Algae bloom on Ford Lake in the Huron River.

This week or next, the Michigan legislature is expected to take up HB 4326 which would limit the authority of the Governor and executive branch to declare any standard stricter than the applicable federal standard. As noted in an earlier blog, this would be bad news for the Great Lakes.  On a number of occasions Michigan Governors have stepped up to protect the Great Lakes when the legislature refused to take action.

A couple of examples of action by our Governors to protect the Great Lakes and our water resources include:

  • In the 1970s, Lake Erie was dying due in large part to phosphorus in detergents.  The legislature refused to act.  When cities tried to act independently, the legislature pre-empted their authority to restrict phosphorus.  So in 1976, Governor Milliken acted independently and promulgated a rule restricting phosphorus in detergent.  The lake rebounded and the algae beds subsided.  The legislature adopted that same restriction in detergents 32 years later in 2008.
  • More recently, Michigan has struggled with mercury in our inland lakes that has led to Michigan residents being warned not to consume too much fish due to the potential impacts of elevated mercury in their systems. Currently, one in six women of childbearing age has elevated mercury in their blood that could impact the health of their children.  After a decade of inaction by the legislature, Governor Granholm acted independently to require coal-fired power plants (the largest sources of mercury in Michigan) to reduce mercury emissions by 90% by 2015.

Please  contact your legislature to vote no on HB 4326.

Contact information for your member of the House of Representatives can be found at:

If you have any questions, please email me at or James Clift at the Michigan Environmental Council,