November 29, 2015

Citizens for Michigan’s Energy Future Ad Shows Utilities are Behind Bad Energy Bills

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Clean Energy Now
September 21, 2015
Contact: Marissa Luna, 989-798-3051marissa@engagemichigan.org

Citizens for Michigan’s Energy Future Ad Shows Utilities are Behind Bad Energy Bills
Ad seeks to mislead public to support bills that eliminate Michigan’s renewable energy, energy efficiency standards

MICHIGAN – Citizens for Michigan’s Energy Future (CMEF), a utility front group, released an ad this month calling for public support for legislation introduced in the Michigan House and Senate to eliminate Michigan’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. The misleading ad falsely claims that Michigan will face power shortages unless electric utilities are given carte blanche to build expensive, dirty power plants instead of abiding by state standards for greater energy efficiency and renewable energy. 

“We’ve known from the beginning that this campaign was designed to mislead the public and promote investments in fossil fuels instead of clean energy. This new ad shows that utility companies are the ones behind the legislative effort to protect their bottom line and block expansion of renewable energy and energy efficiency in Michigan,” said Nic Clark, state director for Clean Water Action.

Michigan’s utilities have obstructed efforts to further expand renewable energy and energy efficiency standards in the state since they were implemented in 2008, despite evidence that these measures can protect public health and Michigan’s Great Lakes, bring more jobs to the state, save people money on utility bills, and mitigate climate change.

“Utilities should support legislation that protects public health, saves customers money, and reduces our use of polluting fossil fuels like coal and natural gas,” said Mike Berkowitz, Legislative Director, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter. “Instead, they’re doing the opposite – funding an astro-turf campaign to support bills that gut Michigan’s clean energy policies and preclude people from producing their own energy through solar panels. In order to hold utilities accountable to making clean energy investments, which they clearly won’t do on their own, we must increase our state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards.”

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Clean Energy Now is a coalition of groups that supports policies that will move Michigan beyond coal power and toward greater use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency as a way to protect the environment and build prosperity. Follow the campaign at CleanEnergyNowMI.org.

November 16, 2015

Sierra Club Endorses Gretchen Driskell for Congress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 16, 2015                                  

CONTACT: Mike Berkowitz
248-345-9808
Mike.berkowitz@sierraclub.org

SIERRA CLUB ENDORSES GRETCHEN DRISKELL

Conservation Group Praises Work to Protect Michigan’s Environment


Saline, MIThe Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club today announced its endorsement of Gretchen Driskell (democrat) in the 2016 election in Michigan’s 7th Congressional District.

"Gretchen Driskell earned Sierra Club’s endorsement because of her commitment to protecting Michigan’s Great Lakes way of life,” said Richard Barron, Political Chair of Michigan Sierra Club. "She understands the importance of clean air, clean water, and public health. We are confident that she will work to protect Michigan’s environment for our families and our future."

As a State Representative, Gretchen Driskell worked tirelessly to protect and preserve the health of Michigan’s water, air and countryside. She introduced legislation to protect the Great Lakes such as House Bill 4514 which strengthens the Michigan’s oil pipeline regulations, increases environmental protection standards, and enhance accountability for pipeline leaks. Last month, Gretchen Driskell sponsored House Bill 5043 which would remove the costly and prohibitive permit system that’s stalled the efforts of several organizations to obtain information about stream flow and water quality in the state. Gretchen Driskell scored a 90 percent on the Sierra Club’s environmental voting scorecard during her time as a State Representative.

Gretchen Driskell is running for the Congressional seat currently held by Tim Walberg (republican). Congressman Walberg performed terribly on the Sierra Club’s environmental voting scorecard with a lifetime score of 5 percent. Walberg cast countless votes against environmental protection such as undermining clean air protections (H.R. 4795) and assaulting the clean water rule (H.R. 5078). In contrast, Gretchen Driskell encourages the expansion of Michigan’s clean energy industry and protection of pristine water.

"I appreciate Gretchen Driskell’s support for renewable energy as a pathway to cleaner air and homegrown jobs. As my Mayor and state Representative, she understood that people cared about creating jobs and protecting the planet,” said Rob Zimmer, a Sierra Club activist from Saline in the 7th Congressional District. “Michigan needs more clean energy champions in Congress and Gretchen Driskell has the skills, values and experience to lead on this important issue.”

Sierra Club’s endorsement means it will lend its volunteer strength to Gretchen Driskell’s campaign from among its 60,000 Michigan members and supporters, including over 11,000 in the 7th Congressional District.

"Getting Gretchen Driskell elected to represent the 7th Congressional District is a priority for us," said Mike Berkowitz, Political Director of the Michigan Sierra Club. "Sierra Club volunteers will conduct outreach to our members and other voters and let them know Gretchen Driskell is committed to protecting Michigan’s environment.”

The Sierra Club is the nation’s largest grassroots environmental organization, with 2.4 million members and supporters nationwide, and over 60,000 of them in Michigan.

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State Representative Gretchen Driskell

Congressman Tim Walberg

November 3, 2015

Sierra Club and Public Justice Warn Oklahoma Fracking Operators of Intent to Sue

MEDIA RELEASE  
                                                                                     
 November 2, 2015
                                                                                              
Contact:  Steve Ralls
(202) 861-5246 | 
sralls@publicjustice.net

Contact: Johnson Bridgwater
(405) 902-2288 | Johnson.bridgwater@sierraclub.org


Environmental Groups Warn Oklahoma Fracking Operators
of Potential Legal Action 

Sierra Club & Public Justice Say Industry is Responsible for Increased Seismic Activity

Oklahoma City, OK – Public Justice and Sierra Club filed a ‘Notice of Intent to Sue’ Friday with four energy companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, in the state of Oklahoma. The groups have notified Sandridge Exploration and Production, New Dominion, Chesapeake Operating and Devon Energy Production Company of new evidence linking production waste from fracking and oil production with increased and ongoing earthquake activity in and around central Oklahoma. They have demanded the companies take immediate action to modify their operations in a way that will substantially reduce seismic activity, or face legal action.

see article
In 2014, seismologists reported more than 5,000 earthquakes in Oklahoma, and geologists predict seismic activity to continue at that level throughout 2015. “Since late 2009,” the groups note in their letter, “the rate of magn­itude-3 or larger earthquakes in north-central Oklahoma has been nearly 300 times higher than in previous decades.” The letter also notes that “Overlaying the locations of Defendants’ wells onto the places where earthquakes above magnitude 3.5 have been felt shows that earthquakes are occurring in the vicinity of the Defendants’ wells or along fault lines that are close to the wells.” The groups have concluded that the large volume of production waste from fracking and oil production operations that is injected into the ground is causing this increased activity and raises the likelihood of “a devastating quake that could kill large numbers of people and cause massive environmental devastation.”

“Oklahoma is literally being shaken to its core by the operations of these oil and gas companies,” said Paul Bland, executive director of Public Justice. “The link between Oklahoma’s dramatic earthquake activity and the industry’s fracking operations has been established by countless experts, including the Oklahoma Geological Survey, the U.S. Geological Survey and the scientists who have assembled the compelling and conclusive evidence referenced in our letter today. Most importantly, the impact of this devastating process is felt, every single day, by the citizens of Oklahoma. There is a clear and present danger posed by these irresponsible operations. If the energy companies do not voluntarily take action to stop it, we will take them to court.”

“I am angry and offended that the oil and gas industry has been so slow to protect Oklahoma and its citizens in the face of this earthquake crisis,” said Barbara Vanhanken, Chair of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Stopping this ever-strengthening earthquake crisis is critical to the health and well-being of all Oklahomans. To ignore the human cost being paid for the earthquake problems tied to oil and gas operations in Oklahoma is cold-blooded and heartless. It reinforces the concept that profits matter more than people.”

The groups have demanded the energy companies take immediate steps to curb further activity and damage, including: Immediately and substantially reducing the amount of Production Waste injected into the ground; reinforcing structures that are most vulnerable to large magnitude earthquakes; and establishing an independent monitoring and prediction center to forecast the amount of Waste that can be safely injected while tracking seismic activity to confirm and modify those predictions.

The letter warns that, “the risk is not only that there are more frequent earthquakes; it is also that those earthquakes have been, and will continue to be, more severe.” Unless the companies take substantial action to reduce this risk, the groups write, “Citizens will sue in federal court to protect themselves and their environment.”
For more information, visit www.PublicJustice.net and www.SierraClub.org/Oklahoma.

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Public Justice pursues high impact lawsuits to combat social and economic injustice, 
protect the Earth’s sustainability, and challenge predatory corporate conduct and government abuses.
Established in 1972, the Oklahoma Chapter of the Sierra Club is the largest environmental group in Oklahoma, f
ighting to protect our great outdoors, with three Groups representing more than 3,000 members across the state.