Twenty-one Michigan residents have been selected to join the state’s first Michigan Advisory Council for Environmental Justice, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lake and Energy (EGLE) announced on Thursday.
The council will provide community input for the Interagency Environmental Justice Response Team, according to a statement from EGLE.
“Meeting people where they are is vital to our commitment to making Michigan a leader in environmental justice,” said EGLE Director Liesl Clark in a statement. “Creating the Michigan Advisory Council on Environmental Justice is an important step in building the framework to ensure all Michiganders benefit equitably from our environmental laws and regulations. Through both the Office of Environmental Justice Public Advocate and the Interagency Environmental Justice Response Team, we are working to address inequities that impact communities across this state. The creation of this advisory council will play an important role in helping us achieve that goal.”
The council includes 21 Michigan residents from a variety of environmental fields, including a professor from the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability, the founder and CEO of an energy and waste reduction company, and the director of environmental strategy at DTE Energy.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer will direct the council.
“Since taking office, I’ve been deliberate and focused on protecting our Great Lakes, cleaning up our drinking water, and combating the real-life impacts of climate change,” Whitmer said in a statement. “To address ongoing environmental justice issues, it was absolutely critical that those impacted daily have a seat at the table. We must ensure that the implementation and enforcement of environmental protections, regulations, and policies in Michigan will be fair and meaningful to all Michiganders, regardless of geography, race, color, origin, or income. Actions like these will help to further rebuild trust in our state government.”
Read the full list of council members and their biographies below, per EGLE:
Paul Mohai, Ph.D., of Ann Arbor, is a professor and the environmental justice field coordinator at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability. Dr. Mohai earned his Ph.D. in Environmental Sociology and Environmental/Natural Resource Policy from Pennsylvania State University.
Tony Reames, Ph.D., of Farmington Hills, is the head of the Urban Energy Justice Lab at the University of Michigan and an assistant professor at the University’s School for Environment and Sustainability. Dr. Reames is a board member of the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor and serves on the Detroit Green Task Force Climate Action Housing and Neighborhoods Subcommittee. He earned his Ph.D. in Public Administration from the University of Kansas.
Carla Walker-Miller, of Detroit, is the founder and CEO of Walker-Miller Energy Services, an energy and waste reduction company. Ms. Walker-Miller currently serves on TechTown Board, the Detroit Mayor’s Workforce Development Board, and the American Association of Blacks in Energy. She received her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Tennessee State University.
Fadi Mourad, of Farmington Hills, is the director of environmental strategy at DTE Energy. Mr. Mourad is a member of the Michigan Environmental Rules Review Committee and co-chair of the Detroit Regional Chamber Energy and Environment Committee. He holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Wayne State University.
Monica Lewis-Patrick, of Detroit, is the president and CEO of We the People of Detroit non-profit organization and a former adjunct professor in the Social Justice Department at Marygrove College. Mrs. Lewis-Patrick holds a master’s degree in sociology and criminal justice from East Tennessee State University.
Bryan Lewis, of Detroit, is a business outreach consultant with the National Resource Defense Council and the former director of the EcoWorks Youth Energy Squad in Detroit. Mr. Lewis holds a master’s degree in energy science, technology, and policy from Carnegie Melon University.
Lynn Williams, of Flint, is the community engagement officer for the Community Foundation of Greater Flint and a board member on the Richard Allen Battle Foundation. Mr. Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and social work from the University of Michigan-Flint.
Salah Ali, of Dearborn, is an active member of the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition Clean Air Council, the American Human Rights Council of Michigan, and the Engineering Society of Detroit. Mr. Ali is a global core engineer for Ford Motor Company and he holds a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Michigan.
Theresa Landrum, of Detroit, is a community activist with the 48217 Community Monitoring Group and a retired master mechanic for General Motors Co. Ms. Landrum is a member of the Michigan Environmental Justice Council, the Marathon Oil Corporation Community Advisory panel, and a volunteer for Sierra Club. She is also a board member with the Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision non=profit organization.
Justin Onwenu, of Detroit, is a health communities and environmental justice program organizer for the Sierra Club in Detroit and a former community outreach coordinator for the Children’s Environmental Health Initiative. Mr. Onwenu holds a bachelor’s degree in international health and policy from Rice University.
Nick Leonard, of Detroit, is the executive director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center (GLELC). Mr. Leonard is a board member for the Soulardarity and the Storehouse of Hope non-profit organizations that promote housing and energy justice. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School.
Sylvia Orduño, of Detroit, has been a community organizer for 22 years with the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and serves as co-chair of the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. Ms. Orduño is currently a program manager for the Greater Detroit Agency for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She holds a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Michigan.
Frank Houston, of Royal Oak, is the regional program manager and spokesperson for the BlueGreen Alliance and a former senior associate for Aquantum Solar. Mr. Houston is a member of the United Steelworkers. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Eastern Michigan University.
Donavan McKinney, of Detroit, is the state director and political coordinator for Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Michigan. Mr. McKinney is the director of Young Minds In Transition (YMIT) School Tour and is a member of the Bridging Communities Inc. Board of Directors. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from the University of Michigan.
Joel Howrani Heeres, of Detroit, is the director sustainability for the City of Detroit and a former principal supervisor for DTE Energy. Mr. Howrani Heeres holds Master of Urban Planning in Economic Development and Land Use Planning and a Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of Michigan.
Alison Sutter, of Grand Rapids, is the sustainability and performance management officer for the City of Grand Rapids and a former environmental law attorney. Ms. Sutter earned her Juris Doctor degree from Indiana University.
Nichole Britten, of Saint Joseph, is the health officer for the Berrien County Health Department and previously served as an epidemiologist for the county. Mrs. Britten is a member of the Be Healthy Berrien Steering Committee and Michigan’s Great Southwest Strategic Leadership Council Health Subcommittee. She earned her Master of Public Health from Yale University.
Bryan Newland, of Brimley, is an active member of the Bay Mills Indian Community and the president and chairman of the Executive Council. Mr. Newland is an attorney with Fletcher Law and he earned his Juris Doctor degree from the Michigan State University College of Law.
John Petoskey, of Northport, is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Mr. Petoskey is currently pursuing his Juris Doctor degree and Master of Science in Environmental Justice and Policy at the University of Michigan.
Keith Cooley, of Detroit, is the president and CEO of Principia, LLC, a consultancy focusing on economic competitiveness, talent creation, and a green economy. Mr. Cooley previously served as the president and CEO of NextEnergy and as the director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth. He holds a Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Michigan.
Mona Monroe-Yunis, of Flint, is the executive director of Environmental Transformation Movement of Flint and a neighborhood planner for the Flint Planning and Development Department. Ms. Monroe-Yunis holds a Master of Science in Environmental Justice and Policy from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Planning from the University of Michigan-Flint.
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]