March 20, 2012

Sneak Preview of Last Call at the Oasis Presented by Sierra Club & GVSU

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Gail Philbin, gail.philbin@sierraclub.org or 312-493-2384

Sneak Preview of Last Call at the Oasis Presented by Sierra Club & GVSU


New Documentary About Global Water Crisis Features Erin Brockovich and Michigan Chapter’s Lynn Henning

Grand Rapids – A sneak preview of Last Call at the Oasis, a new film about the global water crisis featuring activist Erin Brockovich and Sierra Club Water Sentinel Lynn Henning, is presented Thursday, April 5, 7-9 pm by Sierra Club’s Michigan Chapter, Grand Valley State University’s School of Communications and GVSU’s Student Environmental Coalition. The free preview of the film, which opens nationally May 5, will be followed by a Q&A with Henning and takes place at GVSU’s Loosemore Auditorium, 401 Fulton St. W, Grand Rapids.

Last Call at the Oasis, which comes from Participant Media (the company behind the ground-breaking documentaries An Inconvenient Truth, Food, Inc. and Waiting for “Superman”), examines the critical issue of our dwindling clean water options through stories highlighting water quantity and quality problems. The documentary illuminates the vital role water plays in our lives, exposes the defects in the current system and shows communities already struggling with its ill-effects.  Interviews include activist Erin Brockovich and respected water experts including Peter Gleick, Jay Famiglietti and Robert Glennon.

The film also spotlights Lynn Henning’s Sierra Club work tracking animal factory pollution, which has gained international recognition, earning her the International Goldman Environmental Prize in 2010 and a spread in the November 2011 issue of O Magazine. Henning got involved in the issue in the late 1990s after noticing local waterways being polluted by manure runoff from the 10 animal factories that surround the small farm she and her husband run in Lenawee County. Her research has helped alert federal and state authorities to violations and build cases against big polluters.

“When I was a kid we played in the criks," Lynn told O Magazine. "Today you can't do that. You touch the water, you get sick. We had catfish, we had pike—and these pike were two, two and a half feet long coming up this crik. We had a ball watching these fish and now we just have bloodworms. It's not right. This guy here can run his waste into a stream that someone else has to drink from without knowing it."

This sneak preview of Last Call at the Oasis is the second in a series of joint screenings by Sierra Club’s Michigan Chapter and GVSU celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Michigan Chapter and the 120th of the national Sierra Club, and the 25th anniversary of the Michigan Wilderness Act. It also represents the first-ever collaboration between the nation’s oldest environmental organization and the only Michigan university deemed one of the top 25 "cutting edge" green colleges in the United States by the 2009 Kaplan College Guide.

RSVP required by April 2 for this preview screening.  Contact Gail Philbin at gail.philbin@sierraclub.org or 616-805-3063.

For more on Last Call at the Oasis, visit www.participantmedia.com.

March 1, 2012

Legislative Scorecard Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5th, 2012
Contact: Mike Berkowitz, (248) 345-9808, mike.berkowitz@sierraclub.org

Michigan Sierra Club Releases Legislative Scorecard for State Legislators

All but four Republicans scored zero percent, most Democrats scored above 75 percent

LANSING - The Sierra Club Michigan Chapter today released its 2011-2012 Legislative Scorecard, which tracks legislators environmental voting records, for the Michigan House of Representatives. While the scorecard generally showed Democrats voting to maintain and/or strengthen environmental protections, more disturbingly it showed Republicans generally vote to weaken or eliminate environmental protections.

“It’s extremely frustrating that the environment has become a partisan political issue,” said Mike Berkowitz, the Michigan chapter organizer for the Sierra Club. “Of the 62 Republican State Representatives, 58 scored zero percent. If that statistic doesn’t scare you, it should. The Republican House leadership has completely failed at protecting clean air and clean water for Michigan citizens.”

The Sierra Club’s scorecard calculated the results based upon eight roll call votes in the House for the 2011-2012 legislative session. According to the Scorecard, House Democrats scored an average of 78 percent, while House Republicans scored an average of one percent. Six lawmakers scored a perfect 100 percent. A full list of “Environmental Champions” (100 percent), “Environmental Stewards” (80 to 99 percent), and “Pollution Promoters” (zero to 25 percent) is included at the end of this release. The only Republican who crossed over to vote with Democrats on more than one bill on the scorecard was Rep. Matt Lori (R-Constantine.) Nine Democrats scored less than a 65 percent, two of whom scored as low as 38 percent. The full scorecard is available here.

“We focused on votes that our members and our Legislative Committee voiced major opinions about,” said Lydia Fischer, chair of the Legislative Committee for the Michigan Sierra Club. “Overall, votes were selected that clearly showcased the true environmental intent of the legislators.”

Aside from the partisan nature of the voting, the number of anti-environment bills that were advanced also increased. “Almost every single environmental bill considered over the last year was an attack on Michigan’s environmental protections,” Berkowitz continued. “Pro-environment bills that we lobbied for – such as bills to protect Michigan residents from the dangers of fracking – never even received public hearings in committee.”

“Why does our legislature have the wrong priorities when it comes to protecting Michigan’s environment?” asked James D’Amour, a Sierra Club member once active in the Republican Party. “Clean air and clean water should not be partisan issues. We were the best progressive leaders in making conservation a top priority. This so-called ‘new’ GOP is disappointing and disheartening for Republicans like me who care about the environment.”

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The Sierra Club is the nation’s largest grassroots environmental organization, with over 170,000 members and supporters in Michigan.


2011-2012 Environmental Champions (100% score)



District
Name
Party
5
John Olumba
D
9
Shanelle Jackson
D
11
David E. Nathan
D
25
Jon M. Switalski
D
27
Ellen Cogen Lipton
D
53
Jeff Irwin
D





2011-2012 Environmental Stewards (80-99% score)





District
Name
Party
1
Timothy Bledsoe
D
6
Frederick C. Durhal Jr.
D
7
James Womack
D
8
Thomas Stallworth III
D
12
Rashida Tlaib
D
15
George T. Darany
D
17
Phil Cavanagh
D
21
Dian Slavens
D
26
Jim Townsend
D
35
Rudy Hobbs
D
39
Lisa Brown
D
50
Charles Smiley
D
54
David Rutledge
D
68
Joan Bauer
D
69
Mark S. Meadows
D
75
Brandon Dillon
D
92
Marcia Hovey-Wright
D






2011-2012 Pollution Promoters (25% and below)



District
Name
Party
19
John J. Walsh
R
20
Kurt Heise
R
23
Pat Somerville
R
24
Anthony G. Forlini
R
30
Jeff Farrington
R
32
Andrea LaFontaine
R
33
Ken Goike
R
36
Peter J. Lund
R
38
Hugh D. Crawford
R
40
Charles Moss
R
41
Martin Knollenberg
R
43
Gail Haines
R
44
Eileen Kowall
R
45
Tom McMillin
R
46
Bradford C. Jacobsen
R
47
Cynthia S. Denby
R
52
Mark Ouimet
R
55
Rick Olson
R
56
Dale W. Zorn
R
57
Nancy E. Jenkins
R
58
Kenneth Kurtz
R
59
Matthew J. Lori
R
61
Margaret E. O'Brien
R
63
Jase Bolger
R
64
Earl Poleski
R
65
Michael Shirkey
R
66
William Rogers
R
70
Rick Outman
R
71
Deb Lynn Shaughnessy
R
72
Ken Yonker
R
73
Peter MacGregor
R
74
David Agema
R
77
Thomas B. Hooker
R
78
Sharon Tyler
R
79
Al Pscholka
R
80
Aric Nesbitt
R
81
Judson S. Gilbert II
R
82
Kevin Daley
R
83
Paul Muxlow
R
84
Kurt Damrow
R
85
Ben Glardon
R
86
Lisa Posthumus Lyons
R
87
Mike Callton
R
88
Robert J. Genetski II
R
89
Amanda Price
R
90
Joseph Haveman
R
91
Holly Hughes
R
93
Paul E. Opsommer
R
94
Kenneth B. Horn
R
97
Joel Johnson
R
98
Jim Stamas
R
99
Kevin Cotter
R
100
Jon Bumstead
R
101
Ray A. Franz
R
102
Phil Potvin
R
103
Bruce R. Rendon
R
104
Wayne A. Schmidt
R
105
Greg MacMaster
R
106
Peter Pettalia
R
107
Frank Foster
R
108
Ed McBroom
R
110
Matt Huuki
R



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