With the U.S. Census taking place soon, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is helping ensure all Michiganders understand how important it is to "be counted" in the once-a-decade population tally. Each state department is part of a team working on making the census in Michigan a success.
"It is important to be counted because census numbers impact everyone in our state - families, individuals, children," notes Michael McClellan, director of EGLE's Environmental Support Division (ESD). "Our census count determines funding for public safety, including police and fire, health care, education, infrastructure, and other essential services.
"EGLE was appropriated $175 million in federal revenue in FY 2020, $25 million of which is directly related to the census count, while the rest indirectly corresponds to population numbers. The census count also shapes our congressional representation, impacts legislative districts and much, much more."
Census results also affect programs within EGLE, notes Christe Alwin of EGLE's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) program, which works to reduce the discharge of pollutants in storm water to Michigan's surface waters. (An MS4 is a system of drainage that is not a combined sewer or part of a sewage treatment plants.)
"The MS4 program is required to use the census to determine the regulated area," Alwin said. "The census will identify areas of the state that have experienced population growth over the past 10 years and therefore have the potential to discharge an increased amount of urban pollution in storm water runoff. In the absence of representative census data, areas with population growth may not be subject to the MS4 program and surface waters may be impacted from untreated/uncontrolled storm water runoff in the built environment."
EGLE's Air Quality Division staff also notes the importance of the census. For example:
To help publicize the importance of responding to the census, EGLE's External Affairs team has been distributing census information at outreach events, and Katrina Robinson produced the State's "Be Counted" video.
Between March 12 - 20, invitations to respond online to the 2020 census will arrive. Be sure to be counted. It is convenient, confidential, and critical to Michigan and EGLE.