Happy new year! With 2023 already underway, our January News to Us looks ahead at environmental protection on the state and federal levels. Read articles from E&E News, BBC, Reuters, and Bridge on potential changes to environmental regulation, legislation and litigation this year.

Can EPA’s Clean Water Act rule survive the courts?
Following the release of new proposed definition of “Waters of the United States” from the EPA in December and given the looming Supreme Court ruling on Sackett vs. EPA it’s hard to know where things stand with Clean Water Act protections for rivers and streams. This article from E&E News speculates the future of the proposed rules as well as its anticipated interaction with the upcoming Sackett vs. EPA ruling. 🔉 Click here to listen to an audio take on this story from Politico. 🔉

The Huron River at Delhi Metropark
The Huron River at Delhi Metropark. A paddle launch at Delhi has been recommended for funding from a state recreation fund. Photo: Kari Paine

3M manufacturing giant to stop making ‘forever chemicals’
Minnesota-based 3M Co. recently announced that it will cease manufacturing and using PFAS by the end of 2025 due to growing regulations of the class of chemicals and shifting stakeholder expectations. 3M is still under fire for its historic use of PFAS and decades of environmental pollution. HRWC hopes that 3M’s move will inspire other manufacturers to discontinue PFAS production and use.

Environmental cases to watch in 2023
Watch for developments on a handful of important environmental, water, and climate lawsuits in 2023. This year will bring a ruling on Sacket vs. EPA. The case seeks to clarify what waters are regulated under the Clean Water Act. Also, Held vs. State of Montana, is a unique suit brought by youth plaintiffs who argue their right to a “clean and healthful environment” is violated by fossil fuel friendly policies. Litigation against PFAS and fossil fuel companies will also see some movement this year.

Michigan Democrats aiming to erase business friendly environmental laws
Shifting roles in Lansing will likely bring new developments for environment and water protections in Michigan. Following decades of environmental regulatory rollbacks, new leaders in the Michigan House and Senate seek to advance a suite of new protections for land, air, and water. More specifically, new environmental legislative priorities look to address water shutoff, polluter pay, and climate change. Following PFAS contamination in the Huron River and a spill of Hexavalent Chromium into Wixom’s wastewater treatment process by Tribar Manufacturing, HRWC will be working with elected officials to champion statewide polluter pay legislation this year.

Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board recommends $23.3 million to boost outdoor recreation
In December, the Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund Board announced its 2023 funding recommendations for recreation development and land acquisition projects totaling over $23.3 million. The recommended projects for funding include a few within the Huron River watershed, including a renovated canoe and kayak launch at Delhi Metropark and Huron River Water Trail access at Manly Bennett Park in Hamburg Township. Additional projects will advance land preservation along sections of the neighboring Saline and Rouge rivers. Click here to view the full list of recommended projects.