What you need to know this week – 1/13/23

If you appreciate our in-depth reporting and you can help us pay for it, please become a recurring donor to Planet Detroit.

Water shutoffs are back: Detroit’s water shutoff moratorium has been lifted, meaning tens of thousands of households could face shutoff notices for non-payment. Officials have said that households will not face a shutoff if they enroll in its new water affordability plan, called Lifeline, which caps water bills to $18 a month and helps customers pay off their past-due water bills. The city also offers payment plans to help customers pay off their overdue bills. (Michigan Radio)

Try, try again: DTE Energy will try to increase rates again in 2023. The utility announced its intent to file a new rate case on Jan. 10. The filing, expected on or around Feb. 10, comes after the Michigan Public Service Commission approved just 10% of its requested increase in November. The utility is also petitioning the Commission for a rehearing of last year’s rate case. (Planet Detroit)

Gray winter, no ice: The string of cloudy days over the first two weeks of the year — extreme for this time of year, even for Michigan — could be due to climate change and its effects on Great Lakes’ ice cover. More evaporation from open water means more clouds, rain and snow. Detroit is consistently one of the cloudiest major cities in the U.S. To combat winter blues, invest in light therapy lamps, stock up on Vitamin D, and get into a morning exercise regimen. Great Lakes ice cover on Jan. 12 was 4%; the average for this time of year is 18% (Bridge Michigan, GLISA).

Gas stove culture wars: Freaking out yet about your gas stove? News about a study last week that attributes nearly 13% of current childhood asthma cases in the U.S. to gas stove use has the federal government considering a ban, placing the gas stove alongside guns, SUVs and masks, with a Republican Congressman challenging the Biden Administration to pry his gas range from his “cold dead hands.” Sane counsel from Parent Data writer Emily Oster explains the thinking behind the data and what you might consider doing about your gas range. (Bloomberg, Vice, Parent Data)

D-bikes? Detroit Bikes is hand-building thousands of electric bikes at their 50,000-square-foot factory in Detroit, bringing jobs and affordable transportation to a city in need of both. Demand for e-bikes is increasing, and the company expects to manufacture 5,000 bikes by 2023, with over half being electric. Transit advocates hope to establish an e-bike rebate through state or city government to make them more accessible. (BridgeDetroit)

Cumulative impacts: The US Environmental Protection Agency has released a Cumulative Impacts Addendum to its legal toolkit, which provides examples of how the agency can use its authority to address impacts from the pollution that disproportionately affect underserved communities. Also this week, the agency announced $100 million in funding for projects that benefit underserved and overburdened communities, the largest amount of environmental justice grant funding it has ever offered. (Press release)

Metroparks in Detroit: The Huron-Clinton Metroparks and Detroit Riverfront Conservancy announced a new water feature at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park would be named the Huron-Clinton Metroparks Water Garden. This is the first Metroparks location within the city and will feature winding walking paths, seating areas, educational signage, and open-air classrooms. The two organizations have been working together since 2015 to increase access to new programs and recreation in Detroit. Metroparks has come under criticism for operating a park system funded by a regional millage that is difficult for Detroiters to access and is inaccessible by public transit. (Press release)

Save $: DTE is launching a new effort to help people save on utility bills. The program, which starts in March, encourages customers to change their behavior by restricting energy-intensive activities like laundry or dishes to hours outside 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.  In exchange, participating customers get a lower rate during off-peak hours. (WDIV)

Flood equity: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is partnering with the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments to launch a research project on how urban flooding affects historically disadvantaged communities in southeast Michigan. The study aims to find ways to make transportation decisions more equitable and resilient to climate change. The results of the study are expected to be shared with federal aid agencies and influence regional transportation planning. (MLive)

SIGN UP for Planet Detroit's free weekly email newsletter

Our reporting 

runs deep.

Get our weekly free local enviro + health newsletter in your inbox with Planet Detroit.

Scroll to Top