LANSING — House Bill 4716 was introduced in the state House today by Rep. Brian Elder (D-Bay City) that would implement a pilot program to pair organic additives, including sugar beet juice, with salt to control icy roads during the winter. The large volume of salt currently used greatly contributes to the corrosion and deterioration of Michigan’s roads, along with resident’s vehicles. Additionally, the melting of snow and ice washes the salt into rivers and lakes, contributing to the destruction of Michigan’s freshwater ecosystems.

“To secure safe, quality roads for Michigan families to drive on and to protect our natural resources, we need to get creative and implement sustainable solutions,” said Elder. “Adding natural components to reduce salt usage on our roads will not only make our safety efforts more effective during the tough winters, it will ensure that, come Spring, the ‘Pure’ remains in Pure Michigan. I look forward to continuing this dialogue in the Legislature to protect our residents and environment.”

Each year, more than 20 million tons of salt is used to mitigate icy road conditions across the United States. Utilizing sugar beet juice and other organic additives to improve the ability of the salt to stick to the pavement is expected to decrease the amount reaching water sources, as well as limit how much salt is required to be effective at managing icy conditions.