The April News to Us compiles a suite of articles for you to dive into! This month’s edition includes five stories that span global, national, state and local interests. There are updates on the Clean Water Act, the latest IPCC report, statewide environmental justice screening and Huron River trout stocking.

Supreme Court revives Trump-era environmental regulation
In early April, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to temporarily revive a Trump-era rule. Section 401 of the Clean Water Act curtails the power of states and tribes to block energy projects with potential to pollute waterways. The SCOTUS ruling in Louisiana v. American Rivers halts a previous U.S. Court of Appeals judge’s order but does not interfere with efforts by the Biden administration to rewrite the rule, which is expected sometime this spring. The ruling arrives as the nation celebrates the Clean Water Act’s 50th anniversary.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Staff stock the Huron River with trout in late March. Photo credit: MDNR

New IPCC report looks at neglected element of climate action: people
The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was released in early April. It finds that continued rising global carbon dioxide emissions put the globe at risk for runaway climate change, in turn calling for a transformation in the world’s use of energy, buildings, and vehicles. For the first time, the IPCC included elements on the social dimensions of climate mitigation, emphasizing the coupling of social equity and climate action. Learn more from “It’s Painfully Clear What We Need to Do About Climate Change” by HRWC watershed planner Daniel Brown.

Large trout stocked in southeast Michigan’s Clinton and Huron rivers and Spring Mill Pond
Following the start of spring, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) stocked the Huron River with 1,900 brown trout and 1,400 rainbow trout at the Proud Lake State Recreation Area. The newly stocked adult trout, ranging in size from 13 to 19 inches, were accompanied by 200 smaller yearling rainbow trout. MDNR also stocked Island Lake State Recreation Area’s Spring Mill Pond with 380 brown trout and 540 adult rainbow trout and 300 yearlings. As a reminder, the Huron River is still on a Do Not Eat fish consumption advisory due to elevated PFAS levels in fish.

Michigan unveils pollution screening tool to combat environmental racism
The new Michigan Environmental Justice Mapping and Screening Tool, called MiEJScreen, allows residents to interactively view a series of environmental health indicators to better understand their exposure to environmental hazards. Developed by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), the tool helps identify communities experiencing higher environmental injustices, or disproportionate exposure to pollutants. EGLE is now accepting public comment on the tool until mid-May.

Billions flow to water systems from federal pandemic relief funds
Funding provided by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has provided communities across the United States with the necessary cash to revitalize aging drinking water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure. Since becoming law over a year ago, funding from ARPA has been used for over $10.1 billion in water system upgrades. States and municipalities across the country have used the funding for a myriad of water projects, including water bill forgiveness, well water testing, dam improvements, and water main replacements. Water, sewer, and stormwater systems across the U.S. will also continue receiving long-overdue upgrades thanks to the $55 billion in funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.