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,

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.”


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

Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Announces 2017 Award Winners

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. 


September 6, 2017

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.