In 2018, Michigan voters went to the polls and voted overwhelmingly for candidates who promised to clean up our drinking water, hold corporate polluters accountable, end the ongoing threat of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline, and protect our Great Lakes. So far in the 100th state legislature, positive steps in that direction have been few and far between. That is why this year our scorecard doesn’t focus on the incremental steps that were taken with nearly unanimous approval, but the more aspirational legislation that has been introduced and not acted on. If we want to protect our Great Lakes in an age of rapidly accelerating climate change, small and incremental changes simply will not be enough. Michigan is home to 21% of the the world’s fresh surface water, and we need to enact bold policies to address the major water issues facing our state.
Several environmental champions were elected to the state legislature in 2018, and they have sponsored and co-sponsored bold policy changes that would rise to the level of action needed. Too often the work of these leaders has been stonewalled by anti-environment majorities in the House and Senate who are funded by major corporations and polluting industries. The lack of action on these critical legislative priorities is a strong example of the corrosive influence of corporate money on our political process.
Michigan residents regardless of political affiliation want clean water to drink, safe air to breathe, and a healthy Great Lakes ecosystem for their children and grandchildren to enjoy. Despite this, critical policies to protect our water and environment like guaranteeing a human right to water and holding corporate polluters accountable have yet to even receive hearings in legislative committees.