About Us

About MI Air MI Health

Unhealthy levels of air pollution in Michigan harm people’s health and reduces their quality of life.  For example, recent data shows that the state’s nine oldest coal-fired power plants emit pollution associated with 68,000 cases of asthma exacerbation and 180 premature deaths in Michigan each year.  On April 20, 2012, representatives from approximately 30 Michigan health organizations officially formed the MI Air MI Health coalition to give health groups a stronger voice when advocating for policies at the local, state, and federal levels that improve outdoor air quality, curb the harmful health impacts of climate change, and improve the health of children and families across Michigan.


MI Air MI Health is committed to ensuring healthy air for Michigan communities by assessing the health effects of air quality and advocating for the development, implementation, and enforcement of policies to address these issues, recognizing that clean air contributes to a healthy economy.

Health Professionals Education Program

MI Air MI Health partners with various Michigan colleges and universities to offer a health professional education program to teach tomorrow’s health professionals about policy and advocacy.  Our Coalition invites professors, instructors, and other leaders across the state to participate in this unique environmental health educational opportunity.  We host this half-day program in Lansing in legislative offices; It includes a basic orientation to policy and advocacy work, a panel of current health professionals that have combined their clinical work with advocacy work, and a legislative testimony exercise.

This program is flexible and can be adapted to specific areas of expertise, including medicine, nursing, social work, and public health.  This content is adaptable for both classroom sessions and student organizations.  Our current partners include the University of Michigan School of Nursing, the University of Detroit Mercy and Michigan State University College of Nursing.

For more information about this program, please contact Kindra Weid, RN, MPH, at kindra@miairmihealth.org.

Monthly Health Policy Calls

Health Policy Calls (HPCs) take place on the 3rd Wednesday of every month from 1:30-2:30 pm and are focused on reviewing legislative action taken by different stakeholders in the past month, as well as developing future strategies for advancing the mission of the coalition.  If you are interested in joining these calls, please contact us via email at kindra@miairmihealth.org.

Make Your Voice Heard, Tell DTE More Clean Energy

Attend DTE's Integrated Resource Plan Open House

In Michigan, every utility company is required to create a long-term energy plan, called an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The IRP process determines what sources the utilities will generate their energy from in the future. Through this process, utility companies commit to the amount of renewable energy and energy efficiency they will use, which will have a direct impact on public health, the environment, and our electricity bills.


Michigan's two largest energy companies, Consumers Energy and DTE are working on their plans now, following guidelines created last year by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC). DTE is holding its final of three open houses to hear from other stakeholders, like yourself, about what they should include in their plan. This final open house will be an important forum to urge DTE to include large commitments to renewables and energy efficiency.

The MPSC approved DTE's proposal to build a new 1,100 megawatt natural gas plant. Given this large natural gas plant in DTE's portfolio, it is critical that the company has strong commitments to energy efficiency and renewable energy in their IRP so everyone can have access to Michigan's clean energy future and protect our environment and health. Now is the time to let DTE know their utility customers support clean, renewable and efficient energy sources. Attend the meeting and make sure your voice is heard.

DTE IRP Open House Details:


Things to make sure to state/write in comments:

  • Name
  • Organization
  • Where you live in MI
  • Thank them for the opportunity to comment at the beginning and end of your comments

Sample Talking points:

  • In 2016, the Michigan Legislature passed comprehensive energy legislation designed to move Michigan toward a clean energy future. But just a couple months DTE received approval by the MI Public Service Commission to build a new 1,100 megawatt (MW) natural gas plant. DTE needs to include strong commitments to energy efficiency and renewable energy in this IRP, in order to get back on track with providing MI residents the clean energy future they were promised.
  • DTE should expand energy efficiency in its integrated resource plan to rein in rising electricity costs and save customers money, especially low-income customers who face a higher energy burden.
  • Energy efficiency should be a priority. It should be the first option that is exhausted before moving on to others, period.
  • The age and condition of the affordable housing stock, both single and multifamily, presents an opportunity for energy efficiency improvements as well as to advancements in health and quality of life for residents.
  • DTE should be inclusive of low-income community members and groups in their IRP planning to ensure that the specific needs of those communities are accounted for during planning phases.
  • Residents of low-income housing face a disproportionately large energy burden, which effects their household budgets and health. Often making residents choose between utility bill payments and food, medicine, and other essentials. Therefore, DTE should maximize energy efficiency investment in affordable housing, both single and multifamily.
  • Higher prices from power plant investment will negatively impact all DTE customers. But customers living in low income housing will be hit the hardest, both via high energy bills and exposure to pollution.
  • Exposure to pollution from power plants is linked to asthma, lung and heart disease, birth defects, low birth weight and other health conditions, which is why DTE should maximize the amount of clean energy in their plan
  • Energy efficiency measures such as insulation, air sealing, and upgrades to HVAC also help to improve the indoor air quality and health conditions of a home/building.
  • Customers can save $4 for every $1 invested in energy efficiency programs.
  • Michigan already has the highest electricity costs in the Midwest, which is why DTE should reduce electricity costs by expanding investments in energy efficiency.
  • DTE’s IRP should include greater investments in clean, renewable energy, like wind and solar, to protect ratepayers against the price volatility of natural gas.
  • Clean, renewable energy, like wind and solar, is now cheaper than coal and cost-competitive with natural gas, according to a report by Lazard Investment Bank.
  • Expanding clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency will reduce dangerous pollution and protect the health of Michigan families, children and seniors and protect our air, land, and Great Lakes.
  • Clean energy creates new jobs, makes communities healthier, and slows the impacts of climate change. With Michigan retiring a record amount of coal-fired plants, DTE has a unique opportunity to lay the foundation for MI’s clean energy future.
  • Energy efficiency is the cheapest supply side resource and it allows for maximization of existing generation facilities. Energy efficiency is also the largest portion of Michigan’s clean energy economy.
  • Michigan is going through a significant energy transformation and this transformation should be driven predominantly by energy efficiency and renewable energy. Doing so will help save families money, improve the health of our communities, and bolster our local economies.
  • A 2016 study found that the median energy burden (defined as the 21 percentage of household income spent on energy bills) was 8% for Detroit’s low-income population compared with less than 4% for the metropolitan area as a whole and less than 3% statewide. A quarter of the City’s low-income households experienced an energy burden greater than or equal to 15.3%. Median incomes in Michigan have been declining since the study was published, meaning the problem has likely worsened.
  • Thank you to DTE for holding these open houses, but more needs to be done in order for these forums to be truly equitable and inclusive.
  • The MI Public Service Commission issued IRP guidelines in December 2017 which included a requirement that all MI utilities must include stakeholder processes when filing their plans. They stated that the stakeholder processes must be open to the public, and include advance notice. Most of the public did not know about these open houses. DTE needs to do more outreach to the communities in its territory so they know what an IRP is, and so members of those communities can be aware of the timeline of the IRP and when they have opportunities to comment.
  • Educational materials need to be provided in multiple languages, so they can be understood by all interested attendees – and accessible to al DTE customers.
  • At the last two open house there was no opportunity for the public to more broadly learn about the IRP process.
  • There should be opportunities to comment both online and in-person, so even if someone is unable to attend an open house or meeting – they still have the opportunity to provide input.

Other things to highlight:

  • Any personal experiences you can highlight related to energy efficiency or renewable energy
  • Examples of the energy burden and environmental injustices that low-income communities face

Nurses, health advocates denounce rollback

Nurses, health advocates denounce proposed rollback of clean car standards

DEARBORN, Mich. – Nurses and health advocates today spoke out against the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rollback of federal fuel efficiency standards at a federal public hearing in Dearborn. 

"We must maintain the clean car standards that reduce dangerous tailpipe pollution that threatens the health of Michiganders,” said Kathleen Slonager, RN, AE-C, CCH, executive director of the Asthma & Allergy Foundation, Michigan Chapter.  “As health professionals, we have a duty to challenge policies that are harmful to public health, and this rollback would have significant health implications for children and seniors living in low-income communities."  

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation are holding three public hearings across the country to gather public input on the EPA’s proposed rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards. President Trump formerly announced his proposal to roll back the standards in early August.

“Motor vehicles remain a major source of air pollution that can lead to illness and premature death, and the transportation sector is the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States,” said Kenneth Fletcher, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Michigan and Ohio. “Adopting and enforcing America’s existing, health-protective clean car standards is vital. Weakening these standards is out of step with our responsibility to protect public health.”

Michigan is home to some of the nation’s most-polluted zip codes, and the clean car standards finalized during the Obama Administration are designed to help safeguard public health by improving fuel efficiency and reducing tailpipe pollution.

“There is an overwhelming body of evidence linking transportation emissions to serious negative health outcomes, such as chronic heart and lung conditions, various cancers, neurological conditions, allergies, asthma, premature death and premature birth,” said Kindra Weid, RN and coalition coordinator for MI Air MI Health. “Sadly, the health impacts of exposure to tailpipe pollution are not evenly distributed throughout the population; they disproportionately affect people living in low-income communities and people of color.  Infants and senior citizens, as well as those with pre-existing heart or lung conditions are particularly vulnerable. Rolling back the climate and clean air protections provided by the Clean Car Standards will create more public health problems in Michigan and will cost lives.”


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018

Contact: Nick Dodge, Byrum & Fisk Advocacy Communications, (517) 333-1606

ACTION FOR THE CLEAN POWER PLAN

Health professionals and advocates blast Trump Administration’s Clean Power Plan rollback

LANSING – Michigan Health professionals, experts and advocates today blasted the Trump Administration’s proposal to roll back the Clean Power Plan, a 2015 executive action under the Obama Administration aimed at reducing pollution from coal-fired power plants and curbing the effects of global warming.  “Today’s announcement is a major step backward for the health of communities in Michigan and across the U.S.,” said Kindra Weid, RN, coalition coordinator for MI Air MI Health. “Giving states free reign to allow dirty, coal-fired power plants to continue spewing dangerous pollution into the air and water of communities across the country is unacceptable and an affront to public health.”  


The Clean Power Plan is a federal policy to reduce carbon dioxide pollution across the country by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Under the Trump Administration’s replacement rule, states would be allowed more leeway to set regulations for coal-fired power plants and are provided loopholes to opt out of emissions reductions.  “Rolling back the Clean Power Plan flies in the face of proactive investments in clean, renewable energy that are happening by companies and communities across Michigan, and the real victims of this decision are vulnerable populations that live near coal-fired power plants,” said Mara Herman, health outreach coordinator for the Ecology Center. “Coal-fired power plants are harmful to the health of Michigan families, children and seniors and more expensive than cleaner alternatives like wind and solar. Rolling back the Clean Power Plan is misguided and a step in the wrong direction.”  

“Burning coal causes adverse health impacts like increased rates of asthma, lung and heart disease and other life-threatening diseases,” said Kathleen Slonager, RN, AE-C, CCH  executive director of the Asthma & Allergy Foundation Michigan Chapter. “Michigan has already made great strides toward shuttering coal plants and investing in clean energy, and we will continue to hold big utility companies accountable for reducing dangerous pollution in our air and water.” 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018  Contact: Nick Dodge, Byrum & Fisk Advocacy Communications, (517) 333-1606 

Action for Clean Car Standards

Michigan families can count on worse air pollution thanks to Trump rollback of clean car standards

Health advocates slam Trump, Pruitt plan to dismantle historic clean car standards.


LANSING – MI Air MI Health today said the Trump Administration’s plans to roll back historic clean car standards represents a major blow to Michigan families – especially children and seniors who are particularly vulnerable to air pollution.

“Rolling back the clean car standards represents a clear attack on the health of families in Michigan and throughout the nation,” said Kindra Weid, RN and Coalition Coordinator of MI Air MI Health. “Exposure to tailpipe pollution is a public health risk factor, especially in low-income communities, and the clean car standards provide one way to help ensure cleaner air for families, children and seniors.”

Weid noted that Michigan is home to some of the nation’s most-polluted zip codes, and the clean car standards finalized during the Obama Administration are designed to help safeguard public health by improving fuel efficiency and reducing tailpipe pollution.

“The clean car standards were designed in partnership with U.S. automakers to improve efficiency, which cuts back on tailpipe pollution and benefits public health, so rolling back the standards is simply bad policy,” said Weid. “The Trump Administration has made a clear statement today: The health of Michigan’s most vulnerable populations simply isn’t  their priority.”


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Contact: Nick Dodge, Byrum & Fisk Communications, (517) 333-1606