“Michigan’s environment has dramatically improved since the 1970s, when foundational environmental statutes were enacted by the state and federal governments. … There could have been even greater improvement at far less cost — both economic and social — had policymakers foregone centralized regulatory control in favor of the transformative powers of market incentives and private property rights. But it is not too late for change.”

Building on these opening words in the Environment Policy Initiative Blueprint, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy will encourage free-market-focused changes as we create an outline for developing, managing and protecting Michigan’s environment and energy resources.

The Environment Policy Initiative will focus on key energy and environmental issues that hold the public’s interest. We will answer important questions about environmental and energy policy in Michigan. For example,

  • What are the unique geographical, environmental and economic features Michigan possesses?
  • What natural advantages do those features give to Michigan over other states?
  • How can we make the most of those advantages to promote a balance of environmental health and economic vigor?
  • How can we improve or make Michigan’s environment and energy regulations more efficient?
    • Are there areas of overlap in agencies’ jurisdictions?
    • Do regulations not meet their stated goals?
    • Are regulations overly burdensome, or do they act as a disincentive to business?
    • Are there areas of regulation that are insufficient and need improvements?

    Some areas where Michigan has a clear natural advantage include:

  • Water resources — across the entire Great Lakes Basin
  • Wildlife and fisheries resources
  • Forest resources
  • Energy production, development and storage
  • Opportunities to expand competition in electricity markets
  • Recreational opportunities
  • The Environmental Policy Initiative will provide research and resources that show how free markets and the protection of property rights can promote development and job creation while maintaining a clean and healthy natural environment.

    However, research on its own is not enough to encourage the development of free-market-based policies. The other essential part of this initiative will be to tell the stories of the people who live, work and recreate in Michigan. It will show how policies promoting liberty, property rights and free enterprise can improve their lives, create new jobs and improve environmental health.

    Michigan’s citizens expect the freedom to work and recreate in a safe and clean environment. It will be the work of the Environmental Policy Initiative at the Mackinac Center to help lay out a pathway for the state to achieve those expectations.