December 5, 2018

State House Gets Revised Line 5 Bill Rearranging Tunnel Deck Chairs While Enbridge Pipelines Remain Threat That Could Sink the Great Lakes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
 
State House Gets Revised Line 5 Bill
Rearranging Tunnel Deck Chairs While
Enbridge Pipelines Remain Threat
That Could Sink the Great Lakes
Senate Endorses Move Aimed At Stopping Incoming Governor, 
Attorney General from Protecting Mackinac Straits from Dangerous Pipelines

LANSING, MI—Citizens groups blasted a Republican state Senate bill passed today by lame duck lawmakers that increases the likelihood of a catastrophic oil pipeline rupture in the Great Lakes while giving a private foreign corporation access to Michigan’s waters, bottomlands, and taxpayer money.
After modifying a provision that would directly saddle the Mackinac Bridge Authority with ownership of a proposed oil tunnel, lawmakers approved Senate Bill 1197. The measure creates a new state body--the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority-- to own and govern the proposed tunnel, although questions remained regarding its relationship with the Mackinac Bridge Authority and any potential liability that could impact the bridge authority.

The proposal now goes to the state House for continued fast-track approval and then on to Gov. Snyder’s desk.  Snyder has been the chief driver of the legislation, which would allow Enbridge Energy Partners Inc. to continue operating the twin Line 5 oil pipelines in the Mackinac Straits under proposed agreements the Canadian multinational corporation secured from the outgoing Michigan governor.   
“This proposed legislation sentences the Great Lakes and Michigan to 10 years or more of living with a massive high risk oil spill in the Mackinac Straits,” said Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Chair.  “House members should see this proposed legislation for what it is—a dangerous giveaway to Enbridge—and reject it.”
Enbridge and Snyder have signed agreements that call for Line 5 oil tunnel to be constructed under the Straits, a project that if undertaken, could take up to 10 years or more to complete. Meanwhile, the state has agreed to allow Enbridge to keep operating its deteriorating pipelines on the Straits lakebed where they are subject to ship anchor strikes, corrosion and other threats.
“If Enbridge, a multinational corporation, wants an oil tunnel in the Mackinac Straits that primarily benefits its shareholders it should propose doing it without governmental partnerships or special treatment,” said Sean McBrearty, senior organizer for Clean Water Action  “We need elected representatives who will take care of Michigan’s citizens, its businesses and the Great Lakes, not a Canadian company that has consistently lied to the state and the public about the condition of Line 5—a company that was negligently responsible for the worst oil pipeline rupture in Michigan history.”

After more than four years of Enbridge-funded studies,  Gov. Snyder is racing the clock on an expiring term in an attempt to block his successor, Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer, and Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel, from decommissioning Line 5.   

The new tunnel authority would allow Snyder to immediately appoint a small, three-member board to six-year terms and empower them  to implement agreements for a Line 5 tunnel. The proposed legislation would also:

  • Establish a recklessly rushed process with a Dec. 21 deadline -- less than 3 weeks from now -- for creating a series of agreements involving complicated construction and operation of a Mackinac Straits tunnel with little or no review by the public and tribes with treaty rights in the Straits.   
  • Require the incoming Attorney General Dana Nessel to defend the new Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority against multiple potential legal challenges, essentially obligating Michigan taxpayers to defend a tunnel that will primarily benefit Enbridge, a foreign corporation.

November 21, 2018

Sierra Club Job Posting: Great Lakes State Organizer

SIERRA CLUB IS HIRING!

Sierra Club will expand its capacity to tackle environmental threats in Michigan by adding a new full-time, limited duration position to its staff in 2019. 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 full-time Great Lakes State Organizer position who will work on our efforts to tackle the emerging PFAS toxic threat to drinking water around the state, our fight to shut down Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline and other challenges to the Great Lakes. The job description and application information for the Great Lakes State Organizer is found here. 

October 23, 2018

Industrial dairy with history of environmental violations seeks State approval to expand in Barry County

Expansion will annually add 900 animals and generate 5,402,597 additional gallons of manure; Public Comments due November 1


Oct. 23, 2018
Media Contact:  Gail Philbin, Sierra Club Michigan Director, 616-805-3063, gail.philbin@sierraclub.org
Lansing--Prairie View Dairy LLC, a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) in Prairieville Township, is seeking a change in its state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) permit to reflect an expansion of its animal herd by 900 animals (40%) to a total of 3,150 cows. The increase means the operation will generate 27,610,432 gallons of waste per year, an annual increase of 5,402,597 gallons in a lake-filled region of the state already saturated with CAFOs and animal waste.

Concerned area residents have the opportunity to request a Public Hearing by November 1 to learn more about Prairie View’s request and the dairy factory’s handling of animal waste as well as submit comments about the proposal by emailing Megan McMahon at the Michigan DEQ,  mcmahonm1@michigan.gov. Submitting comments and having a public hearing are the only ways local residents can get their voices heard about the dairy expansion. Deadline for a hearing request and comments is November 1.

Animal waste from some of the nearly 300 CAFOs in Michigan frequently makes its way into our waterways, leading to a host of environmental and health problems. In the case of Prairie View, a significant spill in 2015 ran into West Gilkey Lake and led to the DEQ issuing a Consent Order and fining Prairie View Dairy CAFO.

Manure feeds the algae blooms that plague our inland waters and was a key factor in the growth of the toxic algae that poisoned drinking water for Toledo and southern Michigan in 2014. Water and soil pollution can occur at any point in a dairy operation, including from over-application of waste to fields of manure slurry containing untreated feces, urine, disease-causing bacteria, anti-biotics, and hazardous chemicals such as ammonia and methane.

Sierra Club has been at the forefront of battling CAFO pollution in Michigan for nearly three decades. To learn more, visit https://www.sierraclub.org/michigan/why-are-cafos-bad#health-effects

For questions about submitting public comments, email gail.philbin@sierraclub.org
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October 3, 2018

PRESS RELEASE: Sierra Club Statement on Snyder - Enbridge Oil Tunnel Deal

For Immediate Release
October 3, 2018
Contact: Anne Woiwode 517-974-2112 anne.woiwode@michigan.sierraclub.org 
               David Holtz   313-300-4454  david@davidholtz.org 


Sierra Club Statement on the Disastrous Snyder-Enbridge Oil Tunnel Deal


This statement responding to a deal announced today between Governor Rick Snyder and Enbridge to build an oil tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac can be attributed to Anne Woiwode, chair of the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.


Today Rick Snyder and Enbridge have doubled down on their dangerous backroom deal last November. The Governor has once again shut out the public, ignored the experts, failed to honor the treaty rights of Michigan’s tribes and tried to lock in a deal that forces generations of Michiganders to take all of the risk, while Enbridge reaps all the profits. 

Instead of adopting a solution that protects the Great Lakes and Michiganders from an unneeded, leaky and damaged oil pipeline crossing hundreds of waterways, Snyder and Enbridge are using the last days of a lame duck governor to lock in a short cut for Canadian oil across our state and the Great Lakes. And the Governor is putting the state's Mackinac Bridge Authority in the bulls eye of this ill-conceived scheme - putting one of Michigan's most effective and iconic agencies in the role of providing cover for a foreign, polluting corporation. 

In the five years since the dangerous condition of Line 5 was brought to public attention we have seen Enbridge lie about the condition of the pipeline to state and federal officials, grossly understating the condition of the coating and delaying reports about gouges caused by an anchor strike last April. We’ve learned that a tunnel will take up to a decade to build, leaving this dangerously deteriorating pipeline in place all that time. We’ve learned that the Coast Guard is unprepared to respond to a disastrous oil spill in the Great Lakes, and that clean up response teams could take days to get on site.  We’ve learned a clean up of a oil disaster would take many years, would cost billions of dollars, would reclaim less than half the oil spilled, and that there is no where near enough money committed now to conduct a complete clean up. And, we’ve learned that the economy of the Straits region would be left in shambles, with drinking water polluted and tourism destroyed. 

We’ve also learned that alternatives for providing propane to UP households are readily available and affordable. We’ve seen the increasing impacts of climate change in our state and around the world, arguing for keeping the oil in the ground. We’ve seen the need to invest in our state’s infrastructure - roads, water and sewer systems, schools, and much more - grow astronomically and with those investments instead see sustainable jobs and a healthier, more economically competitive state. 

The Great Lakes are too precious for Michiganders to allow an oil tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac. It is time for the lame duck Governor to stop making deals with Enbridge. 

August 8, 2018

PRESS RELEASE - Sierra Club: Clear Choice for Governor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Voters Provide Clear Choice 
for the Great Lakes State
Associated Press Declares Gretchen Whitmer, 
Bill Schuette Winners in Primary Races for Governor

The following statement can be attributed to Anne Woiwode,
Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Chair

Sierra Club congratulates Democrat Gretchen Whitmer and Republican Bill Schuette on their apparent primary election victories today in the governor’s race. These two candidates could not be more different in their approaches and priorities when it comes to protecting the public health and Michigan’s Great Lakes environment. 

Voters have clear choices for who will shape the future of the Great Lakes and enforce our public health and environmental laws: Gretchen Whitmer, who led Michigan’s clean energy revolution, opposes oil pipelines in the Great Lakes and has fought for clean air and clean water; and Bill Schuette, who over the course of his long political career has consistently worked to weaken laws that protect wildlife and our waters and instead lined up with polluters and against consumer protections, clean energy and clean air.   As Michigan Attorney General, Schuette gained a deserved reputation as an ally of polluting industries and tried, unsuccessfully, to block clean air rules, including pollution limits on mercury and other toxins.

In 2010, Republicans nominated a candidate for governor who held out the promise of modeling himself after the legendary Bill Milliken on the environment:  a moderate who pioneered shorelands protection and conservation.   Instead Michigan saw the worst public health crisis in modern history caused by the administration of Gov. Rick Snyder that prioritized money over people and has consistently sided with the oil industry instead of acting to protect the Great Lakes from oil pipelines.  

Bill Schuette doesn’t even pretend to be a Milliken Republican but, rather, models himself after Donald Trump.  Fortunately, voters have the opportunity to choose Gretchen Whitmer, the candidate for governor whose values and priorities are more in line with a place we call the Great Lakes State.   
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August 1, 2018

PRESS RELEASE: Court Decision Victory for Michigan Democracy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Media contact:  David Holtz 313-300-4454/david@davidholtz.org

Sierra Club: Court Decision
Victory for Michigan Democracy
Ending Gerrymandering Key To
Protecting Michigan’s Environment

LANSING, MI—Sierra Club today said Tuesday’s Michigan Supreme Court decision on the Voters Not Politicians redistricting reform rejecting an attempt to block the nonpartisan proposal from the November ballot is a victory for democracy, the rule of law and citizen initiatives.

“With this decision, we the people now get the chance to vote in November to end gerrymandering,” said Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Chair.   “Michigan’s gerrymandered redistricting process is a cancer that is eating away at our democracy and eroding public confidence in our government.  What will be  Proposal 2 in November means better politics, better democracy and better government.”

Over the past three years, Sierra Club has been educating its members and supporters about Michigan’s redistricting process and earlier this year endorsed the Voters Not Politicians ballot proposal.   Sierra Club volunteers from across the state have been working with staff to organize for the fall election, said Woiwode.

“If we end gerrymandering and Michigan voters get to choose their politicians instead of the other way around in a fair election process we will have a much better chance of protecting our air, water and land,” said Woiwode. “The current gerrymandered system dilutes people power and shifts control to corporate lobbyists.  That’s bad for Michigan’s environment and bad for Michigan’s democracy.”

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About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.4 million members and supporters nationwide, and over 150,000 in Michigan. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org.

July 9, 2018

Sierra Club Endorses Gretchen Whitmer


Leading Environmental Group Is First To Endorse in 2018 Race

LANSING, MI—Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest and largest environmental organization, today announced its endorsement of Gretchen Whitmer for governor, citing the Democratic candidate’s strong record and leadership on issues impacting Michigan’s public health and Great Lakes environment. 

This is the first announced environmental endorsement of a candidate for governor in either party in the 2018 Michigan election.

“Gretchen Whitmer is an extraordinary candidate and Sierra Club is excited to announce our strong endorsement of her as the next governor of the Great Lakes State,” said Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Chair.  “She brings something we have not had for eight years, which is a strong, decisive leader with a proven track record on public health, Michigan's environment and social justice.  

“Gretchen Whitmer's voice, values and experience are what Michigan desperately needs.  Following eight years of disastrous policies that have left communities like Flint badly diminished and protection of our lakes, rivers and streams put in the hands of corporate polluters, Gretchen Whitmer will again make people and our natural heritage a priority.”
Whitmer’s public health and environmental ratings were among the highest in the  state Legislature and included helping establish the state’s first renewable and efficiency standards to promote clean energy.  As a candidate for governor, Whitmer has prioritized protecting drinking water, combating climate change, ending the threat of oil pipelines in the Great Lakes and fighting environmental injustices  impacting Michigan families.

Gretchen Whitmer is a mom like me and wants what most of us want and that’s a healthy Michigan for our kids and our future,” said Deitra Porter, a Sierra Club member from the Detroit area.  “She cares about protecting our children and wants to make sure that government is on the side of families who need affordable, safe drinking water and early childhood education so their kids have the tools they need to protect the planet.  That’s why as a Sierra Club volunteer leader I support endorsing Gretchen Whitmer for Michigan’s next governor.”  

Patrick Egan, a Sierra Club member and resident of Brimley in the Upper Peninsula, cited Whitmer’s track record and commitment to protecting the Great Lakes.

"Michigan forests and the Great Lakes don't have a vote. Gretchen Whitmer was here and told us she will represent Michigan's priceless assets,” said Egan. “She will decommission the 65-year-old, obsolete oil pipeline that crosses over 200 Upper Peninsula bodies of water and keep all Michiganders safe from the dangers of Line 5."

Sierra Club’s endorsement of Whitmer came as a result of votes by the Michigan Chapter’s volunteer Political Committee and elected Executive Committee, both of which represent local Sierra Club groups and members throughout the state.  Under the club’s rules, a two-thirds vote is required for endorsement.  

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The Sierra Club is the nation’s largest grassroots environmental organization, with over 130,000 members and supporters in Michigan.

June 29, 2018

Governor Snyder Signs Bills Giving Polluting Industries Control Over Environmental Protections in Michigan

Friday, June 29, 2018
Contact: 
April Thomas, 206.321.3850, april.thomas@sierraclub.org
LANSING, MI -- Today Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law two bills which allow industry lobbyists to rewrite the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) rulebook and overrule MDEQ permit decisions. Now signed into law, Senate Bills 652-653 will ultimately lead to more environmental and public health disasters like the Flint water crisis, toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie, Nestle’s massive Great Lakes water withdrawal, and toxic air pollution hot spots in Detroit. Over two thousand Sierra Club activists contacted Gov. Snyder since the bills were passed to demand that he veto these dangerous bills, but he failed to do so. These bills will prevent impacted communities and residents concerned about industry pollution from having any say in permit and rule decisions.

“Michigan, like the rest of the nation, has already been robbed of our best protections against dangerous air and water pollution since Scott Pruitt took control of EPA,” said Rhonda Anderson, Organizing Manager for Sierra Club. “Now that this legislation has been signed by Governor Snyder, we’ll have our own Pruitt right here in Michigan, with polluting industries in direct control of our state environmental agency. Communities are already facing unacceptable levels of toxins and pollution in our state. The crisis in Flint has yet to be addressed. Now that Governor Snyder has given away control of our environmental protections in Michigan to big polluters, we are facing an unprecedented crisis of environmental injustice and public health.”

Gov. Snyder has also failed to implement recommendations developed by the Environmental Justice Work Group that he himself created following direct recommendations from the Flint Water Advisory Task Force and the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee’s Policy Subcommittee. The Work Group, which includes many prominent environmental justice community leaders, submitted their recommendations in March but have yet to see any response from the Governor.

"These bills give industry lobbyists and special interest groups overreaching powers into public health decisions,” said Michelle Martinez, Statewide Coordinator for the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition. “The levels of cancer and cardiovascular disease for our elders, and asthma in children, in areas of Southeast Michigan are costing our families billions of dollars every year, and for some residents forcing them to make harsh decision between medication and other life essentials. Why continue to roll back protections for clean air and clean water now after such staggering crisis like Flint? Instead we should be looking at implementing the Environmental Justice Recommendations put forth-- which have been sitting on Snyder's desk since March-- they provide real solutions, and steps to protect the Great Lakes and safeguard their residents today and in the future."

MDEQ already has a slipshod track record on public health. Allowing polluting industry officials to regulate themselves sets the state up for further health crises and long-lasting environmental degradation.

“The lack of transparency, poor responsiveness to public concerns, and continued negligence of the Michigan DEQ violates basic human rights,” said Mike Berkowitz, Legislative and Political Director for the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter. “A public forum for community members to call attention to dangerous environmental problems, and to hold in check political pressure on agency staff is absolutely essential. Governor Snyder’s decision to sign these bills is a slap in the face to front-line communities dealing with environmental injustices and will further degrade the DEQ’s already terrible pattern of not listening to citizen concerns.”
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 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.

May 24, 2018

Five Questions On Line 5 For Michigan's Next Governor



LANSING, MI--Leading Democratic and Republican candidates for Michigan’s next governor are meeting Thursday, May 31 on Mackinac Island for a debate hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce.  Mackinac Island is ground zero for an Enbridge oil spill in the Straits of Mackinac.  A new EPIC-MRI poll made public today shows 87 percent of likely voters in Michigan’s November election are concerned about a Great Lakes oil spill from Enbridge’s Line 5 in the Straits .
Sierra Club and Clean Water Action Think Candidates for Governor Should Answer the Following Questions as They Debate on Mackinac Island in the Shadow of Dangerous Line 5:
1) As Governor will you use your authority to shut down Enbridge Line 5 and keep all oil pipelines out of the Great Lakes?

2) Will you pledge today to not accept any campaign contributions from political action committees or individuals connected with Enbridge Energy or the oil industry?

3) Enbridge Energy has violated its agreement with the State of Michigan to operate Line 5 by failing to maintain anchor supports as required and allowing protective pipeline coatings to deteriorate.  Will you as Governor use your authority to revoke the state’s easement agreement with Enbridge for Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac?

4) Will you state unequivocally that you oppose any replacement scheme for Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac that keeps oil pipelines in the Great Lakes, including a tunnel through the Straits?

5) The Treaty of 1836 establishes the right to fish in the Straits of Mackinac for Michigan’s Native American tribes. This right is dependent on a healthy ecosystem to support fish stocks.   Do you agree that this Treaty prevents the state from legally permitting a tunnel, trench or other pipeline construction that would damage the ecological resources of the Straits and leave Native American fishing rights at risk from an oil pipeline rupture?
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May 15, 2018

Press Release: Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Endorses Dana Nessel for Michigan Attorney General

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    Contact: Angela Vasquez-Giroux Wittrock
Tuesday, May 15, 2018         media@dana2018.com


Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Endorses Dana Nessel for Michigan Attorney General
Laud Nessel’s deep commitment to protecting public health, Great Lakes

LANSING -- Noting her pledge to shut down Enbridge Line 5 as her first act in office and her unwavering commitment to protecting public health and the Great Lakes, the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter has endorsed Dana Nessel for Michigan Attorney General, her campaign announced today.

“Given the unprecedented challenges facing our Great Lakes, our climate, and public health, getting Dana Nessel elected as Michigan's next Attorney General is one of our top priorities,” said Mike Berkowitz, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Legislative and Political Director. “In contrast, Bill Schuette is the worst environmental Attorney General we've had in decades, leading the charge against air emission safeguards, disregarding the impacts of climate change, and consistently siding with corporate polluters. Dana Nessel will restore integrity and the values of environmental justice to the office of the Attorney General.”

The Sierra Club is a grassroots organization whose political strength is in educating and mobilizing environmental voters. In backing Dana Nessel, the Sierra Club brings with them their 150,000 Michigan members and supporters who will stand with Dana and work hard to make sure she wins in November.

“For the past 15 years, the office of Michigan Attorney General has been used to protect the bottom line of wealthy corporations, even as they pollute our air and poison our water to increase their profits,” Nessel said. “That stops on my first day in office. I’ll shut down Enbridge Line 5 and put the power of the AG’s office where it belongs: protecting the people of Michigan, and holding corporate polluters accountable when they harm our communities and our natural treasures.”

Nessel, a noted civil rights attorney and former Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor, is the Michigan Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate for state Attorney General.  She’s earned the endorsement of a broad coalition of community leaders, elected officials, advocacy organizations and labor unions, including the Democratic Attorneys General Association, Michigan Association for Justice, the Michigan Education Association and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

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Dana Nessel is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University Law School. She was most recently managing partner of Nessel & Kessel Law, located in Detroit, and has nearly 25 years of legal experience. In 2012, she spearheaded the precedent-setting case, DeBoer v. Snyder, which challenged bans on adoption and marriage for same-sex couples in Michigan. She’s a fighter for Michigan residents.

April 20, 2018

PRESS RELEASE: SIERRA CLUB MAKES EARLY ENDORSEMENTS FOR 2018 ELECTION



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2018

CONTACT:
Mike Berkowitz
248.345.9808
mike.berkowitz@sierraclub.org

SIERRA CLUB MAKES EARLY ENDORSEMENTS FOR 2018 ELECTION

The Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, a non-partisan environmental protection organization, today announced its first round of candidate endorsements for the 2018 primary and general elections. Early endorsements are reserved for incumbents with proven pro-environment records and challengers who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the principles of the Sierra Club. These endorsements precede the April 24 candidate filing deadline for candidates.

“Sierra Club endorses candidates who demonstrate strong leadership in promoting clean air, clean water, cleaner energy and a healthier Michigan,” said Mike Berkowitz, Political Director of the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter. “Our members are committed to making sure voters are aware of the strong environmental values of these candidates. We will work hard to ensure these candidates are sent to Lansing or DC next year.”

The Sierra Club has endorsed United States Senator Debbie Stabenow for re-election and the following candidates for Congress:

Matt Morgan (D-1)
Dan Kildee (D-5)
Gretchen Driskell (D-7)
Elissa Slotkin (D-8)
Debbie Dingell (D-12)
Brenda Lawrence (D-14)

The Sierra Club has endorsed Jocelyn Benson for Michigan Secretary of State and the following candidates for State Senator and Representative:

Senate:
Stephanie Chang (D-1)
Jeremy Moss (D-11)
Sean McCann (D-20)
Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-23)
Jim Ananich (D-27)
Winnie Brinks (D-29)

House of Representatives:
Joseph Tate (D-2)
Latanya Garrett (D-7)
Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-8)
Abdullah Hammoud (D-15)
Kevin Hertel (D-18)
Kristy Pagan (D-21)
Darrin Camilleri (D-23)
Jim Ellison (D-26)
Robert Wittenberg (D-27)
William Sowerby (D-31)
Sheldon Neeley (D-34)
Christine Greig (D-37)
Tim Sneller (D-50)
Donna Lasinski (D-52)
Yousef Rabhi (D-53)
Jon Hoadley (D-60)
David LaGrand (D-75)
Rachel Hood (D-76)
Terry Sabo (D-92)
Vanessa Guerra (D-95)

At the local level, the Sierra Club has endorsed the following candidates for Oakland County Commission and Wayne County Commission:

Oakland County:
David Bowman (D-10)
Marcia Gershenson (D-13)
Helaine Zack (D-18)
Dave Woodward (D-19)

Wayne County:
Tim Killeen (D-1)
Martha Scott (D-3)
Ilona Varga (D-4)
Glenn Anderson (D-12)
Ray Basham (D-14)

Finally, the Sierra Club endorsed Voters Not Politicians and Promote The Vote, two statewide ballot initiatives aimed at improving Michigan’s participatory democracy. Voters Not Politicians will end partisan gerrymandering by establishing an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. Promote The Vote will make voting more accessible, secure and fair for everyone who wants to participate in our elections.

“Sierra Club volunteers from among the organization’s 150,000 Michigan members and supporters will work with endorsed candidates and campaigns, identifying and recruiting voters who are concerned about the state’s environmental and energy policies” said Richard Morley Barron, Political Chair of the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.

“Sierra Club is a grassroots organization and our political strength is in educating and mobilizing environmental voters,” said Barron. “Given the unprecedented challenges facing our Great Lakes, our climate and public health, we are committed to implementing the most robust effort of any election year in our history. The times demand it and our members expect it.”

The Michigan Chapter’s Political Committee conducts thorough reviews of candidates based on their environmental history, voting records and policy positions through candidate interviews and responses to candidate questionnaires. The Sierra Club will continue reviewing candidates for the 2018 election on a rolling basis with the intention of making two more rounds of endorsements, one before the primary election in August and one following it.

A full list of candidates and ballot proposals endorsed by the Michigan Sierra Club, including federal, state and local candidates, is available at the following website: http://tinyurl.com/SCMIEndorse.

About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.4 million members and supporters nationwide, and over 150,000 in Michigan. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org.

Paid for by Michigan Sierra PAC (109 E. Grand River Ave. Lansing, MI 48906)

April 12, 2018

ACTION ALERT: Clean Water For Flint!

Demand Clean Public Water for Flint!

On Friday, April 6, Governor Snyder notified the Flint community through a press release that the State of Michigan would no longer provide bottled water once the existing supply ran out, despite continuing concerns about water safety. As of Tuesday, April 10, the supply of bottled water dried up, leaving residents scrambling to secure clean water for drinking, cooking and other daily needs.

Contact Governor Snyder and Lieutenant Governor Calley to tell them Flint needs bottled water until after all lead service lines are replaced, and their accountability and transparency are necessary for all of Michigan! 

Lead service lines are being replaced quickly when weather allows - and replacing the remaining thousands of lead service lines will at least take until the end of 2019. When the pipes are replaced, lead is released into the water supply - potentially spiking lead levels for months after pipes are replaced in neighborhoods housing tens of thousands of Flint residents. There is no safe level of lead in drinking water, and effects are especially dangerous for children and pregnant residents.

The State of Michigan has not earned the public's trust in ensuring the safety of Flint's tap water supply, and has evaded accountability for addressing the water crisis it caused. Examples from 2018 include:
  • State officials ignored repeated community demands for transparency about comprehensive water quality measures, including fluctuating levels of lead and bacteria-killing chlorine. 
  • Governor Snyder publicly discredited and intimidated researchers examining concerning bacteria levels in Flint point-of-use water filters, including by pulling research funding. 
  • Rich Baird, Governor Snyder's lead cabinet employee for the Flint water crisis response, stole a Flint-based researcher's proposal for a comprehensive school water testing program that would intentionally involve members of the school community to build trust in the water testing results. He commissioned an outside researcher to do a watered-down version of the program without a component to rebuild trust. 
  • During recent water testing of Flint school faucets, State officials changed the water sampling procedure mid-way through three rounds of testing, apparently to obtain desired results for lead levels in the water. These test results were used by the State to declare that the water crisis was over, which lead to the abrupt end of bottled water for Flint residents. 
  • Meanwhile, as Flint residents pay one of the highest drinking water rates in the nation, the State nearly doubled the amount of water that Nestle can extract from Michigan to bottle and sell for profit, despite more thank 85,000 public comments against this move. Privatizing Michigan water is unjust for all of Michigan residents and signals a worrying trend in our state government.

Contact Governor Snyder and Lieutenant Governor Calley to tell them Flint needs bottled water until after all lead service lines are replaced, and their accountability and transparency are necessary for all of Michigan!

April 10, 2018

Join Us for a Factory Farm Action Training!

May 19: CAFOs 101 Citizen Training!
Photo credit: Jeff Vanuga, USDA/NRCS
Michigan is experiencing a factory farm rush due to new hog and dairy processing facilities proposed around the state. As a result, plans for at least two new large-scale hog operations that pack thousands animals into warehouses and generate millions of gallons of waste annually have been unveiled for the Montague and Jackson areas in just the last year. These operations, known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), join 272 large-scale livestock facilities already in Michigan.

When these "farms" come into a new community, they typically blindside unsuspecting local residents who have little knowledge of how to fight back. These neighbors end up living in close proximity to an industry known for generating water and air pollution, lowering land values and burdening local communities with road repair and other costs. If you are concerned about this trend in our food system, join us for our citizen activist workshop in May!  

WHAT: CAFOs 101, a training to arm Michigan citizens with the knowledge to mobilize against Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and their threat to our Great Lakes, inland bodies of water and public health. You'll learn about the history of CAFOs in Michigan, the regulatory and political context they operate in and how you can help fight back if one tries to locate in your community and how to help us build a network of CAFO Busters across Michigan.

WHEN: Saturday, May 19, 10am-1pm  (includes program and light lunch)

WHERE:  Greater Lansing Housing Coalition, 600 W. Maple St., Lansing 

WHO: Sponsored by Sierra Club Michigan, Socially Responsible Agriculture Project, Food and Water Watch, Public Justice, Great Lakes Environmental law Center, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Blue River Law

ADMISSION: Free, but $10 donations to cover lunch accepted by non-profit sponsors

RSVP Required by May 11:  Click here to register. Space is limited.

 
Questions? Email gail.philbin@sierraclub.org.

April 4, 2018

Detroit Environmental Justice Leader Unjustly Incarcerated for Defending Family from Assault

Siwatu-Salama Ra Sentenced to Two Years in Prison During High-Risk Pregnancy
Monday, April 2, 2018
Contact: 
April Thomas, 206.321.3850, april.thomas@sierraclub.org
Detroit, MI -- Earlier this month, Siwatu-Salama Ra, Co-Director of the East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC), was sentenced to two years in prison for defending herself and her young child from an attacker. Siwatu is a member of the Sierra Club family, the daughter of Rhonda Anderson, a Sierra Club organizing manager in Detroit with nearly twenty years experience. Siwatu’s leadership at EMEAC has helped build community power through environmental justice education, youth development, and collaborative relationship building -- and Siwatu has emerged as a national and international environmental justice leader, participating in numerous conferences like COP21 in Paris.
Siwatu is 26, the mother of a 3 year old, and is 7 months pregnant. She came into contact with the criminal justice system because of an incident in which an attacker threatened to strike Siwatu, her three-year-old daughter and her mother with a car. Siwatu showed her legal, permitted, unloaded handgun in an attempt to scare off the attacker, as allowed by Michigan’s Stand Your Ground law. She did not fire the unloaded gun and no one was harmed.
Siwatu was unjustly arrested, tried and convicted of felony gun charges and sentenced to two years in prison. She is now experiencing a high-risk pregnancy in prison, and could be forced to deliver her child while incarcerated.
In response, Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club released the following statement:
“Siwatu-Salama Ra is a powerful and inspiring leader in the Michigan environmental justice community, and a member of the Sierra Club family who has been unjustly incarcerated for defending herself and her family as should be permitted by law. Siwatu has spent her life fighting environmental injustice and pushing back against the big polluters who are violating the law to poison her community. She does this difficult work against the backdrop of a legal system and society that disproportionately oppress people of color, particularly Black women, at every turn. In this case, it does not appear that she is being afforded the protection of the law she deserves, as is all too often the case for women of color dealing with our criminal justice system. Black women are incarcerated at a rate four times higher than white women, and Siwatu’s case is a tragic example of this injustice.
“Her unjust incarceration during a high-risk pregnancy  is just one example of the racism people of color in our country experience every day. Her story underscores the reality that our struggles are all deeply connected - from environmental justice to the fight against racialized oppression in the criminal justice system. That’s why we join the voices across the country urging Siwatu’s sentence be commutated or that she be released on an appeal bond so that she can have a healthy pregnancy, raise her children, and exercise her rights free from injustice as everyone in this country should have the opportunity to do.”

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You can donate to her legal defense fund via You Caring and see FreeSiwatu.org

March 20, 2018

Factory Farm Rush in Michigan Inspires Citizen Activist Training

CAFOs 101 Teaches Communities How to Fight Back

Michigan is experiencing a factory farm rush due to new hog and dairy processing facilities proposed around the state. As a result, plans for at least two new large-scale hog operations that pack thousands animals into warehouses and generate millions of gallons of waste annually have been unveiled for the Montague and Jackson areas in just the last year. These operations, known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), join 272 large-scale livestock facilities already in Michigan.

When these "farms" come into a new community, they typically blindside unsuspecting local residents who have little knowledge of how to fight back. These neighbors end up living in close proximity to an industry known for generating water and air pollution, lowering land values and burdening local communities with road repair and other costs. If you are concerned about this trend in our food system, join us for our citizen activist workshop in May!

WHAT: CAFOs 101, a training to arm Michigan citizens with the knowledge to mobilize against Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and their threat to our Great Lakes, inland bodies of water and public health. You'll learn about the history of CAFOs in Michigan, the regulatory and political context they operate in and how you can help fight back if one comes to your town and how to help us build a network of CAFO Busters across Michigan.

WHEN: Saturday, May 19, 10am-1pm  (includes program and light lunch)

WHERE:  Greater Lansing Housing Coalition, 600 W. Maple St., Lansing

WHO: Sponsored by Sierra Club Michigan, Socially Responsible Agriculture Project, Food and Water Watch, Public Justice, Great Lakes Environmental law Center, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Blue River Law

ADMISSION: Free, but donations accepted by non-profit sponsors

RSVP Required by May 11:  Click here to register. Space is limited.

Questions? Email gail.philbin@sierraclub.org.