Michigan Environmental Relative Risk Reports 1992-1999Agency: Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy
In 1986, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency initiated a program to examine environmental risks to U.S. citizens. Specifically, the agency identified critical risks and compared them with each other to develop a hierarchy for remediation and pollution prevention. This hierarchy, based on scientific knowledge, could then be used to design strategies that would yield the most positive results given the funds available. In late 1991, Michigan became one of the first states to develop a similar relative risk program.
The Environmental Relative Risk Program was initiated in September 1991 with the creation of three multi-disciplined committees composed of scientists, citizens, and representatives of governmental agencies, respectively. The purpose of each committee was to identify and evaluate known and suspected environmental problems, decide which problems were of particular concern, and assign a relative rank to each by comparing the risks it posed to the environment and quality of life. The resulting report, entitled, Michigan's Environment and Relative Risk, was presented to the Governor in July 1992.
Twenty-four risk issues were identified and ranked in terms of concern as either "High-High", "High", "Medium-High", or "Medium". The identified issues and their assigned relative risk rankings are presented in Table 1.
|Absence of Land Use Planning||Point Source Dischargers||Contaminated Sites||Accidental Releases and Responses|
|Urban Environment Degradation||Air Toxics Deposition||Contaminated Sediments||Acid Deposition|
|Energy Production and Consumption||Biodiversity/Habitat Changes||Hazardous Waste||Criteria Air Pollutants|
|Global Climate Change||Indoor Air Pollutants||Photochemical Smog||Electromagnetic Field|
|Lack of Environmental Awareness||Non-point Source Dischargers||Solid Waste||-|
|Ozone Depletion||Trace Metals in Ecosystem||High Level Radioactive Waste||-|
|Alteration of Surface/Groundwater Hydrology||Low Level Radioactive Waste||-||-|
Based on a review of relative risk report and additional background papers prepared by the scientists' committee, the 24 risk issues were re-grouped into the categories listed in Table 2.
Table 2. Environmental Relative Risk Task Force Issues
|Environmental Education||Integrated Land Use Planning||Trace Metals in Ecosystem|
|Urban Recreation||Non-point Source Dischargers||Biodiversity/Ecosystem Management|
|Contaminated Sites||Air Issues||Alteration of Surface/Groundwater Hydrology|
|Low-Level Radioactive Wastes||Accidental Release and Response||Indoor Air|
|Surface Water Sediments||Point Source Dischargers||Urbanization and Fragmentation of Agricultural/Forest Land|
|Electromagnetic Fields||High Level Radioactive Wastes||-|
|Hazardous, Municipal, Industrial and Solid Wastes||Energy Production, Climate Change and Stratospheric Ozone Depletion||-|
Copies of all reports generated under the Environmental Relative Risk Program are free of charge from the Department of Environmental Quality. Most of the later reports are available in portable document format (PDF) and can be printed directly off the Internet. However, in order to do this, you will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer.
Printed copies of both the electronically and non-electronically generated reports are available by sending an email request to:
Executive Assistant to Deputy Director Jim Sygo
Available Relative Risk Reports:
- (1999) Michigan's Relative Risk Task Force Report on Air Quality Issues
- (1998) Michigan's Relative Risk Task Force Report on Hydrology
- (1998) Trace Metals in Michigan's Ecosystems
- (1996) Evaluation of Michigan's Low-level Radioactive Waste Isolation Facility Siting Criteria
- (1996) Toward Integrated Land Use Planning
- (1994) The Michigan Relative Risk Task Force Report on Environmental Education
- (1994) Michigan Farmland and Agriculture Development Task Force: Policy Recommendations and Options for the Future Growth of Michigan Agriculture
- (1992) Michigan Relative Risk Analysis Project White Papers
- (1992) Michigan's Environment and Relative Risk