Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Kingsley Rain Garden
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Rain gardens are a valuable tool in Washtenaw County's efforts to keep pollution out of the Huron River. Over two million gallons of storm water will be filtered this year by the 160 rain gardens installed by individuals that have taken a class though the county.  The program is expanding so communities across Michigan can benefit.


Michigan's recycling rate falls well below the regional average. It stands at about 15-percent right now.   Governor Rick Snyder wants to double the rate in the next two years.  The head of the state's Department of Environmental Quality believes an Ann Arbor facility could play a role in boosting recycling across the state. 


Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards
oilfreebackyards.org

Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards has filed suit in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, seeking to derail plans for an exploratory oil well in Scio Township.

The suit alleges the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality doesn't abide by its own permitting rules, and that the public was only involved in the process in a superficial manner. 

The MDEQ says its permitting process has a great record of prevailing in such cases. 

West Bay Exploration Company wants to drill the well.  It says the suit will delay the process, but looks forward to moving ahead with drilling.

michiganlcv.org

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters says now is the time for those concerned about how the state regulates hydraulic fracturing to speak up.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is holding public hearings to get input on proposed rules regarding "fracking". 

Jack Schmitt is deputy director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.  He says the rules as proposed fall far short.

facebook.com/citizensforoilfreebackyards

The group Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards is taking the effort to prevent an exploratory well from being drilled in Scio Township to court.

The group would not say who it's targeting with the suit, but president Laura Robinson says the state Department of Environmental Quality failed when it issued a permit to West Bay Exploration Company. 

Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards holds an informational meeting at 7 tonight at the Scio Township hall.

Wikipedia

1st Friday Focus on the Environment is a monthly feature on 89.1 WEMU. Michigan League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Lisa Wozniak this month looks at newly proposed state regulations for the natural gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The guest this month is fracking expert Jaque Rose. Rose is co-founder of the activist group Friends of the AuGres Watershed.

    

www.greenergrads.org

A Michigan man is making it his business to recycle graduation gowns.  The Grand Rapids Press reports  that Seth Yon's Greener Grads is on a mission to recycle 1 million gowns.

Wikipedia

Michigan ranks dead last among Great Lakes states when it comes to the rate of recycling. Governor Snyder Snyder is taking the first step forward to try and change Michigan's standing. 

In this week's installment of  Issues of  the Environment, WEMU's David Fair talks with Michigan Recycling Coalition Executive Director Kerrin O'Brian about where that first step may lead.