Lansing, MI, August 8, 2017— A new report released today by M.J. Bradley & Associates, and commissioned by Charge Up Midwest, found expanding electric vehicles could save Michigan families, drivers and electricity customers billions of dollars over the next three decades. The report also found there is significant potential for growth for electric vehicles in Michigan.
“Our study estimated the costs and benefits of increases in plug-in electric vehicles in the state of Michigan and found significant potential for electric vehicle growth and subsequent savings for residents,” said Brian Jones, senior vice president of M.J. Bradley & Associates. “Our highest projections are very attainable if the utilities, regulators and the private sector aggressively pursue electric vehicle adoption in Michigan.”
The report includes both “moderate” and “high” adoption scenarios based on Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) and Bloomberg forecasts, respectively. According to the Bloomberg forecast, by 2050, up to 55.7 percent of all passenger vehicles and trucks in Michigan could be powered by electric vehicle technology. Key findings for cumulative financial benefits from mainstream Electric vehicle adoption in Michigan include:
“The benefits of electric vehicles for Michigan are significant – especially when it comes to the potential for new auto sector jobs and protecting our air, land and Great Lakes,” said Charles Griffith, Climate and Energy Program Director for the Ecology Center. “In order to maintain Michigan’s leadership in the auto industry, as well as realize the economic and environmental benefits of reducing our use of imported petroleum, government, the private sector and utilities must work together to create smart policies and investment strategies to support the emerging electric vehicle sector.”
Tomorrow, the Michigan Public Service Commission is hosting the Michigan Technical Conference on Alternative Fuel Vehicles. At the conference, automakers, electric utilities, charging station companies and other stakeholders will discuss the future of electric vehicles in Michigan.
“Michigan, the birthplace of the auto industry, could lead the electric vehicle revolution,” said Luke Tonachel, Director of Natural Resource Defense Council's Clean Vehicles and Fuels Project. “With the right infrastructure, electric vehicles can be an economic and environmental force that cuts pollution, lowers electricity rates, while being cheaper to operate than conventional gasoline vehicles.”
The report examined other benefits, including reduced oil use and lower greenhouse gas emissions in Michigan, including:
“Accelerating the use of electric vehicles in Michigan will reduce dangerous pollution and protect our air, land and Great Lakes, said Joe Halso, Associate Attorney with the Sierra Club. “Now is the time to put Michigan on the road to cleaner air, a better grid, and a stronger economy by improving drivers' access to our cleanest and cheapest transportation fuel: electricity.”
Published on March 9, 2017
Earlier this month Dr. Nancy Beck, a former advocate for the American Chemistry Council (ACC), was appointed as the new Deputy Administrator of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP). This move creates a major conflict of interest between Dr. Beck’s long history of advocating against chemical regulations. This conflict of interest signals that the EPA, under Administrator Pruitt, is increasingly putting the interest of regulated industries ahead of protecting people and the environment.
Dr. Beck has spent the last 5 years opposing EPA’s safety regulations and scientific findings. While serving as the Senior Director of Regulatory Science Policy at the ACC, Beck consistently fought against rules that govern the use of harmful chemicals. These efforts were all geared towards protecting the financial interests of chemical giants. The ACC itself represents approximately 150 chemical companies that include DOW, DuPont, ExxonMobil, and Monsanto.
Within the EPA, the OCSPP is specifically responsible for assessing risks from chemicals and overseeing programs that prevent pollution and contamination. They work tirelessly to identify harmful chemicals and their potential risks to humans and the environment. Their conclusions drive the EPA’s policies regarding chemicals and their uses.
In the summer of 2016, the EPA passed the Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. This act delivers overdue amendments to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – the nation’s central chemical management law. The Lautenberg Act was passed with the intention to reevaluate chemicals, create new risk standards, and increase transparency to the public. At the time of its passage we knew that the new law’s impact would depend on how it is administered by the EPA. We were worried about how it might be implemented then, we’re downright terrified about it now!
Dr. Beck’s new role will put her at the center of how chemical safety is assessed in our country. Given her previous role working against Lautenberg and trying to deregulate chemical companies, she serves as a direct conflict of interest in this matter. In addition to this, she also has a history of publicly criticizing the EPA’s program for determining chemical toxicity, especially when findings call for stricter regulations.
This conflict generates a great threat to the health and safety of both people and the environment. The connection between Dr. Beck and the industries she’s supposed to be regulating are too close to assume a fair implementation process. Efforts to remove Dr. Beck from the task of implementing the Lautenberg Act and similar regulatory policies need to be taken to ensure that the safest chemical policies are reached.
The Ecology Center joined organizations from across the country in calling on Administrator Pruitt to review the ethical issues and potential conflicts of interest surrounding Dr. Beck and her new role. You can join this effort by signing the petition to EPA Administrator Pruitt to evaluate the potential conflict of interest that Dr. Beck holds in relation to her new position. Acting now could help stop chemical policy rollbacks that will impact our health for generations to come.
Published on May 30, 2017
MAY 10, 2017—Ecology Center, in collaboration with four national partner organizations, today issued a challenge to leading car seat manufacturers to develop and produce car seats without the use of toxic chemicals that can have harmful effects on children’s health.
The Car Seat Detox Challenge is a response to laboratory testing conducted by Ecology Center over the past ten years. Recent testing found that 87% of car seats tested by the Ecology Center’s Healthy Stuff program contained brominated flame retardants, which are potentially toxic and persistent in the environment. Halogenated compounds (including brominated flame retardants), triaryl phosphates and other added toxic flame retardant chemicals have been shown to migrate out of products to contaminate air and dust, potentially exposing children to harmful chemicals. Important note: Car seats provide vital crash protection. Children should always ride in a properly installed seat, regardless of the chemical hazard.
Ecology Center issued the challenge in partnership with four national groups: Getting Ready for Baby; Healthy Babies Bright Futures; Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families’ Mind the Store Campaign and Safer States. The groups challenge manufacturers to develop a safer chemicals policy within a year, create an action plan and eliminate and safely substitute hazardous chemicals in their products.
“It’s possible to make car seats that meet the federal standard without added flame retardants,” explains senior scientist Gillian Z. Miller, Ph.D. from the Ecology Center. “Leading car seat manufacturers should be using their technology and resources to make non-toxic car seats, and we know some of them are making good progress. Safe and affordable car seats should not have to come with the potential costs of chemical exposure.”
In April 2017, UPPAbaby unveiled its new MESA Henry car seat model, the first and only car seat to pass federal safety standards without the use of fire retardant chemicals. It did this by making material changes (such as using wool to make the fabric naturally fire resistant) to deliver a car seat without any added toxic flame retardants. UPPAbaby offers the new model in infant size only and at a price higher than the industry average.
“UPPAbaby has made a commendable step, showing it is possible to design car seats that pass legally mandated flammability tests without harmful additives,” says Melissa Cooper Sargent, Green Living Resources Director at the Ecology Center. “We’d like to see Baby Trend, Cosco, Evenflo, Graco, and Safety 1st take up the challenge to protect millions of children each year from exposures to hazardous chemicals.”
Exposures to toxic flame retardants have been associated with an array of negative health effects including reduced IQ, developmental delays, autism, hormone disruption, reproductive harm, obesity, and cancer. Children are more vulnerable than adults to the harmful effects of toxic chemicals because their bodies and immune systems are still developing. Pound for pound, children breathe more air than adults and are prone to putting their hands and other objects in their mouths, further increasing the chance of exposure.
The Car Seat Detox Challenge encourages parents, caregivers and concerned citizens to join the effort in calling upon manufacturers to develop safer car seats for children by signing the petition and joining the Car Seat Detox Challenge Facebook group.
Ecology Center’s latest car seat study led to the development of the Car Seat Detox Challenge. Testing child car seats periodically for ten years, the Ecology Center has been tracking changes in chemical additives. Car seats are a required product in which babies and children often spend a few hours per day. The flame-retardant (FR) chemicals historically used in car seats to meet federal flammability standards include known carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and developmental toxicants. Exposure occurs through contamination of air and dust. Safer alternatives are available, and while testing has shown trends away from the worst chemicals, companies can still do much better. In the 2016 study, the Ecology Center analyzed flame retardants and other chemicals in 15 infant and toddler car seats purchased in 2016, including two from the United Kingdom. The brands tested for this study included BabyTrend, Britax, Chicco, Clek, Cosco, Diono, Evenflo, Graco, Joie (from the UK), Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, Orbit, Recaro, and Safety 1st. Three different analytical techniques were used: X-ray fluorescence, infrared spectroscopy, and gas chromatography with mass spectrometry. Please visit the Ecology Center’s 2016 Car Seat Study for more information.
Published on May 9, 2017
On April 22, over 100,000 people at the March for Science – in Washington DC and in local events around the country – sent a message to President Trump and Congress that facts matter. On April 29, an even larger crowd is expected at the People’s Climate March, and at sister marches nationwide, to deliver the message that the U.S. can’t backtrack from solving the existential problem that climate science has informed us of.
At the same time, no one expects the federal government to move us forward in the fight against climate change, at least not during the next four years. Instead, we’re looking for leadership in other places – and one of the most promising places is in local government.
You may not think of climate change as a local issue, but don’t tell that to city officials in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, or to New Yorkers after Hurricane Sandy.
Right here in Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan Climate Center reports that annual precipitation rates have increased 44.8% from 30 years ago, and the incidence of 100-year storms have increased by 41.2% in that same time period. Extreme storms will bring damaging winds and floodwaters adversely affecting our communities. The threat of climate change will not be equitably shared, and vulnerable communities will suffer the brunt of it.
What’s more, local governments can and will lead the charge for climate action. Our community can take action now to help curb the worst impacts of climate change. Climate solutions are implemented by city, counties, and states. So while the federal government will be working to dismantle climate action initiatives, cities, states, and counties have the opportunity to continue progress no matter what happens in Washington DC.
Right now, the Ann Arbor City Council is finalizing a two-year operating budget, and they’ve got their greatest opportunity yet to take a stand for climate action.
The Ann Arbor Climate Partnership, a collaboration of Ann Arbor Area citizen activists, organizations, and businesses working together to #ActOnClimate, the City’s Energy Commission and the City’s Environmental Commission, have offered a visionary Climate Proposal to be funded through this upcoming budget, laying out critical steps to prepare our community for the impacts of climate change and reduce our carbon footprint.
The proposal includes five new initiatives:
If you care about what becomes of our community in the next 10 years or the next 100 years, taking action over the next month is crucial. Before the budget is decided upon, speak out.
Attend next Monday, May 1st, City Council meeting and voice your support for climate action funding.
Sign our petition.
Sign up to receive updates from the Ann Arbor Climate Partnership.
March with us on April 29th in Washington, or in Detroit, Lansing, or at other sister marches.
Published on April 27, 2017