October 14, 2011

House Republicans Vote in Favor of Raising Utility Costs

Thursday, Oct. 14, 2011    
Contact:    Mike Berkowitz, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter: 517-484-2372 x13
                  Cyndi RoperClean Water Action: 517-490-1394

House Republicans Vote in Favor of Raising Utility Costs 

LANSING – In a near party line vote, the Michigan House of Representatives today passed House Bill 4815, with an overwhelming majority of Republican legislators voting in favor of the bill. HB 4815, as written, would exempt Michigan-manufactured incandescent light bulbs from the federal Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 if they are sold in Michigan.  The federal act is set to phase out inefficient light bulbs by 2014 in an effort to increase energy efficiency in the United States. Contrary to these efforts, HB 4815 supports inefficient and outdated technology. Inefficient light bulbs require more energy to operate, and in turn require more energy be created from dirty energy sources, which have a major impact on our water, our air, and the public’s health.

“This vote sends a simple message: House Republicans do not care about consumers,” said Mike Berkowitz, Michigan Chapter Organizer for the Sierra Club. “This vote could collectively cost Michiganders over $350 million each year and increases the energy bill for each Michigan household by $85 annually. The legislature should not encourage our state to be less efficient, create more pollution, and charge ratepayers more.”

Despite claims made to the contrary, the federal Energy Independence and Security Act does not phase out incandescent light bulbs. Instead, the act promotes the use of more efficient versions that comply with these efficiency standards and provide an alternative for consumers who find compact fluorescents objectionable. These more efficient incandescent bulbs are produced by popular brands such as Philips, Sylvania, and GE. Their cost is similar to that of Compact Fluorescent bulbs and they are readily available on the shelves of your local home improvement store. Also, LED options are available for consumers as another lighting alternative.

“Instead of dictating what light blubs Michiganders can and can’t use, why doesn’t the House majority focus on creating jobs?” asked Cyndi Roper, Michigan Director of Clean Water Action. “HB 4815 is simply a misguided attempt to undermine sound energy policy and will do nothing to create jobs in our great state. If the legislature truly wants to support Michigan residents having a full choice of lighting options, they should work with manufacturers to help bring efficient incandescent bulb production and the associated jobs to Michigan.” Roper explained that instead of voting for HB 4815, Michigan lawmakers should use their clout to embrace the emerging national market for efficient incandescent light bulbs. “By creating a niche for the efficient incandescent bulb industry in Michigan, you would help create much-needed jobs while reducing energy waste,” she concluded.

Currently, the state of Michigan is progressing toward energy independence. This bill would damage such progress and create extra costs to consumers, state government and the environment. The bill now moves to the Michigan State Senate.

Natural Resources Defense Council Study: http://www.nrdc.org/energy/files/betterbulbs.pdf

October 11, 2011

Walberg Blasted for Votes Endangering Public Health

Contacts:  Alex Wall, Sierra Club, 202-548-4595
Kate Geller, LCV, 202-454-4573

Walberg Blasted for Votes Endangering Public Health

New television ad campaign highlights public health impacts of pro-polluter votes

View the ad below or click here.

11 October 2011, Lansing, MI:  A new round of television ads begin airing today criticizing Michigan Representative Tim Walberg for his opposition to new clean air standards that would curb air pollution from toxic pollutants like mercury and arsenic, including his vote on the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011 (the TRAIN Act), which recently passed in the House and aims to block clean air protections against life-threatening air pollution.   Walberg has taken $191,920 from Big Oil and other dirty energy interests during his career.

The ads will air in the Lansing market for one week beginning October 11 and are sponsored by Sierra Club Michigan Chapter and the League of Conservation Voters.

“We need Rep. Walberg to stand up for the health of his constituents and Michigan families instead of standing with the polluters,” said Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Director.  “Rep. Walberg’s attacks on pollution protections will not create more jobs or economic growth, but will mean more children in the hospital, harder times for families trying to make ends meet and millions of dollars in health bills for Michigan taxpayers.

“Representative Walberg is putting polluters before people and endangering public health by opposing common sense clean air safeguards that would curb harmful air pollution,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at the League of Conservation Voters. “Our Representatives must be held accountable for votes that would force us to breathe air polluted with toxics like mercury and arsenic. This campaign will inform Representative Walberg’s constituents of the extreme anti-clean air votes Tim Walberg is taking in Washington.”

The ad criticizes Walberg for voting for the TRAIN Act, a bill which would indefinitely delay two critical Clean Air Act standards that limit soot, smog, mercury and other toxic pollutants like arsenic, cadmium, dioxin, lead, and formaldehyde from power plants.  [Roll Call Vote #741, 9/23/11]  The TRAIN Act could result in as many as 139,500 American lives lost to air pollution over the next seven years.

The ad sponsors will continue to closely track and respond to anti-clean air votes. Walberg also voted last week in favor of blocking toxic mercury protections for cement plants (H.R. 2681). These bills, as well as the TRAIN Act, are part of a series of attacks on health protections that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced in August.

View the ad below or click here.

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About Sierra Club of Michigan: The Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club is the statewide voice for the nation's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization. For 40 years, the Michigan Chapter has organized the bold action of citizens working together to protect and restore our Great Lakes state’s health and heritage.

About the League of Conservation Voters: The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is a national non-profit organization that works to turn environmental values into national priorities. To secure the environmental future of our planet, LCV advocates for sound environmental policies, informs the public and holds elected officials accountable for their votes through publications such as the National Environmental Scorecard, and provides the state LCVs with the resources and tools to accomplish and sustain their mission.