November 6, 2017

SIERRA CLUB IS HIRING!

The Sierra Club will expand its capacity to tackle environmental threats in Michigan by adding two new positions to its staff in 2018. If you like a challenge, want to work for positive change, and build a better world for future generations, then you could be a good fit for Sierra Club Michigan. 

We are currently looking for qualified candidates for a part-time Green Stormwater Infrastructure Organizer position in Detroit who will educate citizens and help install rain gardens and rain barrels in urban communities. We also seek applicants for a part-time Great Lakes Regional Organizer in our Lansing office who will work on our fight to shut down Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline as well as other challenges to the Great Lakes.  

The job description and application information for the Great Lakes Regional Organizer is found here.  For details on the Green Stormwater Infrastructure Organizer, click here.

September 29, 2017

News Release: Sierra Club condemns decision by Entergy to reject Palisades Nuclear Power Plant buyout

For Immediate Release
Contact: Bruce Brown, Sierra Club Southwest Michigan Group, admin@swmgsierrs.org


Sierra Club condemns decision by Entergy to reject Palisades Nuclear Power Plant buyout
Entergy plans to keep failing nuclear power plant open additional four years with no sign severe deficiencies in plant will be addressed


Sierra Club has called on Entergy, Consumers Energy and the Michigan Public Service Commission to keep the promise that the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant will be closed in 2018. This week, Entergy rejected a plan by Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to approve a proposed buyout of the power purchase agreement between Consumers Energy and Entergy at 79% of the amount proposed by the utility company. This announcement directly contradicts Entergy’s announcement in 2016 that they would close the troubled power plant in 2018. 

The following statement by Bruce Brown, Sierra Club leader in Southwest Michigan, was issued today:

The high cost of nuclear-powered electricity makes Entergy’s decision confounding. Entergy’s news release reiterated that it ‘remains committed to its strategy of exiting the merchant nuclear power business.’ Nuclear power can no longer compete in the wholesale electricity market. In recent years, the Louisiana-based company has closed, or announced plans to close, and sold off several of its nuclear plants. The cost of maintaining Palisades’ 46-year old buildings and equipment while meeting Nuclear Regulatory Commission safety standards can go nowhere but up.

“Meanwhile, the cost of wind- and solar-powered electricity is going nowhere but down—and fast. Moreover, Consumers and MPSC agreed that, with more and more lower-priced electricity coming online from renewable sources, Consumers doesn’t even need the overpriced electricity that the PPA will force it to keep buying from Palisades.
“Of the hundred or so public comments that MPSC received in its three public forums and through submissions to its online docket, almost all comments spoke of the plant’s threat to its neighbors, apprehension about the environmental effects of radioactive releases, and deep concern over high-level nuclear waste stockpiles that continue to build up at the site. The MPSC case could not address plant safety and proper handling of nuclear waste. Michiganders must not construe MPSC’s ruling as saying that the Commission believes Palisades to be safe and that its neighbors and the environment are in no danger.
"The Sierra Club remains unequivocally opposed to nuclear energy. All nuclear plants are dangerous. We are disappointed that the Palisades threat will continue beyond next October, and that electric ratepayers must continue to overpay.”

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September 24, 2017

Sierra Club Michigan Chapter is Hiring a Political Organizer for 2018!

We are hiring!


Job Title: Political Organizer
Chapter: Sierra Club Michigan Chapter
Location: Sierra Club Michigan Chapter office in Lansing (some flexibility on location) with occasional travel required
Reports To: Chapter Legislative/Political Director and State Director
Timeline: January 2, 2018 – December 21, 2018
Hours: 28.5 hours a week (.76 FTE)

Context: Works with the Legislative and Political Director, Political Chair, Chapter Chair and Lead Lobbyist to help organize and implement the Political and Legislative program for Sierra Club Michigan Chapter for the 2018 election year.

Scope: The Political Organizer assists Sierra Club Michigan Chapter members in protecting the environment, with a focus on legislative and political campaigns. Helps run our political internship program, provides communications and writing support, trains activists, performs digital organizing, manages mailings, helps maintain our political action committee fund, helps organize citizen lobby days, performs research, supports coalition building, and lobbies at the state capitol.

Job Activities:
  1. Recruits and interviews political interns at colleges and universities across Michigan.
  2. Helps train political interns on organizing skills/strategies and Sierra Club Michigan Chapter’s priority issues, programs, and campaigns.
  3. Helps manage ongoing communication with political interns.
  4. Drafts and promotes press releases, action alerts, and newsletter articles.
  5. Gives public presentations on behalf of Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.
  6. Supports implementation of the chapter’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.
  7. Provides administrative support for our legislative and political programs including event planning, data entry, and mailings.
  8. Helps organize citizen lobbying events and maintaining legislative scorecards.
  9. May attend hearings at the state capitol on behalf of our Legislative and Political Director.
  10. Engages supporters in effective advocacy, public education, and awareness-raising activities to achieve campaign goals.
  11. Recruits and supports non-intern volunteers to further the goals and priorities of the chapter.
  12. Other miscellaneous duties as assigned.
Knowledge and Skills:
  • Some experience in grassroots organizing, training, motivating volunteers, electoral/political campaigns, coalition building, and lobbying.
  • Demonstrated written and oral communication skills.  Demonstrated public speaking ability.
  • Some knowledge and background in Michigan politics.
  • Demonstrated ability and effectiveness working with volunteers.
  • Self-motivated with a demonstrated ability to work independently towards goals.
  • Valid driver’s license, satisfactory driving record, and proof of auto insurance required.
  • Experience with Microsoft Office applications, Google drive, email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, websites, and constituent database management applications such as the Voter Activation Network (VAN) and Salesforce is preferred.
The Sierra Club offers competitive salary package commensurate with skills and experience plus excellent benefits that include medical, dental, and vision coverage, and a retirement savings 401(k) plan. This is a category 8 non-exempt position.
Sierra Club is a 501(c)(4) organization. Sierra Club does not sponsor H1B visas.
Sierra Club is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to a diverse workforce.

September 20, 2017

NEWS RELEASE: Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Announces 2017 Award Winners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2017
Sierra Club Michigan Chapter 
Announces 2017 Award Winners
Lansing, MI – An East Lansing state official who strengthened and guided Michigan energy policy, the Michigan author of a groundbreaking report examining diversity within the nation’s environmental organizations, and Michigan journalists are among those receiving awards from the Michigan Chapter of Sierra Club this year.

The Michigan Chapter’s top award for public officials, the Jane Elder Environmental Leader of the Year, will be presented to State Rep. Sam Singh, the state House Democratic Leader who was essential in passing strong clean energy legislation in 2016.  Singh earned a 100% environmental voting record from Sierra Club in the 2015-16 legislative session.

“Sam Singh’s leadership and persistence in supporting a clean energy economy for Michigan came at a critically important time for our state when lawmakers had to decide whether we would continue on our path of cleaner air and renewable energy,” said David Holtz, Chair of the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Executive Committee.  “Leader Singh’s commitment to a clean energy future will benefit Michigan families for years to come.  He has truly earned the honor of being Sierra Club’s Environmental Leader of the Year.”

The Burton V. Barnes Award, which honors academic excellence in support of the environment, will be presented to Dr. Dorceta E. Taylor, Ph.D, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment.  Taylor’s groundbreaking report, "The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations", highlights the racial, gender, class and cultural disparities among environmental organizations throughout the nation.

WTVS Detroit Public TV’s report, Toxic Town: Michigan’s Most Polluted Zip Code and MLive journalist Garret Ellison’s enterprise reporting onEnbridge’s controversial Great Lakes Line 5 oil pipelines and Nestle’sgroundwater withdrawals in Michigan earned Sierra Club’s top environmental journalism honors this year.

Another top award, the White Pine Award, will be presented to Traverse City-based For the Love of Water (FLOW) for extraordinary dedication by an organization to Michigan’s environment.

Detroit activist Theresa Landrum will receive the Bunyan Bryant Environmental Justice Award for her leadership in fighting pollution in Detroit’s neighborhoods. 

Other awards include:

The Marlene Fluharty Award will be presented to Chapter Chair David Holtz of East Lansing for his Sierra Club leadership in Michigan and at the national level.

Brimley resident Patrick Egan will receive the Michigan Chapter Chair’s Award for leadership as a member of the Chapter’s Executive Committee and as Finance Chair.

Ann Arbor resident Richard Morley Barron will receive the Theodore Roosevelt Political Leadership Award in recognition of his leadership as Chair of the Michigan Chapter Political Committee.

Everyl Yankee of Morrice will receive the Sylvania Award for excellence in leadership involving a new Sierra Club volunteer.

Montrose resident Denny Crispell will receive the Vince Smith Award for outstanding dedication to Sierra Club’s outings program.

The Trillium Award honors for outstanding youth environmental activism will go to East Lansing resident Sarah Tresedder for her strong commitment in supporting Sierra Club’s legislative, political and agricultural advocacy work.

The Ed Steinman Digital Excellence Award will honor Portage resident Bruce Brown for outstanding social media in support of the Southwest Michigan Sierra Club Group.

Brighton’s Lee Burton, chair of the Sierra Club Crossroads Group, will receive the Life of the Party Award, which honors volunteers who take seriously the Sierra Club’s credo “to enjoy the wild places of the Earth.”

The awards will be presented during a ceremony at the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter’s Annual Meeting on January 20, 2018 in Lansing. 

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September 6, 2017

NEWS RELEASE: Sierra Club Michigan highlights benefits of fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards for air, land and Great Lakes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, September 6, 2017
CONTACT: Mike Berkowitz, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, (248) 345-9808
Sierra Club Michigan highlights benefits of fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards for air, land and Great Lakes
EPA urged to maintain current standards ahead of this week’s Washington hearing

LANSING ­– Sierra Club Michigan Chapter today called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to maintain current fuel economy standards that protect our air, land and Great Lakes. Under the Trump Administration, the EPA is reconsidering previously finalized clean cars standards that reduce tailpipe carbon pollution, improve fuel economy, and combat climate change.

“By reconsidering these critical clean air protections, President Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt have once again clearly demonstrated they don’t care about the future of Michigan’s air, land and Great Lakes,” said Mike Berkowitz, political director at Sierra Club Michigan. “Today’s strong federal clean vehicle and fuel economy standards have sparked innovation and investment while reducing pollution in the air we breathe, and any attempt by the Trump Administration to roll back these crucial policies would be a massive step backward for Michigan families and for the health of our environment.”

A recent Chicago Tribune report detailed how exhaust from tailpipe pollution, diesel engines and factory smoke stacks already causes excessive smog in many areas throughout the Great Lakes region. Berkowitz said vehicle efficiency and carbon pollution standards, which combat climate change, are one important strategy to prevent air quality from further worsening.

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August 30, 2017

Erosion of Line 5 enamel coating another clear sign of grave risk posed by aging pipelines

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, August 30, 2017

CONTACT: David Holtz, Oil & Water Don’t Mix, (313) 300-4454


Erosion of Line 5 enamel coating another clear sign of grave risk posed by aging pipelines 

Oil & Water Don’t Mix: State must step in where Enbridge won’t, and shut down Line 5

LANSING – Citizens groups today said Enbridge Energy’s acknowledgment of enamel erosion in three areas of the Line 5 pipelines is yet another signal that the aging pipelines have been improperly maintained, posing a daily threat to the Great Lakes and Michigan’s economy.  Oil & Water Don’t Mix called for the State of Michigan to go beyond calling only for repairs to the enamel, and shut down the aging pipelines due to their unacceptable risk to the Great Lakes.

“Nearly every detail that comes to light about Line 5 points to decades of negligence on the part of Enbridge Energy, and today’s revelation that enamel coating is wearing off the pipelines simply adds to the long list of unacceptable risks Line 5 poses to Michigan,” said Liz Kirkwood, executive director of For Love of Water (FLOW). “Given their track record of negligence, we can’t trust Enbridge Energy to give us the whole story, maintain the pipelines or ensure every possible safeguard against a catastrophic Great Lakes oil spill. Rather than calling only for repairs of the coating, the State of Michigan must shut down Line 5 due to the unacceptable risk posed to our state.”

Kirkwood also said continuing violations of Enbridge’s Line 5 easement agreement should compel state officials to begin the process of decommissioning the controversial pipelines in the Straits.

A stakeholder email sent by an Enbridge official today read, in part: “Results from the August aquatic organism study will not be available for several weeks following the completion of the study; however, during the course of the associated inspection of the pipelines enamel coating, Enbridge has confirmed two locations containing small areas where there is pipeline without coating. A third location also has a possible small area of bare metal which is still being evaluated."
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Oil & Water Don’t Mix is a broad campaign of organizations, citizens and businesses across Michigan who are working to keep oil out of our Great Lakes by shutting down the dangerous, 64-year-old Line 5 Pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac. The campaign fights for clean water and air, Indigenous rights, reducing pollution, sustainable economies and protecting sporting, tourism and jobs that are dependent on our water and Pure Michigan way of life. Learn more at www.oilandwaterdontmix.org.

August 23, 2017

LBWL Agrees to Retire Erickson Coal Plant by 2025


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 23, 2017

Contact:

Sierra Club Welcomes Commitment to Cleaner Energy

LANSING, Mich. - The Lansing Board of Water and Light (LBWL) will stop burning fossil fuels at its coal-fired Erickson Generating Station by December 2025 and commit to specific clean energy investments, under a settlement agreement announced today by Sierra Club. The agreement settles claims of Clean Air Act violations at LBWL’s Erickson and Eckert Generating Stations in Lansing, Michigan.

The agreement also makes enforceable LBWL’s previously announced plans to retire the Eckert plant by December 2020. Along with the confirmed retirements, LBWL has committed to adding at least 106 megawatts of new wind and solar energy generation by December 31, 2020.

Under the agreement, LBWL is further required to achieve a combined renewable energy-energy efficiency goal of 30 percent of their total retail sales by December 31, 2020, and 35 percent by December 31, 2025. LBWL will also establish a sustainability program designed to promote energy waste reduction or pollution prevention in the City of Lansing and surrounding community, with funding of at least $300,000.

“As an asthmatic who has suffered from the health impacts of burning coal for decades, I celebrate the positive impact today’s announcement will have on public health in our region.  This settlement clears the way for Lansing and LBWL to live up to their potential to be Michigan’s leading city in reaching clean energy and climate goals in coming decades,” said Anne Woiwode, Michigan Sierra Club volunteer leader. “We look forward to working hand in hand with Lansing to achieve that goal.”

Last year, Sierra Club conducted a groundbreaking public opinion poll showing that Lansing voters are strongly in favor of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Three quarters think their part of Michigan should be using more renewable energy (76%) and energy efficiency (75%).

“Today’s announcement is a positive step toward prioritizing Michigan’s clean air and water, as well as protecting public health in the Lansing area. We have an opportunity now to avoid environmental and health risks in a way we did not have when coal-burning power was the only option,” said Regina Strong, director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Michigan. “Over the past five years we have seen large-scale solar and wind outperform coal, and now we are seeing renewable energy become even more competitive. We are pleased to reach this agreement with LBWL, which will help meet Mayor Virg Bernero’s commitment to climate action consistent with the Paris climate accord. This will go a long way in moving Lansing area residents toward the clean energy future they deserve, one that puts public health first.”

“This is good news,” said Aaron Stephens, East Lansing community activist.  “Clean energy is important for the future of our region and I am pleased to see the Lansing Board of Water and Light take these critical steps that move us away from the harmful effects of burning coal and toward an increase in renewable energy.”

“This agreement between the Lansing Board of Water and Light and the Sierra Club will vastly improve the health outlook for thousands of area residents,” said Kindra Weid, RN, MPH and Coalition Coordinator of MI Air MI Health.  “Retiring both the Eckert and Erickson coal-fired power plants by the end of 2025 will drastically reduce releases of several toxic chemicals polluting Michigan’s air and water. These include sulfur dioxide, which is a known irritant to people suffering from chronic respiratory conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.  This is great news for our air and water quality and for public health. A healthier and cleaner future is possible!”

The Erickson plant retirement commitment accounts for the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign’s 257th announced coal plant closure since 2010.

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About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.7 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.