beneath the straits. The lawsuit comes in response to another lawsuit filed by Enrbidge questioning our AG’s legal opinion that the newly created Mackinac Straits Authority was unconstitutional and therefore could not give permission for the proposed tunnel. AG Nessel’s lawsuit asserts that the current running of the 66 year old pipeline violates the public trust as well as the Michigan Environmental Protection Act due to its likelihood to contaminate our Great Lakes and undercut our economy.  The lawsuit comes after unsuccessful negotiations between Enbridge and Governor Whitmer, with AG Nessel stating:  “I have consistently stated that Enbridge’s pipelines in the Straits need to be shut down as soon as possible because they present an unacceptable risk to the Great Lakes. Governor Whitmer tried her best to reach an agreement that would remove the pipelines from the Straits on an expedited basis, but Enbridge walked away from negotiations and instead filed a lawsuit against the state. Once that occurred, there was no need for further delay.”  We at Michigan LCV are in total agreement with AG Nessel, and applaud her swift and decisive actions to protect our Great Lakes
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  • Legal Review of Law Creating Corridor Authority for Line 5 Tunnel - Weight 3
    Thursday March 28th, 2019
    Shortly after taking office, Attorney General Dana Nessel was asked by Governor Whitmer to conduct a legal review of whether the legislative approval of a proposed new Enbridge tunnel around Line 5 was in compliance with state law. The legislation in question (Public Act 359) was rushed through the legislature during an aggressively anti-environmental lame duck period.  It created the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority endowed with the authority to approve and oversee the implementation of a tunnel to replace the existing pipeline. The newly created authority immediately gave its approval on Dec. 19 2018 in an effort to tie the hands of the incoming Governor and Attorney General. Governor Whitmer’s request to AG Nessel asked important legal questions including: Does the new law violate Michigan’s Constitution? Has the Corridor Authority acted with more power than specifically enacted in PA 359? And more.   AG Nessel released her official opinion dubbing the newly created Mackinac Corridor Authority unconstitutional and thereby unable to approve any new construction under the Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge is still able to apply for a regular permit for building through Michigan’s standard permitting process, but they have yet to announce any new requests. While Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order to halt all construction on the proposed tunnel will not shut down the Line 5 pipeline itself, this is a significant step in the right direction.  The 66 year old Line 5 is years beyond it’s engineered lifetime and represents an existential threat to the Straits and Lake’s Michigan and Huron. It also transports oil and gas that environmentally damages the land where it is exploited, pollutes the air and water when it is combusted and contributes to climate change.
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  • Withdrew Michigan from lawsuit that would reduce the number of protected bodies of water in MI; filed a comment letter with 22 other Attorneys General opposing a federal rule which would curtail MI authority under the clean water act; joined lawsuit against rollbacks of Endangered Species Act - Weight 2
    Friday March 15th, 2019
    On March 15, Attorney General Nessel continued to follow through on her campaign promises by withdrawing Michigan from a federal lawsuit that challenged the legitimacy of certain bodies of water being protected under the federal Clean Water Act. The lawsuit sought to remove federal oversight proposed by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers that would place almost all large bodies of water under federal protection, including the Great Lakes. Concerning the withdrawal, Attorney General Nessel stated  “as Michiganders, we have a responsibility to be good stewards of the Great Lakes and all our waterways and wetlands, while Michigan has protective regulations in place, this lawsuit sought to weaken the federal law which establishes minimum nationwide standards for protecting our shared water resources, including the Great Lakes. This was a compelling reason for us to withdraw.”  On Oct. 25, Nessel joined 22 other Attorneys General in the filing of a comment letter opposing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule which would unlawfully curtail state authority under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act arguing that the proposed rule is an ‘unlawful and misguided policy that would degrade water quality and infringe on states’ rights.’ In a similar action the Attorney General filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in California Trout v. Hoopa Valley Tribe that would limit states’ ability under Section 401 to ensure their water quality standards are applied to projects needing federal licenses and permits On Sept. 27, Attorney General Nessel continued to protect Michigan’s environment from the Trump Administration by joining a lawsuit of 17 other Attorneys General and the city of New York against Trump’s rollback of the Endangered Species Act. Michigan is home to multiple species that are listed as endangered, and these rollbacks would do considerable damage to these tenuous populations. The new Trump rules would not only add economic considerations to the Endangered Species Act instead of science-driven and species focused analyses, but also push the responsibility for protecting endangered species and habitats to the state, detracting from the states’ efforts to carry out their own programs and imposing significant costs to our already strained state budget. 
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  • Withdrew Michigan From Four Federal Lawsuits Challenging EPA Clean Power Standards, and a Lawsuit Supporting Exxon Mobil on Climate Change Consumer Fraud - Weight 2
    Tuesday January 22nd, 2019
    On Jan. 22 Attorney General Nessel made good on her campaign promises to prioritize Michigan’s air, land and water over profits of corporate polluters by withdrawing Michigan from four federal lawsuits challenging EPA Clean Power standards. The cases in question are summarized below: 
    1. West Virginia et al. v EPA et al. 
      1. Lawsuit challenging EPA Clean Power Plan rules that cap greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants
    2. North Dakota v EPA 
      1. Lawsuit challenging EPA Clean Power Plan rules that cap greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants
    3. Murray Energy Corporation v EPA 
      1. Lawsuit challenging EPA standards for the emission of mercury and other hazardous substances from power plants. 
    4. American Petroleum Institute v EPA 
      1. Lawsuit challenging the EPA standards for the emission of methane from oil & gas operations 
    Attorney General Nessel doubled down on Michigan’s new legal approach by also withdrawing Michigan from a case supporting Exxon Mobil. The case in question, ExxonMobil v Healey, was initiated by Exxon to attempt to block Massachusetts AG Healey’s investigation into internal company climate change research and discourse. These withdrawals indicate a welcome pro-conservation interpretation of the law.  
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  • Legal Review of Environmental Bills (HB 4205 & SB 1244) Passed During Lame Duck - Weight 1
    Thursday January 10th, 2019
    As one of her first actions in office, Attorney General Nessel announced Jan. 9 that she would conduct a legal review of two bills passed during the 2018 lame duck session. The bills in question, HB 4205 (now Public Act 602 of 2018) and SB 1244 (now Public Act 581 of 2018) would hamper Michigan’s ability to utilize the latest and best science in establishing new environmental standards.  These “no stricter than federal” public acts limit the state from promulgating environmental rules that would be more stringent than established standards from the federal EPA.   These bills would not cap any contaminant limits to often loose federal regulations, but would curb Michigan’s ability to utilize non-federal scientific knowledge in the setting of new standards. This move clearly benefits industrial polluters and businesses at the expense of environmental protection and cleanup. Attorney General Nessel has not released any details on the nature of her reviews, but her office did clarify that this is a step forward on assessing the utility of suing 3M, the industrial polluters responsible for much of the PFAS contamination in our waterways. While the results of the legal review have not yet come to fruition, this move represents a concrete step towards holding industrial polluters accountable. 
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