Blog

Potential Expansion of Saugatuck Dunes State Park?

Tags: dnr, Dunes, Michigan sand dunes, Saugatuck, state park

Our friends at the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance are hosting a Town Hall meeting to share information on current efforts to expand Saugatuck Dunes State Park.

Local Control Over Oil, Gas, and Mining: Overview and Timeline

Tags: Chelsea, gravel mining, Natural resources, oil and gas, Scio Township, Shelby Township

After strong community opposition and organizing, West Bay Exploration announced last week that they have halted oil drilling in Scio Township.

Hartwick Pines

Tags: Hartwick Pines, oil and gas, public land

The following is a letter written by Professor David Benac of Western Michigan University to Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Keith Creagh. It will be submitted on his behalf by Michigan LCV on September 5th.

Local Traverse City Businesses Meet to Discuss Energy

Tags: business, clean energy, energy efficiency, roundtable, Traverse City

Last week Traverse City business leaders gathered at Northwestern Michigan Community College’s Hagerty Center to discuss clean energy from a local, state and national perspective. This roundtable is just the latest in a series of discussions taking place across the state. The event’s panel consisted of John Sych, planning and development director for Grand Traverse County, Jack Schmitt, Deputy Director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and Gail Parson, Midwest States Advocate for Environmental Entrepreneurs.

Oil Company to Unveil Plan at Shelby Township Meeting

Tags: Macomb County, oil and gas, Shelby Township, West Bay Exploration

West Bay Exploration is set to attend a meeting organized in Shelby Township this Wednesday. At the meeting, representatives from West Bay will explain their actions up until now and discuss the company's plans moving forward.

Progress, but Still Work to be Done on Toxic Chemicals

Tags: PBTs, protecting america's families from toxic chemicals, toxics

Toxic flame retardants are found in most  couches sold in the U.S.

Over this past month, congress brought some of the most toxic chemicals into the national spotlight.

Grand Rapids: Looking Locally at Renewable Energy in Michigan

Tags: clean energy, grand rapids, renewable energy standards

photo: renewable energy Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids has been a leader in Michigan’s race to renewable energy. Since Public Act 295 was passed in 2008, utilities have been rushing to fulfill their obligation to generate at least 10% of their energy supply from renewable sources by 2015. To achieve this goal, utilities have been building wind turbines and solar arrays that supply renewable energy while providing jobs for the communities in which they are manufactured and built. As the push for renewable energy has heated up, we have also seen a significant decrease in its average price.

Emergency Meeting on Drilling in Shelby Township

Tags: Macomb County, oil and gas, Shelby Township, West Bay Exploration

West Bay Exploration is moving forward with another exploratory well in another Michigan community. This time they have their sights set on a parcel at 25 Mile and Dequindre in a nature preserve surrounded by residential neighborhoods. Only a few weeks ago, West Bay Exploration met fierce opposition to its proposed exploratory well in Washtenaw County's Scio Township. Now it's the people of Shelby Township's turn to stand their ground to stop drilling in their backyard.

Energy Roundtable in Marquette

Tags: business, energy, Marquette, Upper Peninsula

When it comes to the topic of energy, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has a different story to tell than most of the rest of the state. The Presque Isle coal power plant sits on the shore of Lake Superior north of Marquette. The power plant, owned by Wisconsin Energy Power Company, is slated to be retired but has been kept running due to concerns about reliable power moving forward.

Progress, but Still Work to be Done on Toxic Chemicals

Tags: PBTs, protecting america's families from toxic chemicals, toxics

Last week, congress brought some of the most toxic chemicals into the national spotlight.

MLCV Toxic Podcast: The Truth About Flame Retardants

Tags: chemicals in commerce act, flame retardants, Great Lakes, Michigan toxics, toxics

photo: flame retardants

Blog and podcast written and produced by MLCV's chemical policy intern, Allison Montambeau

As we’re lying in bed after a long day, the last thing most of us are thinking is the toxic dust coming off our favorite pillow.  Our bedrooms are a place of relaxation and rest, but what if the soft fabrics and mattresses we love are exposing us to dangerous chemicals? Well, as it turns out, they are.

Join us this Saturday: Michigan LCV office opening parties!

Michigan LCV is going big this summer. We are opening new offices and putting boots on the ground to go all in for Michigan's land, air and water and to combat climate change. To officially kick off our powerhouse grassroots campaign we are hosting parties in our new offices and you and all of your friends are invited.

Mark Your Territory in Scio Township

Tags: oil and gas, Scio Township, Washtenaw County, West Bay Exploration

An oil and gas company is asking citizens in Scio Township to sign over their mineral rights in order to drill for oil in Washtenaw County. We have heard from many of our members who ask, "What can we do to stop drilling from happening in my backyard?" The first step: Mark your territory. Just say no to signing a lease for your mineral rights. 

EPA Carbon Rules: Accelerating Michigan's Transition to Clean Energy

Tags: carbon, energy, energy efficiency, Renewable Energy

On June 2nd the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new plan to cut carbon-dioxide emissions from our nation’s power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels. The rules take aim at carbon emissions from the single largest source in the United States –existing power plants. They are an important, common sense step forward in the ongoing effort to address climate change and reduce air pollution

Join us this Sunday: Michigan LCV's Benefit Concert at The Ark

Tags: concert, The Ark

Our friends at the famous Ann Arbor music venue, the Ark, have generously offered to host a Benefit Concert for Michigan LCV on Sunday, June 1st at 7 PM. Will join us to support our work as the non-partisan political voice for Michigan's land, air and water, and to hear some great music? Purchase your tickets before they are gone!

Burning Hazardous Waste And Petcoke Is Not Renewable Energy

What do you think of when you hear the words renewable energy? Perhaps you think about clean energy sources like wind or solar. Odds are, you don’t think about incinerating hazardous waste like petroleum coke (petcoke), a toxic industrial byproduct of the oil refining process. But that is exactly what some Michigan state legislators are currently proposing.

Chemicals in Commerce Act Fails to Impress

Tags: chemicals, chemicals in commerce act, chemicals in commerce act of 2014, Michigan, michigan league of conservation voters, toxics

The way we deal with potentially toxic chemicals in the United States is in need of a major update. Since the Toxic Substances Control Act was passed in 1976, we have been operating under the idea that the chemicals used in our products are innocent until proven guilty. This approach just isn't working.

Nature needs to win: Severe environmental impacts expected if gravel mine comes to Lyndon Township

Tags: Chelsea, gravel mining

By Christine Manninen

If you live in or around Chelsea or regularly visit the area, you have no doubt seen the “Deny the Mine!” signs and t-shirts, which are springing up faster than the tulips this year!

PWIR: The Full Filing Report

Tags: 2014 election, fracking, oil and gas, PWIR

Before we get into the news, everyone mark your calendars for June 1, 2014. The Ark in Ann Arbor has generously offered to host a benefit for Michigan LCV, and the more PWIR readers we can get in the room, the better! The concert will feature singer, songwriter and pianist Vienna Teng, Annie and Rod Capps, and talented guitarist Laith Al-Saadi. Doors will open at 7 PM on that Sunday night, and tickets are available for purchase right now.

Scio Township Calls Forum on Potential Oil Wells

Tags: oil and gas, Scio Township, Washtenaw

This Thursday, Scio Township is hosting a public forum in response to potential oil drilling operations near the intersection of Zeeb Rd and Dexter-Ann Arbor Rd in Washtenaw County. Drilling in this area could lower home values, threaten the health of those living in the community, and contaminate the Huron River. But, due to policy decisions on the state level, local citizens are fighting an uphill battle to stop oil drilling before it starts in their backyards. 

PWIR: Reusing, Recycling, Rebounding

Tags: 2014 election, beneficial reuse, clean energy, fly ash, HGIYG, PWIR, recycling, toxic chemicals, wind energy

In Michigan, fish and freshwater are a package deal. Without one, you don’t have the other. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reported last week that the commercial fishing industry reeled in 3.6 million pounds of fish last year, amounting to $5.53 million in revenue. While still a huge catch, the totals are 150,000 pounds less than fishermen caught in 2012.

WMSBF Hosts Climate Resiliency Series

Tags: Climate, Farming, Sustainability, Transportation

The West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum (WMSBF) is hosting a climate resiliency series, and the more Michigan LCV members in attendance, the better. This exciting series of events will explore a range of topics from farming to healthcare and social services, all through the lense of climate resiliency. Everything you need to know about the series is below, courtesy of the WMSBF.

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PWIR: Fields Narrow on the Campaign Trail

Tags: 2014 election, chesapeake energy, encana, Governor Snyder, NRTF, pipeline safety, PWIR

Did everyone get outside to shake off the winter, enjoy springtime temperatures and soak up the sunny weather this weekend? Chances are, if you visited a park or took a walk on a trail, you were a beneficiary of Michigan’s Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF), which supports outdoor recreation projects from Marquette to Detroit and beyond. Last week, we told you about a proposal in the state legislature to slash NRTF funding by more than half, and now your opportunity to take action is here. Send a letter to your state representative right now. Then, read on for the latest from the campaign trail and more in this week’s Political Week in Review.

New SHOWTIME Series Puts Climate Change on Primetime Television

Tags: Clean Air & Energy, climate change, land, Water

Promotional image for Years of Living Dangerously

The premiere of SHOWTIME's new series opens with Harrison Ford maneuvering a fighter jet through the skies over northern California. But this is not a fictional storyline, and Ford isn’t running down an enemy of the state. He is collecting carbon dioxide samples from the atmosphere as part of a NASA climate study. Welcome to the fast-paced documentary mini-series that is Years of Living Dangerously.

Letter from the Field: The Building of a Movement

Tags: Renewable Energy, take action

Organizing is a slow business. It is a business of miniature holds, tiny toe steps up a steep rock face. Each new step offers a new view of the landscape, a little bit larger view, a more hopeful view. We push forward relying on momentum to drive us and to make us grow. But it easy to forget where we are and how far we have come.

PWIR: Top of the Ticket

Tags: 2014 election, First Friday, gravel mining, Great Lakes, NRTF, oil spill, PWIR

Ann Arbor rolled out the red carpet and the reubens to welcome President Obama to Michigan last week. Though the Great Lakes and conservation issues were not at the top of the agenda, the President’s visit to University of Michigan to push for raising the minimum wage (and his sandwich order at Ann Arbor’s legendary Zingerman’s Deli) made a splash last Wednesday. Who’s who of Southeast Michigan were in attendance to shake hands with the Commander in Chief, including current Congressmen John Conyers (D – Detroit) and LCV Action Fund endorsed Gary Peters (D – Bloomfield Township). Congressional hopeful Debbie Dingell (D – Dearborn) was also in the house, as was Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer, who had big news himself to announce the next day. The President’s address was heavy-handed on Michigan pride, tracing the lineage of a strong minimum wage to Henry Ford and connecting current pressure for policy change to local working wage leaders like the reuben kings at Zingerman’s Deli.

PWIR: Code Red for Critical Sand Dunes

Tags: 2014 election, 8th congressional district, Critical Dunes, Mitten Madness, PWIR, Rogers, sand dunes, Saugatuck, sulfide mining

We have a winner, folks! The 2014 Mitten Madness Champion is here. Michigan’s sand dunes fans came out in force and put the full court press on stiff competition. As a result of a few notable breakaways an unbelievable slam dunk, the Saugatuck Dunes took home the title this year. Congratulations to the dunes, and to all of our contenders who will mutually benefit from your generous donations for the protection of all of Michigan’s most treasured, most threatened places. Given developments we cover below about a devastating decision from the Michigan DEQ in favor of developing the dunes, your support could not have come at a more needed time. Thank you for an incredible tournament season that successfully supercharged our work to stand up for Michigan’s land, air, and water and elect conservation-minded people to office.

PWIR: The News is in the Numbers

Tags: 2014 election, budget, chesapeake energy, collusion, dnr, encana, Gary Peters, Governor Snyder, gubernatorial race, LCV, Mark Schauer, NRTF, polling, PWIR

Millions missing from a budget for natural resources, polling percentages filling out the campaign season scoop, and your opportunity to triple your impact --- this week, the news is in the numbers. First things first, we tipped off our Triple Match Mitten Madness tournament here at Michigan LCV! We are shining the spotlight on eight exemplary natural places across the state that are sitting on shaky ground due to oil slicks, drilling, mining or looming development. Here’s the thing: every dollar donated to better protect our bracket of contenders will be TRIPLED. PWIR readers, you have one more week to get in on the action, and time is ticking. Cast your vote for the choice location you want to take home the 2014 Mitten Madness Championship. Along with the title, the winning place will earn a legislative visit and a portion of the proceeds put toward an on-the-ground conservation project. Your contribution is a full court press for protection! Donate now to triple your impact.

Kalamazoo Environmental Council Brings Elected Officials and Citizens Togther

Tags: environment, Kalamazoo, legislative breakfast

photo: Kzoo Nature Center

This March the Kalamazoo Environmental Council (KEC) held their annual Legislative Breakfast. For over ten years, KEC has been bringing together state and federal elected officials with the public for an informal breakfast followed by an hour and half of Q&A. This year’s event was held at the Kalamazoo Nature Center and was filled with questions focusing on a changing climate, Great Lakes health, and Michigan’s future in clean energy.

Report from the UP: Eagle Mine Permit Changes Would Put Clean Water On the Line

Tags: DEQ, Eagle Mine, mercury, sulfide mining, water quality

The following is a report from Michigan LCV member, and Marquette resident, Adam Robarge, who attended an informational session about proposed changes to a groundwater permit that would allow the Eagle Mine Project, a sulfide mining operation near Marquette and Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula, to emit more toxic chemicals into neighboring waterways. A public hearing about the proposed permit changes is scheduled for next Tuesday, March 25th in Ishpeming. Read on for more information about how to take action, and take a stand against dangerous mining practices by supporting the Upper Peninsula in Michigan LCV’s Mitten Madness tournament!

Give Toxics the Boot (and Throw in the Couch Too)...

Tags: chemicals, college-themed products, toxics

photo: give toxics the boot

As the real March madness gets underway, Michigan LCV is supporting our friends at HealthyStuff.org as they take on “March Badness”: the Tournament for the "Most Toxic Product" award.

See video

The Best Hits of Michigan LCV's Rapid Responders

Tags: Rapid Responders

Protecting Michigan’s land, air, and water is an undertaking that requires the work of many individuals playing a variety of roles. While we can’t all work in the field with our hands to restore habitats and clean up waterways, we can take action in so many other ways. One of them: Become a Rapid Responder. The Michigan LCV Rapid Responder team is a network of volunteers who use social media to share opportunities for action on the most pressing political, environmental issues facing our state. 

Your Guide to Triple Match Mitten Madness:

Tags: land, Mitten Madness, Water

This March, Michigan LCV is highlighting eight places in the Great Lakes State that deserve our undivided attention. Thanks to unsound decisions on the part of elected officials, some of Michigan’s most pristine places are facing threats that could cause irreversible damage. Each place listed in Michigan LCV’s Mitten Madness bracket is in danger due to votes or decisions that put sweeping sand dunes, world-class trout streams, and the quality of our state’s freshwater on the chopping block. Sound like madness? It is. But here's your chance to turn around the doom and gloom...

What Michigan Can Learn From California About Water Protection

The water crisis in California is one of historic magnitude: 2013 was the driest year on record, and so far 2014 is not looking much better. Water shortage is threatening access to drinking water, driving up the cost of food, and increasing the risk of fire in many counties. In recognition of the seriousness of the issue, Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency, and CA lawmakers passed a $687 million drought-relief plan to address the emergency.

PWIR: The Pure Michigan Difference

Tags: 2014 election, budget, clean energy, DEQ, dnr, gravel mining, Lyndon Township, PWIR

Frequent readers will remember our recent call to restore funding for core Great Lakes programs after President Obama proposed a budget that cut $25 million from critical water quality programs, was echoed in an editorial from the Detroit Free Press last week. In addition to this week’s Political Week in Review, the piece should be required reading for all holders of the purse for Great Lakes funding. The Free Press hits the nail on the head by saying, “The Great Lakes are this region’s most significant environmental treasure and priority, and they’re in trouble. If ever there were a time to maintain or boost preservation efforts, it would be now.” Exactly. 

Preserving Farmland: The Community Garden Connection

Tags: farmland, farmland preservation, local food, West Michigan

Community garden members make it clear that you don’t have to own a farm, live in the country or have a job in agriculture to appreciate and understand the vital role that our local farmers and their farmland play in our regional food system. Some say that those who tend their own gardens have a special connection with the farmer and his farmland; a connection that is rooted in the process of growing and providing the food that sustains us. Like our farmers, members gain a sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment in planting, reaping and sharing their crops.

PWIR: Oil, Water, and Algae Don't Mix

Tags: algae, chesapeake energy, encana, Great Lakes, pipeline safety, PWIR, Straits of Mackinac, water quality

Until last week, it had been five years since Congress had voted to designate a single acre for protection under the Wilderness Act. But, we are proud to report that Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes was the tipping point that changed the congressional course. Thanks to approval from the US House and Senate, a bill now sits on President Obama’s desk that would officially designate 32,500 acres of the legendary lakeshore as wilderness. The designation preserves public access points, and it prevents any further development down the line. President Obama is expected to sign the bill, and when he does, Sleeping Bear will have the gold standard in land protections and a new tagline: officially wild.

Mercury Rising: Enjoying Fish Without the Risk

Tags: mercury, mercury pollution, water quality

Check out the following infographic about how to enjoy fish and leave mercury poisoning by the wayside.

Lyndon Township Residents Fight Proposed Salt and Gravel Mine

Tags: Chelsea, land, Natural resources, Water

Just north of Chelsea, in the rural community of Lyndon Township, a battle is raging over a proposed sand and gravel mine that would drastically alter the character of the community and deeply impact the environment. This issue is a prime example of how decisions by Michigan’s elected officials at the state level impact local communities’ ability to protect their natural resources. 

Michigan LCV Brings Great Lakes to Washington D.C.

Tags: GLRI, Great Lakes, Washington D.C., water quality

photo: HOW Lobby day

Michigan LCV's Alicia Prygoski (Legislative and Political Assistant) and Erica Bloom (Program Manager), traveled to Washington D.C. this week to join other Great Lakes advocates for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition annual lobby day.

Our Members Call For an Asian Carp Action Plan

Tags: asian carp, fishing, Great Lakes, water quality

Recently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a report outlining eight potential invasive species management strategies to protect the Great Lakes. The strategies ranged from not doing much at all to completely separating waterways. While the report was informative, it did not make a recommendation about next steps to turn analysis into action. Now that the USACE is taking public comment on the report, Michigan LCV members are putting on the pressure to stop Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species for good. With over 300 submissions so far, we cannot list all of the comments, but here are a few of the stand out submissions we have received from concerned citizens like you.

Mayor Heartwell on Faith, Sustainability, and Leadership in a Challenging Political Climate

Tags: grand rapids, Mayor Heartwell, resiliency, sustainable city

Since George Heartwell took office as Mayor of Grand Rapids twelve years ago, the city has been on a fast track toward becoming one of the most sustainable cities in the country. The list of sustainability awards received by the city of Grand Rapids is impressive and Mayor Heartwell’s work is not slowing down. How does he do it, and what can other cities in Michigan learn from Grand Rapids? I sat down with the Mayor to find out.

PWIR: Bring On the Year of Water

Tags: 2014 election, asian carp, DEQ, dnr, invasive species, petcoke, PWIR, water quality

Sound the trumpet and ring the bell, Michigan LCV is debuting a brand new accountability tool that we think our PWIR readers will especially appreciate. Say hello to the Bill Tracker – your portal to keep a steady pulse on the status and stance on bills you read about here and in the news. The Bill Tracker is specific to natural resources legislation in play in Lansing, and it directly connects to Michigan LCV’s Environmental Scorecard. Add it all together, and you get a comprehensive, timely look at the status of bills in Lansing, from the moment they are introduced to when they are signed into law to how your state legislators end up voting on them. PWIR readers, this is your resource --- get out your bookmark button and count Michigan LCV’s Bill Tracker as your go-to resource for the latest on natural resources legislation.

Why Politics Matters: Preserving and Protecting Michigan’s Glorious World Class Waterways

Tags: accountability, elections, fracking, water quality

As the Executive Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, I frequently get asked, “What brought you to this line of work?” My answer is two fold: (1) educating our decision-makers about critical environmental challenges in our state is extraordinarily important, especially in an era of term limits, and (2) whom we elect to office at the local, state and national level is paramount to the protection of our Great Lakes and Michigan’s world class waterways.

PWIR: Dean of Congress, Champion of Conservation

Tags: climate change, gravel mining, invasive species, land cap, public land, PWIR, town hall meetings

Commitments that last 60 years can be called constants, and Congressmen who constantly lead on environmental issues for that long can be called conservation champions. All of the above apply to Congressman John Dingell (D – Dearborn), who announced his retirement from the US House of Representatives today. Congressman Dingell’s leadership in Congress yielded monumental environmental protection legislation such as the National Environmental Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act as well as the establishment of conservation landmarks such as the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. Congressman Dingell’s legacy shines as the gold standard goal for elected officials to rally bipartisan support for policy that values and better protects Michigan's natural resources. He will be sorely missed.

Redefining the Beauty of Windmills

Tags: energy, Renewable Energy, Wind, wind power, windmill

One of the common arguments I hear against wind power is that windmills ruin the look of a landscape. Apparently, to some, the tall white towers and huge spinning blades are eyesores amongst the rolling green hills and sprawling farmland of our state. The windmills are big, that is true. The blades can be as long as 50 meters. And, often windmills do not sit alone but in herds of towers in diagonal lines across the land.

Mayor Heartwell Visits Ann Arbor

Tags: agriculture, Clean Air & Energy, Climate, Great Lakes, toxics, Transportation, Water

[head shot, George Heartwell]

Speaking at a special presentation of the University of Michigan Law School’s environmental law and policy program on Tuesday, Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell challenged the audience to consider the ethical obligation to address climate change.

“Simply living in the world today has an impact on climate,” said Mayor Heartwell. “We have to acknowledge that we are part of the problem...we have to do what we can within our own sphere of influence to mitigate the damage.”

PWIR: Score Report

Tags: fishing, LCV Scorecard, pet coke, PWIR, Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy Standard, Scorecard, water quality

Before we get into the news from last week, two events happening today should go on your radar. First, the Lyndon Township Planning Commission will hold a public hearing tonight to discuss an application to create a massive gravel mining operation just north of quaint Chelsea, Michigan. Detrimental policy enacted at the state level suggests that the Township should approve the permit application if the mining company can demonstrate that any level of economic benefit will come from the mine. We need your help to tell the Township that this project will have damaging environmental impacts: 7 PM, Sylvan Township Hall (18027 Old US 12, Chelsea). Second, if you are in Traverse City, join us at a town hall meeting to discuss public land policy in Michigan, tonight 7 PM at the Acme Township Hall. We are co-sponsoring with the Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) and State Representative Wayne Schmidt (R - Traverse City), and we look forward to seeing you there. 

Invasive Species Profiles: Get to Know the Mute Swan

Tags: Great Lakes, invasive species, management, wildlife

Mute Swan

Many invasive species are quickly moving from mere pests to menacing populations we have got to get under control --- for the health of our clean water, forests and ecosystems. Asian carp typically play a starring role in the invasive species line up, due to their voracious appetites, scary size and potentially devastating impact to the Great Lakes. But, there are plenty of other culprits out there that we should have on our radar. In an effort to “know thy enemy,” Colin Hoogerwerf provides us with profiles of invasive species who just cannot get enough of the Great Lakes State.

Results are In: Michigan's Performance on National LCV's 2013 Environmental Scorecard

Tags: accountability, LCV Scorecard, Michigan, US House of Representatives, US Senate

The National League of Conservation Voters (LCV) released their 2013 Environmental Scorecard on Tuesday, and Michigan's legislators earned mixed reviews for their commitment to conservation, public health, water and energy issues.  

PWIR: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Tags: budget, Critical Dunes, Dunes, Farm Bill, ice cover, Natural resources, pet coke, Petroleum Coke, PWIR

We have word from the Upper Peninsula --- the ice bridge across Lake Superior, connecting Canada to Isle Royale, has been formed for the first time since 2008. The question now becomes whether the wolves will take advantage of the Great Lakes becoming passable, and make their way from the mainland over to Isle Royale. 

Town Hall in Traverse City: Michigan's Public Land

Representative Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City), Michigan United Conservation Clubs and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters are hosting a public land town hall meeting on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:00pm at the Acme Township Hall.

Obama Signs Conservation-minded Farm Bill

Today, President Obama will sign the 2014 Farm Bill at Michigan State University, the nation’s original agricultural college. This innovative bill is made up of smart policy that links the needs of the nation’s farmers with the importance of environmental conservation, and increased access to locally-sourced healthy food systems.

Change Makers: Politics, the Environment and Women Who Work in Both

Tags: leadership, Politics, women

photo: women and enviro

Recently I was asked to sit on a panel for the upcoming Women and Environment Conference through the West Michigan Environmental Action Council in Grand Rapids. For someone like me who loves discussing the intersection of gender and the environment, the offer was a real treat. But I took pause when I considered how my work with the Michigan League of Conservation Voters was relevant to this topic. Yes, I’m a woman. I work on behalf of the environment. I work with other women.

Budget Surplus is Opportunity to Invest in Natural Resources

Tags: budget, DEQ, dnr, Natural resources

On Wednesday, Governor Snyder will announce his proposed budget for the 2014 -2015 fiscal year, including plans to for the estimated $971 million budget surplus the state will see over the next three years.

Deep Freeze on the Great Lakes

Tags: Great Lakes, ice, ice cover, winter

A couple of winters ago, I made my way out to a small beach on Lake Michigan. It was a few days after New Years Eve. I climbed the long wooden stairs up the back side of the dune and came down the front. The lake was calm except for a few small waves rolling up and down the hard packed sand. I rolled up my pant legs and waded in up to my knees.

The water was cold, but not unbearable, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to step into Lake Michigan in January. This year, the scene was much different.

PWIR: Forward Progress

Tags: budget, clean energy, climate change, Farm Bill, Natural Resources Trust Fund, NRTF, PWIR, State of the Union

Part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes could upgrade its national lakeshore status if Congress approves a bill that would designate 32,500 acres within the park as "wilderness," which is the highest level of conservation protection for federal land. The bill would safeguard the public access points and historical structures already in existence, and prevent man-made changes to the landscape down the line.

Join Rapid Responders: Tell Gov. Snyder to Invest in Natural Resources

Tags: budget, Clean Air & Energy, Great Lakes, land, toxics, Water

Michigan has a budget surplus of $971 million over the next three years at its disposal. On Wednesday, Governor Snyder will announce an outline of his proposed budget for the state.

Click here to join our Rapid Responders team as they take to social media to hold the Governor to his pledges to invest in invasive species management, and tell him investments in Michigan's natural resources yield big returns.

What You Need to Know About Radon

Tags: radon

Guest writer Dr. Stewart Knoepp is a clinical pathologist committed to spreading awareness about the dangers of radon exsposure and what citizens can do about it.

In January of 2010, my family discovered news that amounted to a triple shock:

The Cap and Plan for Michigan's Public Land

Tags: dnr, land cap, Michigan, Natural resources, public land

In 2012, the Michigan legislature passed the land cap bill, issuing arbitrary limits on the amount of public land the state could legally acquire and allowing Michigan’s land use to be guided by an amount of acreage that was thought up by state legislators, and not backed up by land management principles or science.

PWIR: 177 Years of Great Lakes, Great Times

Tags: asian carp, energy efficiency, land cap, land cap bill, pathogens, public land, PWIR, water quality

Put on your party hats, readers! Michigan turned 177 years young over the weekend, and in spite of threats to critical sand dunes and Great Lakes water quality that are looming, our state is looking good. Michigan’s birthday is a marker of our work together to protect the same shoreline, the same inland lakes, rivers and streams, and the same forests that were on the map in year one.

PWIR: No Wait State for Clean Energy

Tags: clean energy, Great Lakes, PWIR, SOTS, water quality

“Now you can get out there and catch something or shoot something and have a great time.” That was Governor Snyder’s plug for updates to Michigan’s hunting and fishing licenses during his State of the State address last week. This quote sent the tweet-meter off the Richter scale, and put Michigan’s great outdoors front and center. The State of the State address was a bit of a natural resources roller coaster --- some ups, one big down and certain confirmation that we have a lot of work to do on behalf of Michigan’s land, air and water in 2014.

Speak Up, Stop the Carp

Tags: asian carp, water quality

A recent report released by the Army Corps of Engineers estimates that it will take 25 years to completely separate the Great Lakes from Asian carp infested waterways. The Corps’ report presents a range of options for managing carp populations with the health of the Great Lakes in mind, but it does not provide a recommendation or actionable step to move forward. 

Michigan LCV's Guide to the SOTS

Tags: clean energy, Governor Snyder, Lansing, SOTS

Governor Snyder will be delivering his fourth State of the State address tomorrow evening at 7 PM. We will be listening for leadership on our top priorities: clean energy, and protections for Michigan's water and public land. Will you join us?

PWIR: What's New

Tags: asian carp, Critical Dunes, Dunes, Governor Snyder, Michigan Legislature, PWIR

Happy New Year, readers! Last week’s polar vortex took the Political Week in Review (PWIR) by storm and shook up its byline. Jack Schmitt may be frozen out from your inbox, but he passed the torch to me --- Katie Sulau, Communications Manager for Michigan LCV. I’m taking the reins and looking forward to leaving you chock-full of all the natural resources news that is fit to print. Let’s get started.

State of the State Address--A Chance to Reflect on our 2013 Progress

Tags: environmental, fracking, Great Michigan, land, Michigan, progress, Renewable Energy

photo: Great Michigan Voting Meeting

What a year 2013 was for the Great Michigan priorities! But with a new year comes a new set of goals that Governor Snyder will lay out in his State of the State Address on January 16th at 7:00 pm.

Political Year in Review: Best of 2013

Tags: asian carp, clean energy, conservation officers, Dunes, energy, petcoke, PWIR

It's the most wonderful time of the year --- 2013 countdown lists are here! From all of the highlights below, 2013 could be declared the year of land, air and water. We have our work cut out for us in 2014, but for now, let's reflect on what we accomplished together. Welcome to the year-in-review edition of Michigan LCV's regular political update, the Political Week in Review.

Public Health, Clean Energy are Centerpieces of Moms Clean Air Force Luncheon

Tags: air pollution, air quality, clean energy, energy, MCAF

“You know me as a state legislator, but today I am here as a mom.” These opening words from Representative Rashida Tlaib (D - Detroit) set the tone for a legislative luncheon on December 4th sponsored by Moms Clean Air Force Michigan (MCAF) at the State Capitol in Lansing. Fifty-three representatives of Michigan's legislature were in attendance to hear about the positive impacts renewable energy and energy efficiency have on air quality and public health.

The Greenest Pope

Tags: catholocism, conservation, conservative, environment, faith, Pope Francis

I confess (I’m Catholic, it’s required) that when Pope Benedict XVI announced his abdication in late 2012, I was deeply saddened. This man had earned the title of “the Green Pope”, but his views on creation care had not yet reached the masses in the pews. There was so much more to do.

PWIR: Lines in the Water

Tags: belle isle, detroit, enbridge, encana, fracking, Great Michigan, pipeline safety, PWIR, Straits of Mackinac, West Michigan

Newsflash everybody! Before you book your trip to Yosemite, Las Vegas or Hawaii, make sure you hop on over to Grand Rapids first. Last week, The Huffington Post rated West Michigan’s bright, bustling urban core, and the white sandy beaches to the West, as the number one place to visit in 2014. Did you hear that? Number one in America.

Holland Residents Discuss Environmental Priorities at Town Hall

Tags: Dunes, energy, fracking, Great Michigan, Holland, lands

photo: panelists

Holland residents braved the winter weather on Tuesday night to gather at the Herrick District Library to discuss Michigan’s top environmental priorities.

PWIR: Focus on Freshwater

Tags: 2014 election, clean energy, energy efficiency, fracking, HGIYG, How Green Is Your Governor?, hunting, PWIR

On Friday, Michigan LCV's Lisa Wozniak and WEMU’s Morning Edition host David Fair struck up an Asian carp conversation with freshwater expert Tim Eder, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Commission. It aired as December’s “First Friday Focus on the Environment" show, and if you missed it, you can click here to stream the broadcast. The three discuss the threat of Asian carp to the Great Lakes, and viable solutions to keep them out of Michigan’s waterways. News from the rest of the week in today’s edition of the Political Week in Review...

What Does Faith Have To Do With Energy Efficiency?

Tags: clean energy, energy efficiency, faith, house of worship, panel

Last Thursday evening, Michigan LCV brought individuals from across West Michigan together at LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church to discuss energy efficiency from a faith perspective. Julie Lyons Bricker, panelist at the event and Director of Michigan Interfaith Power & Light pointed out that a large portion of the energy consumed in the United States is due to heating, cooling and lighting buildings.

Pick Up the Phone for Safer Chemicals

Tags: chemicals, CSIA, safer chemicals, toxic chemicals, toxics

Today is a National Day of Action for safer chemicals. Thousands of people from across the country will be calling Congress to ask for real reform on our toxic chemicals law. Will you join Michigan LCV, and call Michigan Senators Stabenow and Levin today?

Q&A: Asian Carp

Tags: asian carp, Obama Asian Carp Plan, Water

In advance of Lisa Wozniak's conversation with Tim Eder, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Commission, about Asian carp in the Great Lakes, we asked our members to submit their questions about a potential onslaught of big fish in Michigan’s big lakes, and what that means for life in the Great Lakes State.

Three Lessons Learned from Michigan’s Energy Efficiency Industry

Tags: business, clean energy, Ecotelligent Homes, energy efficiency

When I started Ecotelligent Homes in 2009 I wanted to combine my mechanical engineering background with my passion for environmental stewardship to conduct residential energy audits and help homeowners improve their energy efficiency. I was not thinking of becoming a contractor, I was not thinking of ever working in the commercial sector, and I most certainly was not thinking of becoming involved in state policy issues.

PWIR: We're Number Four

Tags: air quality, asian carp, clean air, clean energy, Clean Energy Jobs, farmland preservation, PWIR

Good news for the Great Lakes: water levels are on the rebound. Last week, scientists confirmed that all five lakes are significantly higher now than they were last year at this time. Freshwater fans should take that news with a grain of salt, mostly because last year’s lake levels were the lowest they had ever been since they were first recorded in 1918.

"Great Michigan" Traveling Town Hall Heads to Holland

Tags: Dunes, energy, fracking, Holland, league of women voters

photo: Holland

On December 10th Michigan LCV will take our "Great Michigan" Town Hall road show to West Michigan. You may remember we partnered with State Representative Sarah Roberts in St. Clair Shores last September (click here for a recap) and now we're headed to Holland for a West Michigan perspective.

Preserving Farmland: One Farm Share Box at a Time

Tags: CSA, farmers markets, farmland, farmland preservation, local food, West Michigan

Chances are you’ve never heard anyone say that farming is easy. And that’s for good reason - because there isn’t much that’s easy about it. Yet, our West Michigan community has the good fortune to be home to a growing mix of like-minded individuals who are deliberately choosing to do just that. Their approach to farming is commonly referred to as “community supported agriculture” (CSA).

PWIR: Moose Days are the New Dog Days

Tags: belle isle, clean energy, climate change, detroit, energy efficiency, PWIR

This week, we have news on big game. Not big basketball games (like Michigan State’s win over Kentucky – Go Green!), or big football games (like University of Michigan’s triple overtime, close call victory over Northwestern). We are talking moose, deer and elk for a few reasons. First, deer are on the docket as of last Friday when hunting season opened up on the 8 million acres of public hunting land that stretches from the Upper Peninsula to downstate. Second, we have further intel on earlier inklings that climate change is killing off moose, elk and deer in Michigan. Welcome to the big game edition of the Political Week in Review. We are just getting started.

New Access Point for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge

Tags: conservation, detroit, Detroit River, Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, wildlife

Most people are surprised to hear that the only international wildlife refuge in the country is located in Michigan. Then, they are even more surprised to hear that it is in Detroit. But, after a groundbreaking ceremony last week, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge (DRIWR) is on its way to having a brand new accommodations for school groups and visitors to see for themselves the 48 miles of restored, protected land that stretches along the Detroit River.

PWIR: Driving Turnout to Preserve Farmland

Tags: clean energy, climate change, elections, farmland, farmland preservation, michigan elections, PWIR, Renewable Energy

The New York City Park Service ramped up their Monument Conservation Program in time to honor Veteran’s Day today. Park conservators took brushes and cloths to weathered monuments that honor men and women who have served and cleaned them up just in time for today’s day of remembrance. The Citywide Monument Conservation Program is unique to New York City, but a reminder that there are more to parks than open spaces, and all of the pieces require care. We join these conservators and Michiganders across the state in recognizing and thanking members of the armed forces, past and present, for their sacrifice today. 

Michigan LCV Testifies Before Full House at Kent County Farmland Preservation Hearing

Tags: agriculture, farmland preservation, Kent County, Kent County Commission

The Kent County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing for input on the fate of the area's Farmland Preservation Program today, and it was a standing room only affair. Patty Birkholz, Michigan LCV's West Michigan Director, testified in support of the program, and Michigan LCV's members turned out in full force to support sustained funding for preserving farmland.

Submit Your Comment for Lower Energy Costs

Tags: clean energy, energy, energy efficiency

A report released by Governor Snyder's administration shows that Michigan's energy efficiency standard is saving homeowners and businesses millions, and that utility companies are on track to surpass our state's efficiency goals. Tell Governor Snyder to lower our energy costs.

PWIR: Setting the Standard

Tags: clean energy, energy efficiency, fracking, Innovation in Conservation, PWIR, safer chemicals, toxics

Michigan’s moose population is the cause of concern after numbers out of the Upper Peninsula show the population growth has slowed to 2% from 10% in 2007. Why? Most likely, it’s warmer temperatures. Researchers suggest that warm weather could be egging on insects like the pine bark beetle, which decimates the trees that moose hide behind to protect themselves from predators. Climate change is blowing moose’s cover. That’s not cool.

Michigan Coalition Brings Push For Safer Chemicals To Washington DC

Tags: chemicals, CSIA, safer chemicals, toxics

In the wake of the government shutdown, environmental health advocates from Michigan are anything but shut down on fighting for  safer chemicals. Next Tuesday, October 29th, seven Michigan women will head to Washington D.C. for the annual Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Stroller Brigade and Lobby Day. The women will join hundreds of other citizen advocates from around the country to demonstrate their support for reforming our nation's outdated chemicaly safety law.

See video

PWIR: The Detroit News

Tags: belle isle, clean energy, climate change, detroit, EPA, Greenhouse Gas, Innovation in Conservation, PWIR, Renewable Energy

Michigan LCV’s Southeast Michigan office is issuing a change of address. As of last Friday, we are settled in our new, bright and sunny office space. Well, settled in might be pushing it, but we are feeling right at home even if there are a few extra boxes and cords decorating the space.

West Michigan Weighs In On Fracking

Tags: fracking, water quality, West Michigan

Community members from Saugatuck and beyond gathered at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts for an open discussion about hydraulic fracturing and what it means to West Michigan last Thursday. Patty Birkholz, Michigan LCV's West Michigan Director, spoke on the panel, and fielded questions from concerned citizens.

Belle Isle State Park: Access v. Investment

Tags: belle isle, detroit, Michigan, state park

Update: On November 12th, the Emergency Loan Board approved a 30-year lease agreement between the State of Michigan and the City of Detroit. As of that date, a 90-day transition period took effect, and Belle Isle is on its way to becoming Michigan's next state park. More on how we got to this point from a October 18th post below: 



Earlier this month, the city of Detroit and the state signed a 30-year lease agreement that would turn Belle Isle into a state park and allocate up to $20 million dollars toward park improvements in the first three years. The Detroit City Council rejected the agreement, and countered with a shorter-term offer. It is almost certain that Belle Isle will become a state park once the back-and-forth materializes into a final agreement, but public sentiment about the decision can be summed up in two words heard quite often about dynamics in Detroit --- it’s complicated.

Big Week For Michigan Bicycling: LMB Priorities Coasting Through House

Tags: biking, cycling, Great Michigan, League of Michigan Bicyclists, roadway safety

The League of Michigan Bicyclists (LMB) saw major progress on two priority bills at the State Capitol this week. The Great Michigan group, and statewide organization, works to improve conditions for bicycling all over the state, and they are here to share the good news.

PWIR: Setting The Record Straight

Tags: 2014 election, clean energy, conservation officers, elections, energy efficiency, fracking, licenses, public land, PWIR, Renewable Energy, water quality

Before we get into last week’s review, a heads up about the week ahead --- the deadline for public comment on Governor Snyder’s renewable energy report is on Wednesday. We are getting the word out via social media, and we need you to get on board. Click here to join our shared social media message. Then, read on for the news from this week.

Homeowner Says Energy Efficiency Pays With Every Flick Of The Switch

Tags: clean energy, energy efficiency

The cleanest energy is the energy we do not use. Efficiency is the first resource Michigan should turn to in order to increase the amount of energy we draw from clean sources. The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) estimates a cumulative customer benefit of more than $2.5 billion from 2011 through 2015 due to investments in energy efficiency. The MPSC also reported that for every $1 used for energy optimization, consumers see a return of $3.55 in avoided energy costs.

Big Climate Challenges: McKibben in Kalamazoo

Tags: climate change

Bill McKibben spoke to a packed auditorium last Thursday on the campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His speech was titled “Notes From the Front Lines of the Climate Fight.”

Conservation Groups Weigh In On Delays To Tougher Air Emissions Standards

Tags: air pollution, air quality, Clean Air Act, mercury emissions, moms clean air force

Today, the Michigan chapter of Moms Clean Air Force convened a press conference to get the word out about delays in implementation of tougher air emission standards, and the detrimental effects on the environment and public health.

Response From An Expert: Anti-Energy Efficiency Testimony Falls Flat

Tags: clean energy, energy, energy efficiency, energy policy

The Michigan House Energy and Technology Committee held a hearing on Tuesday, where they invited the Heritage Foundation to testify in opposition to Michigan's Energy Optimization program. 

PWIR: Onward

Tags: belle isle, clean energy, energy efficiency, Farm Bill, farmers, FERC, PWIR, state park

Our weekly wrap up comes at the end of a politically charged week in Washington DC. Of all of the colorful quotes that lined the news this week regarding the unfortunate federal government shutdown, perhaps the longest serving member of Congress, and Michigan Representative John Dingell said it best: “The American people would get better government out of Monkey Island at the local zoo than we’re giving them today.” The shutdown is costing Michigan $18 million per day, but it does not have all progress stopped here. What did move forward this week? Read this week’s edition of the Political Week in Review to find out…

Belle Isle State Park: What Do You Think?

Tags: detroit, Detroit River, state land

Yesterday, a lease agreement was finalized between the state and the city of Detroit to turn Belle Isle into a state park. Now, it goes to Detroit City Council for approval. Between $10 and $20 million in investments are expected in the first three years to upgrade the 985-acre island in the Detroit River. We want to know what you think of the news. Take our poll, and share with your friends.

Join Us: Unacceptable Levels at the Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor

Tags: chemical policy, safer chemicals, toxic chemicals, toxics

Join Michigan LCV and Moms Clean Air Force (MCAF)at a special screening of Unacceptable Levels, a documentary about the thousands of chemicals in everyday products, at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor on October 16th, 7 PM. Click here to purchase your ticket. 

PWIR: Ramping Up For More Renewables

Tags: clean energy, EPA, epa carbon rules, How Green Is Your Governor?, national security, PWIR, Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy Standard

Michigan has more than 12,000 miles of recreational trails, 2,623 miles of rail trails (the most in the country!), 1,402 miles of water trails along the Great Lakes, 1,150 miles of North Country Scenic Trail, and 905 miles of bike trails. It is Michigan Trails Week, and clearly there are thousands of reasons to celebrate. 

Preserving Farmland: Restaurant Week Grand Rapids and Beyond

Tags: chefs, farmers, farmland, farmland preservation, grand rapids, restaurants, West Michigan

For a few scrumptious days each summer, farm-to-table dining becomes one of the premiere community-wide events in West Michigan. That’s when Restaurant Week Grand Rapids shines the spotlight directly on our chefs and restaurateurs who bring us the best from the fields to their tables! These chefs and restaurateurs make it clear that farm-to-table dining doesn’t just happen. They remind us that it is built on relationships that are cultivated in the rich agricultural land around our region and nurtured on our local farms. 

House Party Adds Voices To Renewable Energy Conversation

Tags: clean energy, grand rapids, Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy Standard, West Michigan

On Tuesday evening, Michigan League of Conservation Voters invited the community to their Grand Rapids office for a conversation about renewable energy and energy efficiency in conjunction with the renewable energy report released on Friday, September 20th.

Mark Your Calendars: EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Visits Ann Arbor

Tags: ann arbor, environment, EPA

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is coming to Ann Arbor next week as the keynote speaker for University of Michigan Law School's Environmental Law and Policy Conference. The event is free and open to the public. Visit our Facebook page to share the flyer with your friends. 

Regulatory Agency Stalls on Chemicals, Corporate Giant Steps Up

Tags: Michigan chemicals, toxic chemicals, TSCA, Walmart chemicals

photo: walmart

What if you lived in a country where the federal agency responsible for protecting the environment from toxic chemical contamination wasn’t even allowed to create a list of chemicals that caused the most harm, let alone regulate these chemicals?

Would you believe it if I told you that country was the United States?

Welcome to West Michigan's Clean Energy Economy

Tags: clean energy, Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy Standard, West Michigan

I’m writing today from my desk overlooking still-sunny Monroe Center Street at the Grand Rapids office of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. It is my third week working for Michigan LCV. And while I am still becoming familiar with the office coffee etiquette, downtown Grand Rapids parking options, and the workings of the office telephone system, I am already deeply embedded into the culture of West Michigan from growing up within earshot of Lake Michigan.

Big Splash Movie Event

Tags: Clinton River, Green Fire, Macomb water

Photo: Green Fire Movie

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters is sponsoring the movie Green Fire with Clinton River Watershed Council, Macomb County, Six Rivers Land Conservancy, and Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry. 

$19.7 Million For Natural Resources

Tags: 2014 election, clean energy, conservation officers, elections, fishing, Great Michigan, hunting, PWIR, Renewable Energy Standard

It’s not every day that we get to celebrate a big win for the Great Lakes State, but on Tuesday, we did. Governor Snyder put his signature on legislation that makes big investments in natural resources – one that you have been hearing from us on since last spring. 

Success

Tags: conservation, conservation officers, fishing, HB 4668, hunting, licenses, public land

In the midst of a hyper-partisan legislature and tight state budgets, it is not every day that we get to celebrate a victory for Michigan's natural resources. Yesterday, we did. 

What's the Problem With the Detroit Incinerator?

Tags: air pollution, clean air, Clean Air Act, incinerator, MCAF

Wibke Heymach is the State Field Manager for Moms Clean Air Force in Michigan, and she was panelist at a community meeting to address the Detroit Incinerator on Tuesday. Zero Waste Detroit hosted the event. Read Wibke's statement on how the Detroit Incinerator puts children's health at risk, and what the community can do about it below: 

Great Michigan Town Hall Takes On Water, Energy and Public Land

Tags: energy, fracking, Great Michigan, public land, St. Clair Shores

photo: Rep. Roberts speaks at Town Hall

"Don't be fooled by people who tell you Michigan has an abundance of water to frack," said Nick Schroeck, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center. "Most of the fracking is happening inland where there is potential for real impact to our groundwater and watershed supplies." 

From the State Capitol: Michigan LCV Testifies On Successes of Renewables

Tags: clean energy, energy, Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy Standard

Michigan LCV's Patty Birkholz, West Michigan Director, and Jack Schmitt, Deputy Director, led the call for more investments in renewable energy when they testified before the House Energy and Technology Committee on Tuesday morning. 

Promising Energy Efficiency Bill Stalled By Party Politics

Tags: clean energy, energy, energy efficiency

A promising energy efficiency bill with bipartisan support is close to being the first piece of energy legislation passed by Congress in five years, but a few bad amendments are stalling progress. 

PWIR: Live Every Week Like It's Great Lakes Week

Tags: ballast water, conservation officers, energy efficiency, fishing, GLRI, Great Lakes, HB 4668, hunting, PWIR

Did you know that if you combined the length of all five Great Lakes, it would make up about 44% of the Earth’s circumference? If you emptied the Great Lakes over the United States they would cover the place in more than 9.5 feet of water. And, when we talk Great Lakes, we are not just talking water. They contain more than 32,000 islands, including the largest freshwater island in the world – Manitoulin in Lake Huron. As we say goodbye to Great Lakes Week, numbers like those bring home why Michigan's freshwater oceans really are the greatest. More on Great Lakes Week and the rest of the news in this week's PWIR. 

Governor Snyder's Reports Will Set Stage For Michigan's Energy Future

Tags: clean energy, energy efficiency, Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy Standard

This fall, Governor Snyder will release a series of reports that will lay the foundation for the future of Michigan’s statewide energy policy.

Erb Speaker Series: "Communicating Climate Science in the Disinformation Era"

Tags: climate change

Joe Romm from Climate Progress called him "our favorite climate de-crocker," and Daily Kos said he is "the most important videographer on the planet." Hear from Peter Sinclair in person on Wednesday, September 11th in Ann Arbor when he presents "Communicating Climate Science in the Disinformation Era" as part of the Erb Speaker Series. 

See video

Great Michigan Town Hall

Tags: fracking, Michigan, public lands, Renewable Energy, Sarah Roberts

Great Michigan Factsheet Cover

What do Michigan's renewable energy standard, fracking, and public lands all have in common? They are the three issues selected by the "Great Michigan" coalition of groups to be our environmental priorities for this legislative session. Join us for a Town Hall on September 17th to discuss all three. 

See video

PWIR: Clear Fixes To Make Fracking Safer

Tags: anti-biodiversity, clean energy, elections, fracking, NRTF, petcoke, PWIR

This week wrapped up with Congressman Gary Peters (D – Bloomfield Township) on the line. Lisa Wozniak, our Executive Director and part-time radio host, interviewed the Congressman on 89.1 WEMU’s First Friday Focus on the Environment. 

PWIR: Bus Tour Drives Clean Energy Conversation

Tags: clean energy, conservation, Dunes, energy efficiency, Governor Snyder, PWIR

As a Political Week in Review reader, you are already keeping a pulse on the legislation, political dynamics and election news we at Michigan LCV are steeped in. But if you want to know more about how our gears turn inside the office take a look at this story from Eclectablog

Toxic Chemical Truth: The Freshwater Perspective

Tags: Great Lakes, toxics, TSCA, TSCA reform, water quality

For our third “Toxic Chemical Truth” podcast we sat down with Dr. Allen Burton, a clean water expert and University of Michigan Professor in the School of Natural Resources and Environment.

PWIR: Dunes Are No Place For Pavement

Tags: clean energy, Critical Dunes, Dunes, elections, Great Michigan, PWIR, sand dunes

The Upper Peninsula is not often described as a hot spot, but last week brought a lot of action north of the Mackinac Bridge. Natural Resources Trust Fund Town Halls touched down in four UP locations, and Governor Snyder’s recent tour to Michigan’s second hand had us looking north. While up there, Governor Snyder unveiled the trailhead for a 924-mile long hiking and biking path that will connect the UP to Belle Isle.

Preserving Farmland: Market Day

Tags: farmers, farmers markets, farmland, farmland preservation

To market, to market to buy a fat pig, Home again, home again, jiggety jig, To market, to market, to buy a plum bun, Home again, home again, market is done.

-Mother Goose

The old nursery rhyme still rings true. What’s old is new again.

PWIR: No More PetCoke In Detroit

Tags: clean energy, elections, Natural Resources Trust Fund, NRTF, petcoke, Petroleum Coke, PWIR, Renewable Energy

Did you catch Michigan LCV in Saturday’s Detroit Free Press? Read the story here. We are proud to be out front trumpeting the benefits of plugging in to renewables, which leave all of us with lower bills and cleaner air and water. We aren’t the only ones getting on record for cleaner energy, either. Our members are making waves and we cover that right here, right now.

NRTF Town Hall: What You Need To Know

Tags: MNRTF, public land, recreation

State Representative Roger Victory (R - Hudsonville) will hold a Town Hall meeting on Michigan's Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) Thursday, August 15 in Allendale. Planning on attending? Thank you! Here are the basics on the NRTF. 

Farm to Table to Farm Event Works to Save Local Agriculture

Tags: farmland, farmland preservation, Kent County, land conservation, West Michgian

Last week, a group of Kent County residents got together to eat locally grown food and chat with one another. At the same time, they helped to save a local Kent County farm from urban sprawl.

PWIR: Races For Office Take Off

Tags: elections, farmland, farmland preservation, fracking, PWIR

Our first taste of election fever in 2013 came this week when Michigan voters took to the polls to weigh in on primaries and millages across the state. 

PWIR: Dollar Signs Along Party Lines

Tags: air pollution, air quality, clean energy, Petroleum Coke, renewable energy standards

To all of you loyal readers who are kicking back and keeping up with Michigan’s environmental news this Monday, we want you on our team. There are no practices involved, no uniforms to wear, just a few clicks of the mouse required to share the news you read about every week with your friends and social networks.

Toxic Chemical Reform Heats Up this Summer, Here's Your Chance to Take Action

Tags: chemical safety improvement act, Michigan toxics, toxic chemicals

With the recent hearing on the the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA), the groundwork has been laid for a busy next few months to get this bill in top notch before passing it through the Senate. 

See video

Preserving Farmland: An Essential Ingredient To The Local Food Movement

Tags: farmland, farmland preservation, food, land preservation

No matter what you call it, whether it’s “Farm-to-Table, Farm-to-Fork, Farm Gate-to-Dinner Plate,” the local food movement in West Michigan is growing stronger and becoming more deeply rooted in our community culture with each passing growing season.

U.S. Senate Hears Testimony to Fix the Chemical Safety Improvement Act

Tags: chemicals, Senate hearings, toxic chemicals, toxics, TSCA

July 31st was a big day for toxic chemical policy reform. For the first time this year, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee discussed what it will take to pass strong laws on toxic chemicals. So, why was this Congressional hearing such a big deal?

Congress Simultaneously Expands and Guts Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Tags: budget, GLRI, Great Lakes, Washington D.C.

Great news: on July 22 a bipartisan group of Congress people introduced the Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act (GLEEPA) which would provide $600 million in funding to federal Great Lakes programs (including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative).

You're Invited: Farmland Preservation Fundraiser At GR Brewing Company

Tags: beer, farmland, farmland preservation, Kent County, West Michgian

On Tuesday, August 6th, fresh food and locally brewed beers will come together to support Kent County farmland, and we want you to join us in the mix.

Michigan Leaders Respond to Obama’s Asian Carp Plan

Tags: asian carp, invasive species, Obama Asian Carp Plan

An Asian Carp invasion could be detrimental to our precious Great Lakes both environmentally and economically. A long-term solution must be set in place to prevent this type of destruction from happening. A federal plan has finally been unveiled to curb Asian Carp entry into the Great Lakes. The Obama Administration recently proposed this new $50 million plan to stop Asian Carp.

PWIR: The Great Lakes Face 80% Less Funding

Tags: asian carp, Great Lakes, invasive species, Natural Resources Trust Fund

Team Michigan LCV was all over the map this week, rallying our members in Roscommon and Alpena on public lands issues, representing the Great Lakes in Chicago, meeting new conservation partners at our summer fundraiser in Leelanau County, and a few of us held down the fort at Ann Arbor headquarters. We slide into home base and the weekend with big news on water, land, big fish and billboards.

Michigan LCV Members Turn Out For First NRTF Town Hall

Tags: MNRTF, Natural Resources Trust Fund, NRTF, public land, recreation, town hall meetings

The Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) is a 37-year-old fund created to guarantee that all Michiganders would always be able to enjoy, preserve, and protect the state’s precious woodlands, waterways, and coastline.

PWIR: Trust Fund On The Table

Tags: asian carp, elections, farmland preservation, invasive species, MNRTF, public land

Summer break in Lansing may mean the House and Senate are holding still, but the in-district action picks up as state legislators return home and stop in to their corner coffee shops.

Meet Our Interns

Tags: intern, michigan lcv

This summer has brought a group of vivacious interns to our team who are ready to learn and help out in any shape or form. From making phone calls to offering tech support, this crew is ready to tackle whatever MLCV throws at them and then some. Meet our team:

Protecting the Public from Toxic Chemicals

Tags: chemical policy, chemicals, Congress, health, toxic chemicals

Water pollution in a river

It’s no secret that Congress is having a hard time accomplishing things recently. Budgets. Nominees. Funding the government. If you can name it, it’s probably not getting done.

Experts Explain Seasonal Air-Quality Alerts

Tags: air quality alerts, air quality experts, Michigan air quality, moms clean air force

This was written By Tiffany Esshaki for C & G News:

Now that summer is in full, steamy swing, many around southeast Michigan are heading outside to enjoy some fun in the sun. But that seasonal heat so many of us enjoy could also pose a threat to people at risk of breathing difficulties.

Saving Michigan’s Farmlands: What’s At Stake and How Michigan Benefits

Tags: agriculture, conservation, farmers, farmland, farmland preservation, Kent County, land preservation, Michigan, PDR, Purchase of Development Rights, West Michgian

Michigan’s farmlands feed our local communities and our state’s economy, but if action isn’t taken soon we will see fertile green fields disappear for good.

An Energy Experience: Camp Davis

Tags: Camp Davis, clean energy, economics, energy, energy policy, Jesse Buchsbaum

Wind turbine

I am a person who has always been very interested in energy policy, especially as it relates to alternative energy. And so when I had the opportunity to travel to the University of Michigan’s Geological Station in Wyoming, Camp Davis, to take a three week class on energy policy, I was ecstatic.

Rep. Dianda talks land, mining and wolves with U.P. environmentalists

Tags: Dianda, public lands, sulfide mining, U.P.

photo: UPEC with Rep. Dianda

Michigan League of Conservation Voters works with organizations across the state to educate lawmakers on Michigan's environmental and conservation priorities. Our friends from the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition met with Representative Scott Dianda to talk about many of these issues. Here is a guest blog from Robert Evans, UPEC board member, with a synopsis of that meeting.

PWIR: Reeling In The CarpNado

Tags: asian carp, fracking, Great Lakes, invasive species, oil spill, pipeline safety

Last week’s showing of “Sharknado” struck fear into the hearts of beachgoers across the country, especially those on Twitter (see #SharkNado. Shark-less waters are part of Great Lakes bragging rights, but there’s a similar force Michiganders are up against: the CarpNado. Yes, a true Third Coast nightmare, but nothing we can’t handle with a strong, proactive preparedness plan.

CarpNado: A Great Lakes Cautionary Tale

The naive would think of the Great Lakes State as a third coast oasis from the threat of the disastrous SharkNado, but don't put your feet up just yet, freshwater fans. We have our own open water menace to deal with. Meet the @CarpNado

You're Invited: Michigan LCV at L. Mawby Vineyard

Join us on the Leelanau Peninsula to celebrate summertime in Michigan! Michigan LCV is excited to meet our Northern Michigan members in person, talk more about our work to protect our state's natural resources and enjoy a stunning vineyard view. Support us by joining us at the following event: 

In Dire Straits: Tar Sands Oil Beneath the Straits of Mackinac

Tags: Canadian Tar Sands, enbridge, oil and gas, Straits of Mackinac, water quality

Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline has funneled oil beneath the Straits since 1953.

Remember Enbridge Energy?

The company whose negligence resulted in the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history also operates a set of pipelines that snake under the surface of Lake Michigan near the Mackinac Bridge.

Bipartisan Bill Aims to Improve Chemical Laws But Falls Short Protecting Public Health

Tags: CSIA, environmental health, toxics, TSCA reform

photo: lake

From across the nation and from diverse geographic and social groups, there has been a growing call for the reform of our country’s major chemical regulation—the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA). 

There’s Something in the Air, Something in the Water, and It’s Making Someone a Lot of Money

Tags: air quality, Canadian Tar Sands, fossil fuels, Petroleum Coke, water quality

Petroleum coke being loaded onto a barge on the Detroit River.

As the weather warmed up at the end of this past winter, Detroiters noticed something more ominous poking out of the melting snow than spring flowers. Along the American side of the Detroit River Koch Carbon—yup, as in those Koch brothers—has been storing petroleum coke, a coal-like byproduct created during the refining process of Canadian Tar Sands oil.

PWIR: Clean Beaches, Great Beer

Tags: clean energy, climate change, Renewable Energy Standard, water quality

Two of our favorite things: beer and clean water. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) brings both together in their Clean Water, Great Beer campaign, which features a few choice Michigan breweries that are standing up for clean water and vouching for enforcement of the Clean Water Act.

Michigan Responds To Obama's Climate Change Plan

Tags: clean energy, climate change, coal, Obama

As the Michigan organizer for Moms Clean Air Force, I’d like to add this response to President Obama’s historic climate change speech:

President Obama's Remarks on Climate

Tags: energy efficiency, Obama, Renewable Energy

President Obama

Michigan LCV praised long anticipated remarks from President Obama today on his “all of the above” plan to combat climate change, reduce carbon emissions, invest in clean energy and make our country more energy efficient.

PWIR: Victory Lap

Tags: biodiversity, fishing, hunting, petcoke, Renewable Energy

PWIR Logo

Summer Recess is officially in full swing for the Michigan Legislature, and it comes on the heels of a whirlwind of legislation affecting the Great Lakes State’s natural resources. 

Michigan Welcomes Community Solar Projects

Tags: clean energy, Renewable Energy, solar

Community Solar has come to Michigan. Cherryland Electric Cooperative, up near Traverse City, announced the Solar Up North (SUN) Community Solar project on April 15th.

Michigan's Wetlands Legacy In Peril

Tags: Great Lakes, Water, water quality, wetlands

Wetlands are some of our most valuable resources –they are places of beauty that contribute greatly to the overall health of our environment and our quality of life. 

PWIR: A Budget For Clean Water, Public Land

Tags: budget, fishing, hunting, public land, water quality, wetlands

There is a new man of the House, and he hails from Michigan. This week, Representative John Dingell became the longest serving member of Congress, clocking in more than 20,000 days in office.

New Map Shows Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Is Money Well Spent

Tags: Great Lakes, Healing Our Waters, toxics, Water, water quality

Great Lakes EPA Map

All too often the conservation-minded are derided as obstructionists, but a new interactive map rolled out by the Healing Our Waters Coalition helps flip this narrow assessment on its head. 

From MUCC: License Updates For Hunters and Anglers On The Move, Need Your Support

Tags: conservation, DEQ, fishing, hunting

Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) is a conservation organization that defends and protects Michiganders' right to hunt, fish and trap. They join Michigan LCV in supporting updates to hunting and fishing licenses and hiring more conservation officers. Here is their take on the legislation:  

PWIR: The Capitol Heats Up

Tags: budget, conservation, DEQ, dnr, Water, wetlands

There are a number of signs that summer break is coming soon: The legislature is in a mad rush, passing bills at a breakneck pace, and we are breaking a sweat running through the Capitol halls to keep a steady grip on all of the action. 

Great Lakes Governors Talk Water Issues

Tags: asian carp, Great Lakes, invasive species, water quality

The Council of Great Lakes Governors met last week at the Detroit Regional Chamber Policy Conference to discuss challenges facing the Great Lakes, and what to do about them.

PWIR: Money For Michigan's Natural Resources? Check.

Tags: budget, clean energy, fishing, hunting, Water

There is a tradition every May in Michigan – a statewide political exodus to the Detroit Regional Chamber Policy Conference on Mackinac Island where laws are simplified to: What happens in Mackinac, stays in Mackinac. 

PWIR: Bipartisan Breakthroughs and Breakneck Speeds

Tags: fishing, Great Lakes, hunting, toxics, wetlands

Happy Memorial Day weekend, readers! This will be the last you’ll hear from us for a few days as all of team Michigan LCV will be working on getting lost in Michigan’s great outdoors.

PWIR: Dunes, Wetlands and $483 million

Tags: budget, Critical Dunes, DEQ, wetlands

PWIR Logo

What would you do with $483 million more dollars?

New Poll Affirms Tighter Regulations Are Priority In Fracking Reform

Tags: fracking, natural gas, regulation, Water

Most Michiganders support fracking, but they want oil and gas companies to face tighter regulations and play by the same rules, according to a new poll by the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. 

Grand River Granted Federal Designation: Our Coverage of the Announcement

Tags: EPA, grand rapids, water quality

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named the Grand River an Urban Waters Federal Partnership site, making it one of eleven new locations selected nationwide. We covered the announcement live. 

PWIR: Something's In The Water

Tags: ballast water, grand rapids, Great Lakes, Renewable Energy

Did you know standing anywhere in Michigan you are within 85 miles of a Great Lake? And with more than 11,000 lakes and 36,000 miles of streams, you are never more than 6 miles away from a natural source of freshwater? 

Give Moms A Break, Take Toxics Off Store Shelves

Tags: Safe Chemicals Act, toxic chemicals, toxic toys

Dear Retailers,

On behalf of moms across the country, we are asking for a Mother's Day gift that can’t be wrapped up in foil and a bow, that won’t be delivered in a vase, but instead will come directly from your corporate headquarters.

PWIR: What A Weekend

Tags: ballast water, clean energy, grand rapids, Great Lakes

Excuse this belated edition of the PWIR. We were having too much fun showing off the Great Lakes State to our friends from State Leagues of Conservation Voters from all over the country this weekend at our National Conference, right here in Michigan. 

Breaking Ground in Grand Rapids

Tags: grand rapids, Great Lakes, Michigan

After just over a year, Michigan LCV's Grand Rapids office has made big strides in setting conservation as a top priority on Michigan's west coast. And after just a few months, West Michigan Director and former GOP State Senator Patty Birkholz is out front, leading the charge. 

PWIR: It’s Official: Hands Off the Natural Resources Trust Fund

Tags: clean energy, DEQ, dnr, earth day, Natural Resources Trust Fund

We knew Earth Day was upon us, but this year’s took us by surprise in some notable ways. 

Field Notes: Michigan LCV Member Reports on DNR's Visit to Marquette

Tags: dnr, public land, recreation, Upper Peninsula

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) visited Marquette last week for input on their land management plan for Michigan. Michigan LCV member Adam Robarge attended the DNR's public meeting. Here is his report. 

Michigan's Chance for Toxic Chemical Reform

Tags: children's environmental health, Great Lakes, Safe Chemicals Act, toxic chemicals, toxics

Since The Safe Chemical Act introduction on April 10th, we’ve been writing, posting and podcast-ing a lot about Congress’s efforts to reform outdated toxic chemical legislation.

Attorney General Bill Schuette Stands Up for Michigan’s Natural Resources, Draws Praise from Michigan League of Conservation Voters

Tags: Bill Schuette, dredging, MNRTF

Attorney General Bill Schuette

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters applauded Attorney General Bill Schuette today for his affirmation that Michigan’s Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) is constitutionally guaranteed to be used solely for protecting our resources for future generations.

Happy Earth Day from Congressman Dingell

Tags: Congressman John Dingell, earth day

Congressman Dingell
Below is a special message from Congressman John D. Dingell in honor of Earth Day. We are honored to join with the Congressman to celebrate this important day.
 

PWIR: News from the Field

Tags: Critical Dunes, dnr, earth day, fracking, public land

PWIR Logo
Let’s kick off this week with a round of applause for Michigan LCV members in the field. So much of our news this week comes directly from people speaking up at public meetings, opposing plans to develop the dunes, pushing for responsible land management plans and sitting in on a discussion about the future of fracking in Michigan.

News from the Good Jobs Green Jobs National Conference

Tags: clean energy, Clean Energy Jobs, climate change, energy efficiency

Emily Basham, MLCV Intern, is bringing us daily reports from the Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference in Washington DC this week.

You Want To Develop the Dunes? Muskegon County Residents Say No

Tags: Critical Dunes, Develop the Dunes bill, Dunes

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) held a public hearing on Monday to discuss an application to build a 1,200 foot road through the White River Township Dunes Preserve in Muskegon County. 

PWIR: Welcome to the Weekend Update

Tags: dnr, Great Lakes, public land, Safe Chemicals Act, toxic chemicals

We were able to breathe with some ease this week as the legislature steered clear of major action on biodiversity, ballast water standards and other pressing environmental issues on the table. But, the introduction of milestone toxic chemical legislation and Great Lakes funding announcements out of Washington D.C. gave us something to talk about, as did the DNR’s first land management meeting in Waterford.

DNR Holds First Regional Public Land Management Plan Forum

Tags: dnr, public land

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) kicked off their nine-city tour of the state this week at a public forum held in Waterford, Oakland County Tuesday night. The agency is seeking public opinion on their newly drafted land management plan.

Consequences of assault on Michigan dune laws comes clear: Developer plans to ram road through township dunes sanctuary

Tags: Critical Dunes, Develop the Dunes bill, sand dunes

Since the late 1980s, Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has been charged with running a permitting program for development and construction occurring within a narrow band of majestic sand dunes along lakes Michigan and Superior.

PWIR: Input Needed...

Tags: dnr, fracking, Great Lakes, public land

All signs point to Spring: blue and orange fans poured into Comerica Park Friday for a sunny Tigers opener, we cracked the windows in the MLCV office to flush out the winter air and Michigan legislators get back to work in Lansing this week after a two week break.

Mitten Madness: What's Your Favorite Place in Michigan?

Tags: Michigan

The polls are closed, the best places to go outside in Michigan duked it out on the court and finally, the road ends here. The Mitten Madness Champion is ready to be crowned. 

Michigan's Land Management Plan: What Do You Think?

Tags: dnr, fracking, land cap, public land, recreation

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is ready to present a draft of their new land management plan to the public and they want your feedback

What Smoking and Marriage Equality Can Teach Activists About Efforts to Catalyze Climate Action

Tags: climate change

In February, Duke University released a poll that found that more than 84% of Americans believe climate change is occurring. Climate activists were elated, and many began to say that we’ve turned the corner on efforts to catalyze action.

Michigan Primed to Lead in Green Chemistry

Tags: green chemistry, safer chemicals, toxic chemicals

In her recent blog post, Natalie Erb, Michigan LCV Intern, talked about a report by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) that discussed the positive impacts that stronger chemical laws can have on innovation in the chemical industry.

PWIR: April Fools!

Tags: ballast water, Great Lakes, Natural Resources Trust Fund

No pranks to be found here --- we are back with your weekly round up of political news from Lansing. Legislators are still enjoying a Spring Break, but the news doesn’t stop when they are away.

Toxic Chemicals: They Are What's For Dinner

Tags: food, phthalates, Safe Chemicals Act, toxics

Note: This post begins our series on toxic chemicals and the importance of the Safe Chemicals Act. We will cover the pervasive presence of toxics in everyday products and food, the resulting health and environmental impacts and what we can do to clean up the chemical industry along with what we use, eat and buy.

For Oil and Gas Companies, Same Rules Don't Apply

Tags: fracking, Great Lakes, regulation, Water, water quality

Details of fracking permit applications in Kalkaska County have come to light, and they raise serious concerns about over-extraction and contamination of Michigan’s freshwater.

PWIR: Spring Break!

With the legislature entering a two week spring break, we think it’s time to celebrate (knowing that nothing too bad can happen while they’re gone).

Great Michigan: Our State's Environmental Team

Tags: energy, Great Michigan, land, priorities, Water

photo: Great Michigan Voting Meeting

Over a year ago I sat in a legislator’s office and asked him how he thought the environmental community could be a stronger force in Lansing.

PWIR: Stop the Raid

Tags: clean energy, Great Lakes, Natural Resources Trust Fund, public land

Natural resource and land management issues continue to be front and center in Lansing. Last week, the passage of the anti-biodiversity bill was big news. This week, continued attempts to raid the Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) for dredging (despite already passing an emergency dredging plan for this year) stole the show.

Great Lakes. Great Times.

Tags: Great Lakes, Water, water quality

Not even the sequester or what was supposed to be a crippling snowstorm could throw Great Lakes advocates off during last week’s Great Lakes Days in Washington D.C.

PWIR: And... It Passed

Tags: biodiversity, carl levin, clean energy, fracking, Michigan Jobs

PWIR Logo

On Tuesday of last week the State Senate passed Senate Bill 78, or the “Anti-biodiversity bill” as it’s become known. 

Hydraulic Fracturing Report Focuses on Michigan

Tags: fracking, UofM fracking panel, water quality

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, is an environmental buzzword for good reason. It is now the leading method of natural gas extraction in the United States, and that is a big deal when the natural gas industry is booming and shows no signs of stopping.

Biodiversity Bill Guts the Endangered Species Act

Tags: biodiversity, conservation, dnr, public land

A bill that puts Michigan's Endangered Species Act in jeopardy was up for discussion on the Senate floor yesterday. The biodiversity bill (Senate Bill 78) rejects promoting or maintaining biodiversity as a legitimate reason to protect Michigan’s forests and public land.

PWIR: Endangering the Endangered Species Act

Tags: biodiversity, energy forum, LCV Scorecard, Renewable Energy, Safe Chemicals Act

PWIR Logo

The biodiversity bill - a bill that would jeopardize federal funding and flies in the face of scientific-based land use policies - was passed out of its committee in the State Senate last week.

Experiencing the Largest Rally for the Climate in D.C.

Tags: climate change, environment, Renewable Energy

On Sunday February 17th, I was elated to join environmentalists from around the nation at the Forward on Climate rally in Washington, D.C.

New study finds that stronger chemical laws increase innovation

Tags: green chemistry, innovation, regulation, safer chemicals

The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) has released a report pointing to the positive impacts stronger chemicals laws can have on innovation in the chemical industry.

PWIR: $1.79 Billion

Tags: biodiversity, MPSC, Renewable Energy

PWIR Logo

Happy President’s Day! Though we’re working hard at Michigan LCV today, I hope those of you with the day off are enjoy a well-earned three day weekend skiing, 

Michigan Energy Conversations Begin

PWIR: Budget Edition

Tags: 2012 election, biodiversity, energy, Governor Snyder

PWIR

The hot topic last week in Lansing was Fiscal Year 2014, with Governor Snyder presenting his Executive Budget recommendation to the legislature on Thursday.

PWIR: Full Speed Ahead

Tags: biodiversity, energy efficiency, Governor Snyder, Natural Resources Trust Fund, Renewable Energy

PWIR Logo

Well, January certainly flew by and, with that, the state legislature is fully off and running.

Participate: Statewide Energy Conversation

Tags: energy efficiency, Governor Snyder, Renewable Energy

In both his Special Message on Energy and the Environment and his recent State of the State Address, Governor Snyder has called for a public conversation on Michigan's energy policy.

MLCV Hosts State of the State Watch Party in Oakland County

Tags: environment, michigan lcv, State of the State

This week Michigan LCV hosted a watch party in Oakland County for Governor

See video

PWIR: End of Session

Tags: campaigns, Michigan Legislature, sulfide mining

Michigan LCV Political Week in Review

With work continuing until nearly 4:30 AM last Friday morning, the 96th Session

Lame Duck Legislature in Overdrive

Tags: environment, Lame Duck, Michigan House, Michigan Legislature, Michigan Senate

Unexpected things always happen in these last two weeks before session ends, but this

Between States, Fracking Remains in the Hot Seat

Tags: fracking, Michigan, UofM fracking panel

photo: Michigan water

"We're going to be a partner with the University of Michigan's Graham Sustainability Institute on doing a study on where fracking's going.... Let's be at the forefront of being environmentally responsible when we look at these energy issues. And let's do this in a way where we're working together." Governor Snyder’s speech on Energy and Environment, November 28, 2012

PWIR: The Verdict

Tags: clean energy, energy efficiency, Governor Snyder, michigan supreme court, sulfide mining

Michigan LCV PWIR

Ryan is out for the week (a much needed post-campaign respite), so I am here to provide your weekly update on Michigan's political landscape. Last week

New study shows toxic flame retardants found in Michigan couches

Tags: couch, flame retardants, Safe Chemicals Act, toxics

toxics in couches

As members of Congress continue to wrestle over The Safe Chemicals Act—a bill to improve our nation’s main chemical policy—a new study reports that toxic flame retardants are found in couches all over the country.

Live-Tweet Recap: Governor Snyder's Special Message on Energy and Environment

Tags: energy efficiency, fracking, Governor Snyder, Renewable Energy

Gov. Snyder
Governor Snyder delivered his Special Message on Energy and the Environment this morning, and we were following it closely and live-tweeting it for our followers on Twitter. If you missed it, you can catch up on the highlights with our Twitter Transcript below!

PWIR: The Speech You've Been Waiting For

Tags: biodiversity, Governor Snyder, Kent County, Renewable Energy

Gov. Snyder spent a scant 17 seconds talking about the environment in his last State of the State address, but he'll make up for it on Wednesday by revealing his vision for energy, the environment and management of our natural resources for the second half of his term.

In this edition of Political Week in Review:

PWIR: A Lame Idea for Lame Duck

Tags: 2012 election, mining severance tax, Renewable Energy

Political Week In Review

We successfully targeted Rep. Matt Huuki (R – Atlantic Mine) for defeat this election because of his history of supporting anti-conservation legislation.

PWIR: A Stronger Herd

Tags: 2012 election, lame duck session, Renewable Energy

Political Week in Review

When arctic wolves hunt caribou, they track them and then run them until the slowest fall behind and are taken down. The result is a stronger caribou herd. 

PWIR: The Michigan LCV Election Guide

Tags: 2012 election, Michigan Legislature, michigan supreme court, Proposal 3, U.S. Congress

Political Week in Review

Tomorrow is Election Day, and nothing is more important in our democracy than informed citizens exercising their right and fulfilling their duty to vote. 

PWIR: President Clinton Endorses Prop 3

Tags: Bill Clinton, Michigan, Prop 3, Renewable Energy

Political Week in Review

Today, President Bill Clinton – yes, that Bill Clinton – endorsed Proposal 3 to get Michigan to 25% renewable energy by 2025!

See video

Franz Lives Up to Dirty Dozen Label at Debate

Tags: Allen O'Shea, Michigan 2012 election, Ray Franz

Ray Franz was named to the LCV's "Dirty Dozen"
At a debate on Tuesday, Rep. Ray Franz (R - Onekama) lived up to his "Dirty Dozen" label as one of the twelve worst conservation state legislators in the entire country.

Online Programs Evaluate Environmental Record of Elected Officials

Tags: Governor Snyder, Michigan Legislature, michigan supreme court

Michigan Capitol
With all the campaign ads flying around, it gets hard to differentiate between facts and propaganda. 
 

Anti-Poaching Bills: Bigger Buck, Bigger Fine

Tags: deer, hunting, Michigan Legislature, poaching, violators

"Let's Rap" Report All Poaching
With the election less than two weeks away, some might forget that deer season begins shortly after, and we're already in the thick of bow season. 
 

PWIR: Benishek Booed for Climate Denial in Petoskey

Tags: 2012 election, northern michigan, Prop 3, Renewable Energy

Political Week In Review

The Tigers swept the Yankees last week; that has nothing to do with politics, it just feels good to write! 

See video

I Voted for Prop 3 Today

Tags: elections, Proposal 3, Renewable Energy, voting

Proposal 3

I voted for Prop 3 today. Clearly, today is not November 6, but I did vote; I voted absentee. 

PWIR: T Minus 3 Weeks

Tags: 2012 election, asian carp, Prop 3, Renewable Energy, toxic toys

Political Week In Review

The November election is only three weeks away and while all eyes are on the extraordinarily important presidential race, there is a whole lot more facing Michiganders on this November’s ballot. 

See video

In Defense of Michigan's Best Idea

Tags: land conservation, Michigan Legislature, Natural Resources Trust Fund

Black River, MI

If Teddy Roosevelt's national parks are "America's Best Idea," as posited by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, then the Natural Resources Trust Fund might be "Michigan's Best Idea."

PWIR: 94,000 Jobs for $0.50 a Month

Tags: 25 by 25, Great Lakes, Prop 3, Renewable Energy

Political Week in Review

With the legislature on a short break, Prop 3 was all over the news this week, including a study that predicted Prop 3 would actually reduce rates for some residential consumers and cost no more than 50 cents per month for the average ratepayer. 

See video

Senate Bill Misses Forest for the Trees

Tags: biodiversity, conservation, SB 1276, timber

Michigan forest

A bill in the Michigan Senate would literally change the definition of conservation and remove biodiversity restoration from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR)'s responsibilities.

PWIR: Endorsement Special Edition

Tags: Elections 2012, Michigan State House, northern michigan

Political Week in Review

In this special edition of Political Week in Review, we're profiling our five endorsements for the State House in key northern and west Michigan districts for the November election. 

PWIR: Franz Named to Dirty Dozen

Tags: Dirty Dozen, mason tract, Prop 3, wind energy

Political Week In Review

Michigan State Representative Ray Franz (R - Onekama), gained national attention today by being named to the national League of Conservation Voters' state "Dirty Dozen" list, which names the most anti-environmental state-level candidates in the country.  

In this edition of PWIR: 

Presidential Forum Notes from the Great Lakes Restoration Conference

Tags: Great Lakes Restoration Conference, Healing Our Waters

by Lisa Wozniak, Executive Director, Michigan LCV

Amidst all of our ongoing work in Michigan – working to elect environmental leaders in the North, ensuring the passage of a greater renewable energy standard via Prop 3 – I was able to attend the final day of the Great Lakes Restoration Conference in Cleveland, Ohio last Thursday.

PWIR: Prop 3 TV

Tags: 25 by 25, Michigan Legislature, Prop 3, Renewable Energy

Proposal 3 is gathering support as Michiganders learn more about the job-creating potential of producing our energy from renewable sources right here in Michigan. Just this week, the NAACP announced its endorsement of Prop 3 and a new poll showed "solid support" for the proposal among likely voters!

In this edition of Political Week in Review: 

See video

Michigan LCV volunteers speak up: "I want safer chemicals"

Tags: Michigan, nurse, Safe Chemicals Act, Stabenow, TSCA

With only a week left to bring The Safe Chemicals Act to a floor vote in the U.S. Senate, Michigan LCV is pulling out all the stops to encourage our Senators to support this monumental bill.

See video

PWIR: Yes on Prop 3!

Tags: 25 by 25, Proposal 3, Renewable Energy, UAW

Political Week in Review

The renewable energy ballot proposal to achieve 25% renewable energy by 2025 has a big new name and a big new endorsement.

Debating #mi25x25, 140 characters at a time

Tags: 25 by 2025, Ballot Initiative, Renewable Energy Standard

Michigan Wind - Matt Blain

If you follow @MichiganLCV on Twitter (and you should) you might have noticed a flurry of tweets last night between 5:30 and 7:00 pm. 

Confidence Through Conservation

Tags: advocacy, internship, michigan lcv, Safe Chemicals Act, toxic chemicals

Annika Doner

When I applied in January to be the Toxics and Children’s Environmental Health Education and Outreach Intern at MLCV, I had no idea what a great experience I was getting myself into. 

PWIR: Words Matter

Political Week in Review

Last week, the Board of Canvassers approved the ballot language for the 25% by '25 renewable energy ballot initiative. 

See video

BPA Banned in Baby Bottles (After 50 Years!)

Tags: bpa, Safe Chemicals Act

sippy cups

Last month, the FDA banned the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and sippy cups. 

PWIR: Clearing the Air

Tags: 25 by 25, bpa, fuel efficiency, land conservancies, Renewable Energy Standard, Safe Chemicals Act

Political Week in Review

Opponents of renewable energy were called out for misleading statements this week by the non-partisan, independent Michigan Truth Squad and by the Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs spokesman.

Ballast Water Blues

Tags: ballast water, Great Lakes, invasive species

Lake Superior

One of the biggest challenges facing the Great Lakes is the damage caused by invasive species, many of which arrived in the Great Lakes by stowing away in the ballast tanks of oceangoing vessels. 

PWIR: Bipartisan and Ballot-Bound

Tags: 25 by 25, invasive species, Natural Resources Trust Fund, Renewable Energy Standard

Political Week in Review

The Michigan Board of Canvassers officially certified the 25% by ‘25 renewable energy initiative for the November ballot, and a prominent Michigan Republican formally endorsed the proposal while urging the rest of his party to do so, too. 25% by ‘25 is picking up steam and bound for the ballot with bipartisan support!

See video

Hunting, Fishing and Climate Change

Tags: climate change, fishing, hunting, Michigan

Image from Wikipedia Commons

Climate change is trying to ruin hunting and fishing in Michigan. If you don't believe me, just read the press releases about deer diseases and fish kills issued by the DNR. 

Politicizing the Natural Resources Trust Fund

Tags: conservation, Michigan, Natural resources, public land, recreation, trust fund

Hiking Trail

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund was put into the Michigan Constitution in 1984 and placed under the leadership of an advisory board to keep it away from politicians. Senate Bill 1238 would give it back. 

PWIR: 94,000 Jobs

Tags: 25 by 25, Michigan Primary, paul ryan, RES, sand dunes

Political Week in Review

It was a big, big week in Michigan environmental politics. 

Michigan LCV Primary Election Recap

Michigan LCV

When we selected who to endorse in the primary election, we had one goal: Make a statement that, no matter your party, conservation candidates will be elected and anti-conservation candidates would be defeated. Mission accomplished.

Today, We Vote!

Tags: get out the vote, michigan elections, Michigan Primary

The choices we make today determine the choices we get tomorrow.

PWIR: Vote!

Tags: elections, Kent County Commission, Michigan Legislature, Michigan primaries, vote

Political Week in Review

As the political voice for Michigan's environment, nothing gets us more revved up at Michigan LCV than an election.

PWIR: Benishek Named to Flat Earth Five

Tags: 25 by 25, climate change, Dan Benishek, elections, Flat Earth Five, Safe Chemicals Act, sand dunes

Michigan Congressman Dan Benishek (MI-1) made national headlines this week, and not in a way he’d like. 

Courts, Water, Pollution and Permits

Tags: Clean Water Act, Green Gavels, Point Source Pollution, Supreme Court

river image

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to review two cases which will determine when water pollution discharges require permits under the Clean Water Act. 

PWIR: Doomed Dunes

Tags: 25x25, Dunes, PWIR, RES, Sleeping Bear Dunes

image michigan lcv PWIR sand dunes

The Michigan Legislature returned from summer campaigning for one day last week and used the opportunity to pass a terrible bill through both chambers to gut the law that protects sand dunes from over-development, even as tourism is up after Sleeping Bear was named the most beautiful place in America last year.

We'll Be Watching as Safe Chemicals Act Builds to a Vote

Tags: flame retardants, hearing, Safe Chemicals Act, toxics, TSCA

photo: pass Safe Chemicals Act

This Tuesday, July 24th, the U.S Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing to examine the dirty tricks the chemical industry has been using to keep their products from being regulated. 

How Green Is Governor Snyder This Summer?

Tags: Beach Grooming Bill, Critical Dunes, Governor Snyder, How Green Is Your Governor?, land cap, Michigan Legislature, SB 1052, SB 1130, SB 248

rick snyder, how green is your governor, land cap, beach grooming, critical dune

How do Governor Snyder’s decisions impact the unique, natural features that make up Pure Michigan®?

Enbridge Makes History Again

Tags: 3.7 million, civil fine, Enbridge Energy Partners, kalamazoo river, oil spill, renewable energy standards, tar sands

kalamazoo river, oil spill, enbridge energy partners, civil fine

Two years ago, oil company Enbridge Energy Partners caused the worst oil spill in Michigan’s history, spilling approximately 840,000 gallons of corrosive tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River and contaminating almost 40 miles of wetlands and waterways. 

Dooming the Dunes

sand dunes, SB 1130

The Michigan Legislature is threatening to strip away current protections to the highest and most iconic sand dunes in the state.

PWIR: Michigan Environmental Scorecard Released!

48%: That's the average for how often the Michigan House of Representatives votes to conserve our environment when it's at stake in a bill before them. 

PWIR: 530,000 Signatures

Tags: 25x25, elections, RES, Rick Snyder, Scorecard

image pwir werder michigan lcv snyder res ballot switalski

530,000. That is the amount of signatures submitted to state election officials on Friday to place

Federal Court Upholds EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations

Tags: Appeals Court, EPA, Green Gavels, Greenhouse Gas

While everyone was speculating about what the U.S. Supreme Court would do about health care last week, another DC court upheld the EPA's ability to reduce greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

See video

PWIR: Snyder Signs The Land Cap

Tags: dnr, land cap, PWIR, RES

image PWIR michigan LCV werder land cap veto Snyder

The Governor signed the Land Cap Bill today despite thousands of requests from Michiganders asking him to veto it, including hundreds from Michigan LCV members. 

Living Green in Rochester

Tags: 25 by 25, Green Living Festival, Renewable Energy, RES

On a sunny June weekend, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters Field Team took a trip out to the 7th annual Rochester Green Living Festival. 

Fracking Companies Accused of Rigging Bids on DNR Auction

Tags: chesapeake energy, encana, fracking, natural gas, northern michigan

DEQ Photo

Aubrey McClendon is on the hot seat, and he's facing more Heat than his Oklahoma City Thunder did in the NBA Finals. 

Under the Surface

Tags: enbridge, kalamazoo river, NWF, oil and gas

Kalamazoo River, 2010 EPA Photo

On the surface, everything looks great. Two years after the largest oil spill in Michigan’s history, the Kalamazoo River is open again to the public. 

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PWIR: Businesses Back 25 by 25

Tags: 25 by 25, asian carp, EPA, kalamazoo river, MACT, RES

Over 120 Michigan businesses have already endorsed the 25% by 2025 renewable energy ballot initiative.  

An Open Letter to Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell

Tags: climate change, grand rapids, leed building, Renewable Energy, sustainable city

Grand Rapids Mayor and Michigan LCV Board Member George Heartwell was recently awarded the National Mayors’ Climate Protection Award, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Walmart. 

This Bill is The Pits!

Tags: dnr, gravel mining, public land, road commissions, state land

A new bill could open up a whole new can of worms for Michigan public land.

Michigan LCV Goes to Washington

Tags: CAFE standards, Clean Air Act, EPA, Great Lakes

Michigan LCV w/ Rep. Dingell

The week of June 4, two Michigan LCV board members and four Michigan LCV staff spent a whirlwind day in Washington, DC. 

PWIR: School's Out for Summer

Tags: Beach Grooming, Bottle Bill, land cap, michigan politics, PWIR, sand dunes

image photo Michigan LCV werder "political week in review" land use

I think I know how my high school principal felt, walking the halls after school was out and students had finished impatiently tapping their pencils until that final bell and TP'ing all the trees on the mad rush out to summer break. That was the Legislature last week.

Why I Love Michigan and Our Legislature Should Too

Tags: Great Lakes, Lake Michigan, land cap bill, Michigan House, Michigan Senate, Pure Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Upper Peninsula

By Jeff Sorensen

Photo: The Lake Michigan Overlook at Pierce Stocking near Glen Arbor, MI.

The Attack on Northern Michigan Public Land

Tags: conservation, land cap bill, Natural Resources Trust Fund, northern michigan

Northern Michigan Public Land

The Michigan legislature has mercifully adjourned for its summer break, though I’m not sure if there’s much more damage left to inflict. As someone who grew up in northern Michigan, this was a tough week to analyze and write about conservation legislation for a living.

How To Make A Difference

Tags: activism, Bottle Bill, environment, michigan lcv, RES

 “I have learned, in just five weeks, how to make a difference.” ~Jesse Buchsbaum, Michigan League of Conservation Voters Intern

Guest Editorial: Conservation and Politics

Tags: conservation, conservative, Michigan, pigeon river country

Pigeon River Country pic

As Editor of the Pigeon River Country Association Newsletter, Richard W. Kropf has long been a voice for conservation of "The Big Wild," as well as an excellent photographer. His message that true conservatism embraces conservation is needed now more than ever, especially in light of yesterday's close House vote to cap the amount of public recreation land available in northern Michigan. 

The Land Cap Bill: The Inside Story

Tags: conservation, land cap bill, Michigan, michigan lcv, public land, public recreation

michigan public land

The Land Cap Bill was introduced in March 2011 by Sen. Tom Casperson (R - Escanaba) to limit state ownership of public recreation land. It passed the Senate in June 2011 and passed the house, today, on a close vote of 58-52. In both the House and Senate, Republicans were split and all Democrats opposed.

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PWIR: Electric Rate Hike Ironic, But Not Very Funny

Tags: 25x25, consumers, DTE, PWIR, Renewable Energy, RES

Consumers Energy is raising its electric rates because of the warm winter and the rising cost to import coal. Yet its coal plants are the very things that are contributing to those warmer winters.

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Michigan Coal Plant Among Worst Mercury Polluters in the Great Lakes

Tags: coal plants, Great Lakes, mercury pollution, Renewable Energy Standard

Image photo DTE Monroe Coal Plant mercury

Michigan is among the Great Lakes leaders in a very dubious category.

PWIR: No, Sen. Meekhof, We Won't "Shut Up!"

In the midst of the most extensive assault on conservation and environmental protection in Michigan's recent history, 

Anatomy of a Green Gavel

Tags: air pollution, Green Gavels, john d. voelker, robert traver

Northern Michigan University Archives

Justice John D. Voelker (aka Robert Traver) upheld a Detroit air pollution ordinance 11 years before the Clean Air Act.

Political Director Special Message

Tags: bipartisan, Bottle Bill, conservation, Pure Michigan

photo ryan werder mlcv political director

Yesterday was rough. The State House voted 91-19 to approve a bad amendment to the Michigan Bottle Bill

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PWIR: The Assault on Pure Michigan

Tags: Beach Grooming, Bottle Bill, Dunes, Great Lakes, Pure Michigan, PWIR

Image Photo Michigan LCV Werder YoungDyke Political Week in Review Pure Michigan

As you drove Up North, lazed on beaches, hiked up sand dunes, and fished and canoed on rivers this weekend, I hope you enjoyed it. The Michigan Legislature

Bridge: State Waits for Legislature to Do Its Job on Transit

Originally published in Bridge by the Center for Michigan

Lindane Locks and Toxic Blocks

Tags: lindane, toxic chemicals, toy testing

lindane

Formaldehyde in our clothes? Cadmium in our kids’ jewelry? Flame retardants in our furniture? Our children are being exposed to toxic chemicals everywhere. Toys, garden hoses, car interiors – it seems like everything we use is threatening children’s environmental health.

PWIR: Green Gavels and Great Lakes

Tags: Dunes, Great Lakes, Green Gavels, michigan supreme court, PWIR

The Michigan Supreme Court just couldn't wait to test out the new Green Gavels accountability tool we launched last week, as they have already issued

PWIR: Great Lakes Horror Stories

Tags: Army Corps of Engineers, asian carp, Durant, Great Lakes, Hoekstra, PWIR, RES

PWIR Michigan LCV Werder YoungDyke Hoekstra drilling sulfide mining and carp

A new sulfide mine may be built a mere two miles from Lake Superior, Asian carp are at the threshold of Lake

Michigan LCV Outside the Office

Tags: 25 by 25, conservation, michigan lcv

Michigan LCV and the Michigan LCV Ed Fund have been growing by leaps and bounds, so we thought we'd share this photo blog to let you know what we've been up to...

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As Residents Fight Back, Sulfide Mining Strikes Again

Kennecott Eagle Mine, Orvana Copperwood Mine, Sulfide Mining, Upper Peninsula

by Alicia Prygoski, Special Projects Associate

Although countless Michigan residents have made it clear that they don’t want their pristine natural areas - and sacred Native American land - decimated by sulfide mining, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), unfortunately, continues to issue disastrous permits.

PWIR: No One Likes the Land Cap

Tags: 25 by 25, asian carp, land cap bill, michigan supreme court, PWIR, RES

photo image Michigan LCV Political Week in Review Werder youngdyke land cap

We talked about the Land Cap Bill a lot in the last edition. Since then, and largely because of your help, the issue really took off statewide with the Free Press and others weighing in on our side. No one likes the land cap.

MEC: Response to Consumers Energy statements on Michigan-made renewable energy

Tags: consumers, energy, mec, Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy Standard

Consumers energy confusing renewable energy statement

 

This press release was sent out by the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) today in response to Consumer Energy's recent statements on renewable energy. The MEC is a coalition of more than 70 organizations, including the Michigan LCV Education Fund, that was created in 1980 to lead Michigan’s environmental movement in achieving positive change through the political process. You can find them at www.environmentalcouncil.org or on their blog at www.michigandistilled.org.

PWIR: This Land is Your Land ... for now

Tags: fracking, land cap, pipeline safety, PWIR

image Werder YoungDyke Michigan LCV Land Cap Legislature

We are one step closer to an arbritrary cap on how much land the state can protect and manage with a key vote on the issue is coming up in the State House. Looking at the bigger picture, what protected state land is left could potentially be opened up to oil and gas development if the recommendations from a new legislative report are taken up.

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State Reps Want to Drill Last Protected Wilderness in the Lower Peninsula

Tags: fracking, jordan river valley, mason tract, oil and gas, pigeon river country

The Michigan Constitution directs the legislature to protect natural resources as a "paramount" concern to the people of Michigan. Paramount means "above all else," the highest priority. 

PWIR: Good-bye Michigan Cherries?

Tags: 25by25, asian carp, cherry crop, climate change, coal, PWIR, Renewable Energy, RES, underground storage tanks

Michiganders love their famous cherries, and in so many different ways: Cherry pie. Dried cherries. Cherry wine. Cherry jam. Even cherry fudge, if you're on Mackinac Island. Tragically, however, in the wake of deeply unusual spring and winter weather, we may lose 90% of Michigan's tart cherry crop.

Why We NEED the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011

Tags: Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, toxic chemicals

Safe Chemicals Act 2011

If you thought the government was keeping us safe from toxic chemicals, you were WRONG. 

Keeping Michigan Clean, One Politician at a Time

Earth Day is fast approaching, and conservation-minded folks across the world are thinking about what they'll do to protect the earth. Some will

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PWIR: Memories from Econ 101

Tags: 25x25, electric vehicles, michigan supreme court, PWIR, sulfide mining, toxic chemicals, wind energy jobs

image PWIR Michigan LCV MLCV jobs wind werder youngdyke

A recent report announced that wind energy is creating strong job growth nationwide and, while that's encouraging, it also shows that we could be doing even better here in Michigan than we currently are. 

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PWIR: Season of Renewables

Tags: 25 by 25, Great Lakes, PWIR, RES, Traverse City

Spring is a time for renewal; a new season, a new start. The legislature will be starting up again next week, GM is restarting production of the Volt, the trout fishing opener is only a few weeks away, and the Tigers are very much enjoying the spring weather. Let's follow the Tigers' lead and get Spring started with some big wins!

Studying Lead Exposure: UofM Professor Marie Lynn Miranda Speaks on "Fostering Environments to Sustain our Children's Health"

Special Report from Michigan LCV Toxics and Children's Health Education and Outreach Intern Annika Doner

Every year, the Center for Sustainable Systems at the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan invites an internationally recognized leader to speak at the Peter M. Wege Lecture on Sustainability.

PWIR: The Changing Climate of Climate Change

Tags: climate change, composting, epa carbon rules, grand rapids, national security, the rapid

The legislature is on a two-week Spring Break, but while they're soaking up the sun, we're talking about climate change. Frankly, a break from some of the legislation that has been coming out of Lansing recently is pretty welcome on our side of things, too!

Tear Down This Dam!

Tags: Dam Removal, michigan court of appeals, pigeon river dam, trout, Water

Jim Harrison once wrote a novel about a cross-country quest to dynamite a dam, but in reality that would release sediment and kill as many fish as would a dam failure. Thankfully, it will never come to that on the Pigeon River, where a troublesome dam has caused multiple fish kills over the last century on this pristine northern Michigan trout river.

Bridge: Fuel Tank Cleanup Leaves Mess Above Ground, Too

Tags: bridge magazine, leaking underground storage tanks

This article was republished with permission from Bridge Magazine, a publication of The Center for Michigan.

PWIR: Target 2025

Tags: fuel efficiency standards, PWIR, RES, UST, Wind

Conservation is about planning for the future, but what point in the "future" are we thinking of when we're planning? If your vision of the future is only as far as a few months out, you'll have a very different vision than those who are thinking of the next generation. For the sake of imagining a world in the not-too-distant future, though, let's look at one particular year in which two key clean energy goals happen to coincide: 2025.

Facebook Photo Contest!

Tags: facebook timeline, michigan lcv, pint glass

Hey Michiganders! We're looking for a banner photo for our new Facebook timeline page. Send us your best photo of what a clean and healthy Michigan environment looks like, and we'll post the best one as our banner photo for the next month. Plus, we'll send the winner this awesome Michigan LCV pint glass that reads "Tap a Keg, NOT the Great Lakes!" 

It's World Water Day - Celebrate with a Great Lakes Pint Glass!

Tags: great lakes compact, pint glass, water diversion, world water day

Tap a Keg, NOT the Great Lakes!

Today is World Water Day, and we're surrounded by the world's best water right here in Michigan. 

Join Michigan LCV at the Made in Michigan Renewable Energy Show

Tags: 25 by 25, Ballot Initiative, Michigan Jobs, Renewable Energy, solar, wind power

Join Michigan LCV tomorrow at the Made in Michigan Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology Show at the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC) in Muskegon!

Paying a Toxic Price for Cheap Jewelry

Tags: cadmium, environmental health, jewelry, toxic chemicals

photo: jewelry, cadmium, toxic chemicals

You don’t smoke, you use eco-friendly cleaning products, and you feed your children organic food. But you and your children may still be highly exposed to toxic chemicals like cadmium and lead through an everyday, seemingly harmless item: jewelry. 

PWIR: A Composting Conundrum

Tags: environmental leaders, Pure Michigan, PWIR, Renewable Energy Standard, yard waste ban

PWIR Michigan LCV Werder YoungDyke Pure Michigan Composting

Pure Michigan ads will begin running nationally this week, complete with the stunning vistas we all love. At the same time, though, the Legislature is passing a bill to bankrupt the composting business here and overstuff our landfills. It's a great example of how Pure Michigan needs to be the model of how we act, not just how we advertise. We're also trying to attract tourists from out-of-state, not trash, which this bill could actually encourage. Is that the “Pure Michigan” we want visitors to find when they visit this summer?

PWIR: The Out-of-State Edition

Tags: Chris Christie, gogebic taconite, great lakes compact, ohio, PWIR, Renewable Energy Standard, water diversion, Wisconsin mining

PWIR werder youngdyke great lakes political week in review michigan

We live in a peninsular state, and sometimes it seems like the Great Lakes can insulate us from what happens in the rest of the country. It is those very lakes, though, which sometimes connect us, more than anything else, to what happens in other states. 

Chris Christie Reminds Us that Renewable Energy is a Bipartisan Solution

Tags: Chris Christie, Clean Energy Jobs, Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney, New Jersey, Renewable Energy, Rick Perry, Tim Pawlenty

Last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie approved the 2011 New Jersey Energy Master Plan. The plan includes the framework to achieve a 22.5% renewable energy standard (RES) by 2021. Governor Christie, a highly regarded conservative and likely future presidential candidate, endorsed the RES as a pivotal component to the state's economic future.

Guest Blog: The Long Slow Demise of Jean Klock Park

Tags: jean klock park

I take special notice of parks now everywhere I go.  Few are ever filled to capacity, and the notion of a park, at least in my

PWIR: Against the Wind

Tags: CAFE standards, great lakes summit, hb 5447, Michigan Primary, PWIR, RES

PWIR, Michigan LCV, Franz, Werder, YoungDyke, RES

At the point where conservation groups, electric utilities, and car manufacturers are all agreeing on energy policy and fuel efficiency standards, you'd think that our elected officials could also get on board (or at least stay out of the way). Sadly, Representative Ray Franz (R - Onekama) continues to make things difficult.

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Gone in 48 Hours

Rep. Franz's Bill Would Put the Brakes on Clean Energy Jobs, but Swift Response Stops It in Its Tracks

Outdoorama!

Tags: conservation, fishing, hunting, outdoorama, RES

Hunters and Anglers Tell Michigan LCV What Matters to Them

Tap a Keg, NOT the Great Lakes!

Tags: mlcv, pint glass, st. patrick's day, water diversion

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner, and there's more to being "green" this year than wearing a shamrock. 

PWIR: Tomorrow's Primary Elections

Tags: asian carp, clean energy, PWIR, RES

Michigan is certainly in the national limelight this week as Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum criss-cross the state vying for the Republican Presidential nomination. They've had plenty to say, but little has been good news for Michigan's environment, which makes us wonder: Where are the Republicans that Teddy Roosevelt would be proud to endorse?

In this Political Week in Review

Voting for Michigan: A state with great energy potential

Tags: 2012 ballot initiative, Michigan, Renewable Energy Standard

photo: Conservation Action Team Member

When I flip the light switch to illuminate my living room, do I ever take a moment to think about where that electrical energy comes from? Hardly ever. But do I care? Absolutely.

Michigan LCV on the Air!

Tags: Energy Independence, GOP, Michigan Primary, Politics, Romney, Santorum

Presidential Candidates, Republicans, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney

With Michigan’s Republican primary only a few days away, the GOP’s presidential hopefuls are crisscrossing the Mitten to voice their opinions on environmental issues and energy independence.

Missing Winter

Tags: climate change, fuel efficiency standards, Michigan, mild winter, Renewable Energy Standard

A few weeks ago, the groundhog saw his shadow and we were told to expect six more weeks of winter, to which I replied, "what winter?" 

PWIR: Cheaper Wind, Costly Coal

Tags: living legacy program, mercury emissions, presidential primary, PWIR, Renewable Energy Standard, transportation bill

Two things stand out in this week's political review: Wind is cheaper than expected and getting cheaper but coal, on the other hand, is more expensive than ever.

Keeping the Trust

Tags: MNRTF, Natural Resources Trust Fund

2012 MNRTF Project Map

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund provides money for the state and for local counties, townships and cities to acquire and develop public recreation

See Your Republican Presidential Candidates in Michigan This Week

Tags: See Your Republican Presidential Candidates in Michigan This Week

Michigan, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Michigan LCV

The 2012 Republican Presidential Primary is too close to call these days and the February 28th Michigan primary is no exception.

PWIR: The National LCV Scorecard, Plus Video

Tags: EIBC, fracking, Keystone XL, LCV Scorecard, PWIR, Renewable Energy Standard

Democracy is all about citizens controlling their own destiny. The underlying assumption in a democracy, of course, is that the citizens are informed on the decisions they make. 

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New Advanced Energy Business Coalition Strengthens Renewables' Political Voice

Tags: Advanced Energy, Michigan Business, Michigan Jobs, Renewable Energy

On Wednesday, Michigan businesses in the renewable energy sector announced the formation of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (EIBC). The coalition aims to promote and accelerate the growth of Michigan’s energy sector by forming business partnerships, securing access to capital, engaging the public and policy makers, advocating for policy, and advancing energy innovation.

Check out our live-tweeting of the EIBC launch!

Tags: Clean Energy Jobs

Energy Innovation Business Council

 We decided to shake things up a bit to report on the launch of the Energy Innovation Business Council today in Lansing. Instead of our standard blog post, we’re inviting you to check out the highlights of Political Director Ryan Werder’s live-tweets of the event. The Energy Innovation Business Council is a new trade group focused on growing Michigan’s advanced energy industry, and we’re very excited to see what new ideas they’ll bring to the table! You can follow Michigan LCV on twitter here.

How does your representative measure up?

Tags: Congress, LCV, Scorecard

Congress LCV Scorecard Michigan
The National League of Conservation Voters released their 2011 Scorecard on Tuesday, allowing voters

PWIR: Enemies at the Gate

Tags: asian carp, Great Lakes, PWIR, Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy Standard

werder youngdyke PWIR michigan lcv MLCV asian carp

 

Finally! Thanks to the Great Lakes Commission, we finally have a gameplan on how to restore

Our new Moms Clean Air Force Organizers Take Off!

Tags: clean air, mercury, Michigan, moms clean air force, mothers

photo: child with inhaler

Forty years ago President Richard Nixon signed into law the federal Clean Air Act. This was at a time when environmentalism was emerging into a movement and a Republican president could take the lead

PWIR: No Justice for Jean Klock Park

Tags: 25 by 25, benishek, jean klock park, PWIR, Renewable Energy Standard

PWIR werder youngdyke political week in review Michigan conservation

The conservation movement in this country began with the idea that natural areas should be preserved and accessible to the public for outdoor recreation. That idea took a big hit this week in Michigan when the United States Court of Appeals allowed Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor to be converted into a private golf course, largely depriving citizens of access to the Lake Michigan sand dunes they’ve enjoyed for generations. 

In this week’s PWIR: 

Climate Change Storytellers

Tags: Andy Hoffman, clean energy, climate change, Lisa Wozniak

Climate Change, Ann Arbor, Lisa Wozniak, Andy Hoffman, Michigan LCV

It is not often that I take two days out of my regular work/mom schedule, including a Saturday, to sit in a room at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

“Proud to be working in the industry of the future”: State of the Union 2012

Tags: Clean Energy Jobs, Obama, RES, State of the Union

Bryan Ritterby on the job at Energetx Composites (Grand Rapids Press File Photo)

Michigan had representation to be proud of during President Obama’s State of the Union on Tuesday night. When the president spoke

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PWIR: Green Light for Green Jobs Petition

Tags: 25 by 25, CAFE standards, PWIR, RES, State of the State, Wolverine

On Friday, the Michigan Board of Canvassers gave the green light to circulate petitions to put the question of Michigan generating 25% of our energy from renewable sources by 2025 on the ballot for this November. You may be thinking, "hooray, yet another board of something approves another thing," but you'd be wrong; this is big news. It is a milestone for the campaign to create tens of thousands of well-paying Michigan jobs. A striking example of what this proposal means to Michigan occurred up north this week when a wind developer called off its plans to build a wind farm.

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In Case You Missed It: Detroit Fuel Efficiency Hearing

Tags: autos, CAFE standards, Clean Energy Jobs, detroit, EPA

Federal officials gathered in Detroit on Tuesday for the first of three national hearings to discuss the new 2017-2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. More than 90 groups and individuals -- including automakers, environmentalists, business leaders, and citizens -- testified in the hearing, which lasted longer than seven hours.

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Thousands of Signatures for Thousands of Jobs

Tags: Ballot Initiative, Energy Independence, Jobs, Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy Standard

michigan energy michigan jobs, michigan lcv, 25 by 25

On Friday, the Michigan Board of Canvassers gave the official go-ahead to begin circulating petitions for a new ballot initiative that will increase Michigan's renewable energy standard to 25% by 2025. Effectively, this means that 25% of all energy used in Michigan must be derived from renewable sources. The highlights can be found here.

PWIR: 25 by '25!

Tags: Clean Energy Jobs, mercury, PWIR, Renewable Energy Standard

image pwir michigan lcv werder youngdyke renewable energy standard

The job opportunity of the decade for Michigan is unveiled! With a proposed amendment to the state's constitution announced this week --- to generate 25% of our energy from renewable sources by 2025 --- Michigan can finally catch up to other Great Lakes states that are currently creating the manufacturing jobs we should be creating.

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What would you do with an extra $240 every year?

Tags: autos, CAFE standards, EPA

In a nation where asthma afflicts 1 out of every 10 schoolchildren, wouldn’t we all breathe a little easier if annual carbon pollution was cut by an amount equal to 70 coal plants? That is precisely what the new clean car standards proposed by Obama’s administration aim to do by 2030. In addition to bringing thousands of new jobs to Michigan, these new standards would end up saving the average Michigan household $240 on gas bills every year. That’s $976 million annual savings across the state!

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Hunters and Anglers Pack the House to Oppose Unnecessary Land Cap

On Tuesday, a Republican state senator presented his public land bill to a room full of hunters and anglers in northern Michigan. Slam dunk, right? Not quite.
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PWIR: Earthquakes and Intrigue

The first PWIR of the new year, and the spirit of the election season is already

Mercury Falling?

Tags: clean energy, Clean Energy Jobs, EPA, mercury

In December 2011, the EPA released the nation’s first toxic metal emissions standards. These changes require power plants to reduce emissions of mercury, arsenic, and cadmium.

Year-end PWIR: 2011... By the Numbers

Tags: clean energy, elections, fracking, Great Lakes, high speed rail, PWIR, Rick Snyder

PWIR year in review 2011 Michigan LCV

Rick Snyder was inaugurated as Governor. Dozens of new environmental laws were passed (and rarely for the better). High speed rail is making it's way to Michigan. "Fracking" made it's way into most Michiganders' vocabularies. The Great Lakes were protected with a veto and improved with hundreds of millions of dollars in federal investment, and all while under constant threat from the Asian Carp.

PWIR: Mercury Rising

Tags: asian carp, clean energy, coal, Great Lakes, mercury, PWIR, sulfide mining

PWIR michigan lcv werder youngdyke mercury asian carp sulfide mining

That beautiful lake in Northern Michigan you love so much? Don’t eat the fish. Elevated levels of mercury - generally a result of coal plant pollution - were reported this week for the Great Lakes and 150 of Michigan’s most remarkable inland lakes. On a more positive note, though, before the Legislature dashed out of Lansing for the holidays, they finally passed a bill to establish greater coordination fighting invasive species in the Great Lakes.

Bills to Protect Kids from Toxic Chemicals Introduced in Michigan

Tags: children, health, Michigan, toxics

Putting limits on toxic chemicals in our children's products. No brainer legislation right?

Who Else Wants $1,000,000,000

Tags: Clean Energy Jobs, Political Week in Review, Pure Michigan, Renewable Energy

PWIR consumers energy clean energy ludington mason county werder youngdyke
Recently, Consumers Energy announced that not only will it abandon plans to build a new coal plant near Bay City, but it will also invest billions of dollars to create jobs and reduce emissions in other ways. Beyond reducing pollution in other existing plants, there will be a $1 billion investment (that’s $1,000,000,000!) in Mason County, to construct a wind farm and update a giant hydro-powered project. Cleaner air, more jobs, and smart energy: We should really do this more often.
 
Also in this week’s Political Week in Review:

Wisconsin Thinks It's Shaped Like a Mitten?!

WI mitten image

On December 1st, Wisconsin's Department of Tourism launched

PWIR: A Really, Really Good Week.

PWIR political week in review Michigan LCV Snyder veto

Governor Snyder came through big time this week by issuing the first veto of his administration in defense

Arigato, Gracias, Merci, Dankscheen, Thank you!

Tags: Governor, Rick Snyder

Very soon Governor Rick Snyder will veto a House and Senate bill that would severely limit his ability to protect the Great Lakes. If he does, then it’s all thanks to you.

The Not-So-Super Committee

Dave Camp Fred Upton Super Committee Fail

Last summer’s debt ceiling debate left a lot of us shaking our heads and wondering how our government got so off track. To solve the deadlock in Congress, leadership cut a deal. A team of Senators and Representatives formed a special committee to tackle our country’s mounting debt and deficit.

PWIR: It Ain't Fair, Congressman

image political week in review michigan lcv werder youngdyke benishek oil

 While Michigan families pay about $6000 each year in federal taxes, the fact that oil companies get $6000 each minute in taxpayer subsidies is simply not being received well by voters. Just ask Northern Michigan’s Congressman, Dan Benishek. His constituents don’t at all agree with him about that arrangement being “fair."

Also in this week's Political Week in Review:

Grand Rapids takes the LEED in Sustainable Housing

photo: LEED house

The Alliance for Environmental Sustainability (AES), located in Grand Rapids, MI contributed this article for the Michigan LCV blog.

Public Land, Public Trust

Yesterday was Nov. 15. That may seem like a meaningless statement to some, but where I’m from, it’s like saying that yesterday was Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Independence Day, and my birthday all rolled into one: it was Opening Day for firearm deer hunting.

House Bill Aims to Remove State Power, Puts Great Lakes Protections at Risk

phot: Great Lakes

Governor Snyder campaigned on a commitment to protect the Great Lakes. This week, he could handcuff his own ability to protect them.

PWIR: Election Week In Review!

If all politics are local, it was great to see so many communities with local issues on the ballot last Tuesday. With over 80% of the ballot questions that sought higher property taxes in return for improved services being approved by voters, what does this Election Day tell us about voters' thoughts, in general?

Don't Forget to Vote!

As many might know, and as many more surely forgot, today is election day in many municipalities across Michigan.

Voiding of Saugatuck Dunes settlement supports local government

photo credit: erin wilkinson - saugatuck dunes

Imagine this: As a hard-working Michigander, you have saved carefully over the years

PWIR: Election Day is Tomorrow. Are You Ready?

image PWIR Michigan LCV MLCV benishek recalls werder dingell elections

Election Day is on Tuesday! Are you prepared to vote in your local elections? As you’ll read in this week’s PWIR, there can be massive statewide repercussions from even the smallest local votes. Find out how and why. Also, find your polling place.

Yet Another Coal Ash Spill- This Time Into Lake Michigan

coal ash spill

On October 31, 2011, a coal ash pond collapsed on the shore of Lake Michigan in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, spilling 200 dump trucks’ worth of coal ash into the water.  

A Ray of Hope for the Saugatuck Dunes

It’s been a turbulent few months for dune preservationists in Saugatuck, many felt like David standing up to Goliath only to have the battle ended prematurely by a shady backroom deal.

PWIR: Snyder: "Continued failure is not an option."

image PWIR michiganlcv werder snyder infrastructure lieef
While delivering a special message on Michigan's sagging infrastructure system last week, Governor Snyder noted that, "continued failure is not an option." He's absolutely right. Our infrastructure in Michigan right now really is an ongoing failure. Improving it is integral to conservation and it touches nearly every action you will take today, from driving to work in the morning to brushing your teeth at night. An overview of some innovative ideas to fix things up is in this week’s Political Week in Review:
 

This Year's Scariest Halloween Costume? Toxic Facepaint!

Photo: Toxic Facepaint

Trick-o-treaters beware. No, it's not the haunted houses nor goblins you should fear this Halloween season. If you're really looking for a fright, check out the report released by HealthyStuff.org this week on children's makeup kits. The results are certainly scarier than any Halloween costume.

PWIR: Cadmium Jewelry? You Shouldn't Have!

pwir michigan lcv werder childrens health schuette mercury rail and fracking

The giant yellow rubber ducky invaded Lansing again on Tuesday. As always, it symbolized a day dedicated to meeting with legislators on children’s environmental health.

In this particular case, it was in town for introduction of a bipartisan bill banning certain heavy metals in children’s products. That’s the good news. Scroll down for the bad news in this week’s Political Week in Review.

PWIR: A Smorgasbord of Clean Energy and Water News

image michigan lcv pwir political week in review by ryan werder renewable energy
Sometimes it's hard to find coverage related to clean energy and clean water in the news. That's not the case this week, though. Not by a long shot.

Electric Vehicle Town Hall gets revved up in Grand Rapids

photo: EV Panelists

Who knew that taking a Subaru into the shop could generate so much buzz?

PWIR: On Track to a More Modern Michigan

image Michigan transit high speed rail LCV werder PWIR political week in review

 High speed rail is coming to Michigan. On Friday, the Lieutenant Governor signed a bill that flew through both chambers in a widely bipartisan fashion that will provide high speed rail from Dearborn to Kalamazoo and dramatically cut down on the length of trips from Detroit to Chicago.

Welcome to a special transit edition of the Political Week in Review!

PWIR: Alllllllll aboard!

image pwir werder high speed rail michigan politics political week in review

You may have missed it during your long commute, but there was largely-unnoticed bipartisan vote in the Michigan State Senate last week that enables high-speed rail to stretch across a large stretch of the state. With this vote, Michigan is on the fast track to the future of transportation!

Mark Schauer, In Support of the Michigan LCV on 9/22/11

Former Congressman Mark Schauer urged his supporters to become ours at the Earth Tones Preglow event on September 22, 2011. Mark Schauer is an environmental champion, and one who has helped to further our mission since joining the board of the Michigan LCV earlier this year. We hope that his commitment to the environment will inspire you to act as well. 

PWIR: TNT in the UP

image PWIR political week in review lcv kennecott DEQ earthtones

I hate that Michiganders have to be reminded of the influence of the courts on our environment in such an… explosive manner. Will it take the destruction of a sacred Native American site and fouling of a pristine river to remind us that judges are elected officials, too?

PWIR: Congratulations! Your Energy Bill Just Got Cheaper.

political week in review pwir michigan lcv Ryan Werder cheaper renewable energy

If your electricity comes from Consumer’s Energy, then your energy bills just got cheaper. A $2.50 monthly surcharge just went down 75% due to lower-than-expected costs for renewable energy. At that reduced cost, perhaps it’s about time that the state consider investing in even more clean energy.

In this week’s Political Week in Review:

The Proudly Accessorized Girl’s Nightmare –Cadmium in Her Jewelry!

photo: scary jewelry

…And what the manufacturers aren’t telling her, could cost them her business.

I’ll admit it. I’ve worn cadmium jewelry. It’s the kind of jewelry that glitters in the sun or dangles from a wrist, similar to most other jewelry I’ve worn. But until I visited this website, I never knew my jewelry could contain cadmium, or that even small exposure to cadmium can cause cancer.

PWIR: Obama Can Afford to Ignore You

PWIR political week in review by Ryan Werder Michigan LCV

I just couldn’t bring myself to go see the President in Detroit yesterday after what he did last week. His decision to ignore serious air quality concerns by swatting back the EPA’s proposed update to the fourteen year-old ozone standard will have consequences for public health. There is an important lesson for conservation-minded voters hidden inside the repercussions of his decision.

An attempt to unravel that mystery and other important news in this week’s Political Week in Review.

Why Amtrak, Why?

Photo: Amtrak Delay

I know there's a lot more I could do, but I generally try to do right by the environment: I don't have a car, I keep my house painfully cold in the winter, I try to eat locally, and I like trains. In fact, I would like to take the train to Detroit this evening.

PWIR: Natural Gas Debate Explodes

image michigan lcv pwir ryan werder natural gas environment

The arguments surrounding the future of Michigan’s energy supply are heating up and, in this case, they are fueled by natural gas. In the wake of a new report touting the economic benefit Michigan may gain from an increased adoption of natural gas-powered electricity, political fissures are sprouting as quickly as those in a newly fracked gas well. That, and more, in this week’s Political Week in Review.

Taller In Person: Meeting President Obama by Ryan Mark-Griffin

photo: Ryan and Obama

Last week, as part of my Michigan LCV internship, I was fortunate enough to meet the President when he came to an advanced battery plant in Holland, MI.

PWIR: What's More Important than Fighting About Light Bulbs?

image PWIR michigan lcv ryan werder environment pure michigan GOP

With the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act under assault at the federal level and deregulation gone wild in Lansing, bickering about what light bulbs are used in your home is like worrying about fixing the disposal as your house goes up in flames around you.



Here are a few of the infinitely more important things that we’ll discuss in this week's Political Week in Review:

See video

Sanjiv Sinha: Planting Trees to Restore Brownfield Sites

One of the most prominent and underutilized brownfield sites located within the Saginaw Bay Watershed is affectionately called Chevy in the Hole,

PWIR: With Presidential Fanfare, Michigan Advances Battery Industry

image Political Week in Review Michigan League of Conservation Voters LCV Werder
Emerging from behind a two-story tall American flag, President Obama waved to the crowd gathered at Johnson Controls’ plant in Holland

PWIR: The Importance of Last Tuesday's Elections

photo political week in review PWIR

If only we could replace the members of Congress with 2011 Michigan voters, Uncle Sam might still have a better credit score than me. Despite rabid shouts from Congressional Republicans decrying new revenue of any kind, dozens of Michigan cities and townships watched with relief Tuesday night as their citizens voted in favor of a host of local ballot initiatives, votes that basically preserve essential services with new taxes.

The importance of those decisions, and more, in this week’s Political Week in Review:

PWIR: Nothing About the Debt Ceiling. I Promise.

image PWIR political week in review ryan werder afe huntsman enbridge

After this sentence, I promise I won’t say the words “debt ceiling.” We are all watching this pathetic show run its course in Washington with different synonyms for “dysfunctional mess” running through our heads, but the two words I keep thinking are that “elections matter.”

It takes a remarkable political farce to make Lansing seem like an oasis, but Washington seems to pull it off. Therefore, ignoring that issue-that-shall-not-be-named, in this Political Week in Review we will cover:

See video

Labor and Environmental Groups Join Forces to Fight Unnecessary Legislation

Supporters gather along the Grand River

Leaving the power to protect the Great Lakes in the hands of the federal government is scary stuff. So scary that citizens and groups across the state are realizing that fighting Senate Bill 272/House Bill 4326 is not only a fight to protect our environment, it is a fight to protect our jobs and way of life too.

PWIR: It Was a Sham.

image PWIR michiganlcv political week in review werder saugatuck

It was a rough way to end the week: After nearly four hours of passionate testimony, the Saugatuck Township Board ignored the pleas of their residents and read a pre-written statement to accompany a unanimous decision to surrender 200 pristine acres of the Saugatuck Dunes to a billionaire’s competing vision of a hotel, a marina, approximately 50 "dwellings", a restaurant, and golf course. It was a sham.

See video

PWIR (Special Edition): This Time, Goliath May Win

image michigan lcv political week in review blog

Please enjoy this special edition of the Political Week in Review; special, by virtue of our Executive Director

David vs. Goliath…and This Time Goliath May Just Win….

photo McClendon vs. Dunes

Named one of America’s most endangered historic places, the Saugatuck Dunes and the surrounding area is a magical, untouched natural beauty

PWIR: Recess? What Recess?

image PWIR logo michigan lcv political week in review

It was as true in grade school as it is now: Recess is an exciting time. With the Michigan Legislature on recess for the summer, Lansing feels deserted, but there is plenty of action going on elsewhere across the state. In this week’s Political Week in Review:

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Tell Saugatuck Township Officials No Means No

On July 18th Saugatuck Township will hold a public hearing on

Snyder Administration Approves Permit for new Coal Plant in Rogers City, a plant that will likely never be built

photo: coal plant

On June 29, 2011 the Snyder Administration approved a permit for the construction of a new coal-fired power plant in Rogers City.

Asian Carp Update: Michigan Senators Introduce Invasive Species Prevention Council

photo Asian Carp

Asian Carp won’t stop swimming and turn around once they realize that they have crossed from Michigan to Illinois. Unsurprisingly, seldom has an invisible

It’s Up to Governor Snyder Now

photo Governor Snyder 4326 federal regulations

If Governor Snyder signs House Bill 4326 into law it would restrict Michigan's ability to protect the Great Lakes by tying us to weaker standards that are decided upon in Washington. 

An Executive Director's work is never done

Lisa Wozniak, Washington D.C., National LCV, EPA, Lisa Jackson,

Whirlwind? Roller coaster? Those are the first words that come to mind as I think about what I've been up to over the past 14 days.

PWIR: The Map that Matters

image michigan lcv pwir political week in review environment

Ten years ago. That was the last time a brand new map mattered this much. On Friday, the legislature revealed the new proposed lines under the redistricting process that is required by the constitution. The implications of the new districts, including yours, are huge for Michigan.

PWIR: Michigan's Sportsmen Take Aim at Clean Air Attacks

image michigan lcv pwir political week in review environment

If there is one group of voters you don’t want to be on the wrong side of in Michigan, it’s our hunters and anglers. Their firepower at the ballot box, not in a blind or layout boat, is what legislators should fear. This week, they took aim at the attacks on the EPA and the Clean Air Act.

In this week’s Political Week in Review:

Toxic Chemicals in Children's Toys?--My Boys Deserve Better.

photo: boy in kayak

As the mother of two growing boys, I do my best to ensure that they are surrounded by love, supported in their endeavors, and protected from any and all threats they may encounter on a day-to-day basis.

Another Reason to Keep the Great Lakes in a Great Condition

photo michigan

It’s hard to find a Michigan citizen who hasn’t made a trip to our coastline to enjoy swimming, boating, or some other water-related activity on one of the Great Lakes.

PWIR: The Water that Flows Under the Bridge

image michigan lcv pwir political week in review environment

Last week most of Lansing's politicians moved to Mackinac Island for a major annual conference. Interestingly, despite being surrounded by water, there was not much of a focus on it. Frankly, most of the talk this week was on the proposed International Trade Crossing with Canada. While there are some environmental implications there, this Political Week in Review focuses on other important connections to Michigan's future.

Michigan LCV staff is headed to Washington D.C.

It’s always difficult to know what to pack for these trips to Washington, DC. The clothes are easy enough: prepare for the heat. The harder part is what arguments to bring to

PWIR: Three News Items You Should Know

image PWIR michigan lcv political week in review environment

Last week was so action-packed it’s going to be hard to fit it all into this single Political Week in Review. We saw a harsh budget pass both chambers, a bill that would weaken the state’s ability to protect the Great Lakes ready to pass in the House, and a newly issued set of instructions regarding fracking across Michigan. Suffice to say, it was a busy week.

PWIR: Time to get strict about "no stricter" legislation

A dangerous bill that would tie Michigan’s hands in the effort to protect our Great Lakes is moving through the State House, much as it did through the State Senate two weeks ago. As Michiganders continued to fight back against this bad case of déjà vu, bits of good news also sprang up throughout the week.

In this week’s Political Week in Review:

We did it: 136 Votes!

image michigan lcv rapidyes

 Fantastic news!

Dunes Still Under Attack as Summer Approaches

As a parent, I know how the calendar gets jammed up with all sorts of things, whether it's dance, sports, music, legomaniacs, STEM, lemonade stands, etc.

See video

Thank You, Florida: Michigan Receives $200 Million for High-Speed Rail

High-speed rail, Rick Snyder, Michigan, transportation

 It’s been a week since Governor Snyder and U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood announced the federal funding of $200 million for various transportation projects, the majority of which is going to the development of a high-speed rail system between Kalamazoo and Dearborn, but the excitement is still fresh. The money will be spent upgrading current track which spans 135 miles between the two cities. This is the first step in a plan to eventually connect Detroit to Chicago through high-speed rail.

PWIR: What Do a 25ft Rubber Ducky and a Chevy Volt Have in Common?

image PWIR michigan lcv political week in review

On Tuesday the 25ft rubber ducky and a fleet of electric vehicles shared the lawn of the Capitol in Lansing. With children’s environmental health advocates thronging through the Capitol that day, and the Big Three testifying in favor of the future of electric vehicles in Michigan, the juxtaposition of these two symbols on the Capitol lawn was coincidental, though not as disconnected as you may think. They both represent essential answers to how we improve our quality of life in our everyday lives in Michigan.

Because the Great Lakes Cannot Vote—We Must Vote for the Lakes

photo: traverse city water

I pull into Traverse City just as the last sunlight of the day dips into the shadowy bay.

PWIR: It's Hard to Reinvent Michigan with Your Hands Tied

image PWIR michigan lcv political week in review

For most voters last November, "reinventing Michigan" meant bolstering our struggling economy.  This week, however, the Senate interpreted it as a giant step backwards in the stewardship of our remarkable Great Lakes. Their bill binds Michigan’s hands in how we protect our lands and waters by handcuffing the Governor's ability to make any positive regulations beyond the weak ones on the federal books.

Fracking: Now they're listening, but we still need your support

photo water and fracking don't fix

Thanks to citizens throughout Michigan, Governor Snyder and the Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) have

PWIR: The Dangerous Decision of the Michigan Supreme Court

image PWIR michigan lcv political week in review

It only took four months, but this week the new majority on the Michigan Supreme Court issued a decision that severely limits a citizen’s ability to sue the state over potentially devastating environmental damage. In other words, if the state approves a new dumping operation in your local river, you are pretty much out of luck in challenging it. 

The roots of this new decision are firmly planted in political, not judicial, soil and we’ll dig into it in this Political Week in Review. Other subjects include:

PWIR: The Green [blank] Edition

image PWIR michigan lcv political week in review

Green Leaders, Green Scissors, Green Lawmakers; all of these green “things” are essentially asking who, or what, are the most environmentally conscious in each category’s many possibilities: Individuals, government spending, and elected officials.

Fortunately, there are actually some answers to these questions. In this week’s Political Week in Review we’ll examine each of them:

PWIR: Word Search

image PWIR michigan lcv political week in review

I drove past a Hummer on the highway yesterday and almost felt bad for the guy. With gas expected to hit $4.00 per gallon this week, even filling my little Ford Focus is getting pretty unbearable. With this stark reminder literally looming over so many street corners, it begs the question of how to make our energy more affordable not only for our cars, but for our homes and businesses, as well.

In this week’s Political Week in Review, we’ll take a look at how the ever-convoluted worlds of Lansing and Washington are attempting to answer that ever-present question:

PWIR: After 101 Days in Office, How Green is Your Governor?

image PWIR michigan lcv political week in review

It’s said that the first 100 days of an administration are its most productive and important. So how is Governor Snyder doing so far? Undoubtedly, these past 101 days were nothing if not eventful. For that matter, the past seven days were pretty busy, too.

But that’s what the Political Week in Review is for. In this week’s PWIR:

UPDATE: EPA Attacks Fail in Senate, Succeed in House

Image Debbie Stabenow Michigan LCV

Over the past two days, a series of votes were taken in both the US House and Senate that would have gutted the EPA's ability to protect public health from air pollution. Those efforts, fortunately, all fell short in the Senate, though not in the House. Below are the votes for our Michigan senators and the description of each amendment.

Please also check out the joint statement on these votes by League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski and Michigan LCV Executive Director Lisa Wozniak.

Highlighting a Bipartisan Opportunity: High Speed Rail

image high speed rail michigan lcv

Though multiple Republican governors have rejected federal high-speed rail (HSR) funding, the issue does not have to be one of partisanship.

PWIR: A Ban on Offshore Wind Power in Michigan?

Elections matter. Before the last election, the 101st State House District in Northwest Michigan boasted one of the most forward-thinking legislators on clean energy in the state. Today, the new representative from that district is proposing a ban on offshore wind energy in Michigan. 
 
See video

Michigan's Call to Protect the EPA

photo: coal plants and homes

The United States senate will soon vote on whether or not to protect one of the most important environmental watchdogs in our country: the Environmental Protection Agency.

Political Week in Review: EPA Showdown in the Senate

photo logo michigan lcv PWIR political week in review

Don't think that just because Congress is in recess, they weren't working. In fact, as they go back to Washington this week, many of the cries they heard

Practical Travel from Detroit to Chicago: Amtrak vs. I-94

photo michigan transit high speed rail LCV

For the average Michigander, traveling from Detroit to Chicago is not an infrequent occurrence. In preparing for your trip, the first question, of course, is to decide on which form of transportation is most logical for the excursion at hand. Or did you just assume that hopping in the car was the only way?

Political Week in Review: The Legend of Le Nain Rouge

photo logo michigan lcv PWIR political week in review

In Detroit, there is an annual tradition of chasing Le Nain Rouge (the Red Dwarf) from the city, an evil little being that is said to have presaged nearly every major disaster in the city’s history. So, in the spirit of this peculiar festival, let’s take a look at what potential environmental mischief we, as a state, should be chasing away from Michigan.

Political Week in Review: Meltdown

photo logo michigan lcv PWIR political week in review

 The earthquake in Japan was so massive, it literally shifted the entire globe's rotational axis. Its impact on the global energy debate may be just as seismic due to the now-leaking nuclear reactors it damaged. Of course, for now, the devastation of so many lives and cities is the immediate and necessary concern as our thoughts remain with the families of Japan.

(At the end of this PWIR you will find a link to donate to help the victims; please consider a small contribution toward the enormous rebuilding that is needed now).

See video

A Small Step for High-Speed Rail in America

photo high speed rail

So far "thirty five states have accepted high-speed intercity rail money". Even so, after all is said and done, America may still be leaps and bounds behind other nations in rapid, environmentally sound transportation.

Even Mad Men Agree: High-Speed Rail Awareness Levels are Too Low

mad men lcv michigan high speed rail hsr

Though President Obama is seeking to allocate $53 billion to fund a high-speed rail system that would eventually be at the fingertips of up to 80% of Americans, there is a startling lack of knowledge regarding the subject across the country.

See video

Michigan Political Week in Review: March 1 - 7

photo logo michigan lcv PWIR political week in review

If someone gave you a $2.4 billion check, what would you do first? Personally, I’d go with a king-size thank you note. But not the Governor of Florida; he just sent it back to the Feds because he doesn’t believe in high-speed rail. Good news for Michigan, though, as part of that money may now be available for us to use to lower emissions and discourage sprawl via improved mass transit.

DC Trip Journal: Great Lakes Day

It’s always a crazy time in DC. For me and Lisa on this particular trip, though, it was more hectic than usual. Flying in with four students from University Prep Academy, their teacher, and colleagues from the Third 90 program, we managed to drag ourselves to the airport by 5:00am to be in DC in time for the kick-off of the Great Lakes Days.

60% of Republicans in Rep. Upton's District Say "Let the EPA do its Job"

photo: clean air

When your own constituents, the majority of whom are from your own party, disagree with your decision to let polluters off the hook, maybe it’s time to change course.

Are You Up For a Challenge?

photo michgian lcv logo

Take our challenge today and make your online gift to Michigan LCV go twice as far!

Michigan Political Week in Review: Feb 22 - 28

photo logo michigan lcv PWIR political week in review

It’s hard to think of little else but enormous wealth with all last week's Oscar hype: blockbuster box office sums, hundred-thousand dollar outfits, even miniature gold-plated statues. But not all excess wealth goes to such benign outlets like ostentatious eveningwear. The kind of money that is being thrown around right now --- to advance dangerous drilling practices, attack middle-class workers, and destabilize state and federal budgets --- is subtly moving around in sums that would make even Hollywood stars blush.

Getting to know the Kochs

Radioactive Drinking Water May Be Coming to Michigan

No, unfortunately, it's not a new kind of energy drink. If Michigan follows the path of Pennsylvania in loose enforcement of massive hydrofracking operations across the state, we may also be at risk of radiation levels literally 2,122 times the standard in our drinking water.

The New York Times expose on the lax regulations on fracking and their impacts is lengthy, but it is a must-read

Action Alert: Urge State Senators to Protect Our Kids From Toxic Chemicals

photo boy in airplane: credit Leisa Thompson

BPA in your baby's bottle? Toxic flame retardants in your grandson's mattress? Cadmium in your niece's jewelry? Enough is enough.

Michigan Political Week in Review: Feb 15 - 21

photo logo michigan lcv PWIR political week in review

It may seem that all you hear out of Lansing or Washington right now is the word “budget” being either preceded or followed by a string of expletives. And there is a reason everyone is so worked up about it right now; Governor Snyder is right to call this our defining moment. Everything else done by government for the remainder of these next two years will be impacted in some way – and often dramatically – by this budget. 

Natural gas leak in Michigan happens while images of Kalamazoo oil spill still linger

Photo: Fracking Operation

While the Enbridge oil spill happened over 7 months ago, for many of us the images of oil slicked ducks and men in hard hats wading in the river are still very vivid memories.

Michigan Political Week in Review: Feb 8 - 14

photo logo michigan lcv PWIR political week in review

Brace yourself, because here comes the budget. Deep cuts across the state are presently sitting benignly in a neat stack of papers. Maybe even a nice binder. It is a fine disguise for what Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley called an “atomic bomb.” But don’t race off to your still-provisioned Y2K bunker, yet. This past week gave us plenty of reminders of the battles we must continue to fight, even with these budget bombs dropping around us.

Michigan Programs Can Serve as Building Block for Clean Energy Future

The Michigan of today faces a challenge if we want to become the successful Michigan of tomorrow. 

Michigan's Congressman Upton Key to Reform Chemical Laws

Photo Congressman Fred Upton

In 1976 the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) became our nation’s primary law aimed at regulating chemicals used in everyday products. However, this law never worked

Michigan Political Week in Review: Feb. 1-7

photo logo michigan lcv PWIR political week in review

“Imported from Detroit.” For those watching the Super Bowl last night, that Chrysler commercial may have been the best part of the evening. Watching the Big Three --- and, yes, I believe that moniker certainly deserves to be restored --- reestablish themselves on the national stage was exciting; especially seeing the electrified Chevy Volt featured so prominently.

See video

Anglers' Fight for Kolke Creek Deserves Support

photo dead fish michigan

Michigan LCV worked hard on a Supreme Court race for a reason. We understand very clearly how important Michigan's highest court is in defending our state's natural resources.

Milliken Matters: Michigan LCV's Honorary Board Chairman Highlighted in Hour Detroit Magazine

photo milliken lcv michigan hour detroit

Committed, determined, kind and compassionate, Governor William Milliken and his wife Helen lead a life that is admired by many.

Both are examples of civility and grace through incredibly trying times, never bowing to the malice and sheer nastiness found so often in today's political world. Their heads held high, and with a humility virtually unknown in Lansing and Washington, Governor and Mrs. Milliken are heroes for many in the arenas of environmental protection, prisoner and women's rights, and --- due to their deep commitment to our urban centers --- Detroit.

Michigan’s Oil Spill Story Ripples to the West

photo Keystone Pipeline

This week’s Political Week In Review commemorates the six-month anniversary of the Kalamazoo oil spill. Last July, an underground pipeline carrying crude oil from a transport facility in Indiana to a refinery in Ontario burst, covering 30 miles of the Kalamazoo River in slick, brown oil—Tar Sands oil.

Michigan Political Week in Review: Jan. 25-31

photo logo michigan lcv PWIR political week in review

Wednesday was the six-month anniversary of nearly 1 million gallons of oil pouring into the Kalamazoo River. My own version of an anniversary card, thoughts on the president's State of the Union, and an early glance at the importance of the 2012 Senate elections in this edition of the Political Week in Review.

A Six-month Anniversary-of-the-Oil-Spill Card from Michigan to Enbridge, Inc.

Dearest Enbridge,

See video

Michigan Political Week in Review: Jan. 18-24

photo logo michigan lcv PWIR political week in review

George Washington gave the first in-person State of the Union, Jefferson discontinued the tradition by submitting his thoughts to Congress in writing, and over a century later, Woodrow Wilson revived the tradition. Somewhere in there, a Michigan head of state decided to pick up on that idea and thus began the tradition of the State of the State which, on Tuesday, was continued by Gov. Rick Snyder. Dissecting the consequences of that speech on Michigan’s natural resources will be our focus here today; the State of the Stated, if you will.

If Washington Can Charge It, Why Can't Michigan?

photo charging station

As Michiganders, I think it’s fair to say we’re attached to our cars and highways. The freedom to travel, the ownership of a vehicle, the satisfaction we get from a freshly washed car --- all these things stem from our historic legacy in car manufacturing and innovation.

$3 Gas, Alaska Pipeline Leak Another Reason to Support EVs

photo chevy volt

2011 might be the year that is stamped as the beginning of a transition from oil and gas to electric and solar.

Michigan Political Week in Review: Jan. 11-17

photo logo michigan lcv PWIR political week in review

It's that time of the year in Michigan when all that is talked about are cars and the Auto Show. I wish that was my situation, too. If it was, I could simply write about all the glowing reviews of the electric vehicles at the show and ignore the fact that the Democratic leadership in the State House came out in support of new coal plants this week. Fortunately, at least the Republicans weren’t as eager to put things in reverse, as the Snyder Administration announced it will carry on the legal battle against the Asian carp.

The Year of the Electric Vehicle

How Green Is Rick Snyder? Take the Poll

photo how green governor rick snyder michigan

Our "How Green Is Your Governor?" tool is featured on the AnnArbor.com website, along with a poll. 

For those unfamiliar with the tool, we're using it to track the actions of Gov. Rick Snyder and his administration, and highlight the actions as positive, neutral or negative.

Michigan Political Week in Review: Jan. 4-10

photo logo michigan lcv PWIR political week in review

There is hardly time to summarize last week before we dive to into this one. Already, today, we have a new Supreme Court Justice, Appellate Judge Brian Zahra. Although we are not thrilled with Governor Snyder’s selection for the high bench, we are still very happy with a different legal decision regarding an unnecessary coal plant. How long that will stand now, however, is another question. In short, this is one of those times where the judicial and the political worlds overlap with wide-ranging consequences.

Michigan LCV Launches “How Green is Your Governor?”

Snyder Names Zahra to Supreme Court

photo zahra michigan supreme court

Just before the New Year, Michigan got an all-too-brief taste of what a State Supreme Court, with a majority of justices that properly interpret environmental law, could do.

George Weeks Passes Baton to MLCV, Other Groups

photo george weeks record eagle

Columnist George Weeks was kind enough to include Michigan LCV in a list of groups that must continue to push for natural resources protection in the wake of Glen Sheppard's death.

Sheppard, as editor of The North Woods Call, was a strong voice for Michigan's woods and waters. He died last week at age 74. 

Snyder Administration Sends a Strong, Positive Signal on Coal

photo michigan lcv coal snyder holland

We asked for proof that Gov. Rick Snyder was serious about his commitment to Michigan's natural resources and environment. Speaking only five days into his tenure, we have to say that he appears pretty serious about it. We couldn't be happier.

On Glen Sheppard: The Voice of Michigan's Woods & Waters

photo north woods charlevoix

Michigan lost a true hero today. Glen Sheppard, publisher of The North Woods Call, passed away at age 74, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Michigan Political Week in Review: Dec. 28 - Jan. 3

photo logo michigan lcv PWIR political week in review

A new year, a new government. As of New Year's Day, we officially have an entirely new one here in Michigan. With the holidays and all their accompanying family time, gifts, (hangovers), and travels behind us, we are all returning to work with a brand new political backdrop behind us, as well.

The Inauguration of the Snyder Era

See video

Looking Back, Looking Forward on Michigan's Environment

photo 2010 calendar

 A recent year-end list named Michigan's oil spill as one of the worst environmental disasters of the year. 2010 was a year of let-downs, as in the oil spill and midterm elections, and victories, in seeing coal plant projects delayed. What does 2011 hold, and what else should we remember from this year? Read on. 

The Ups

Michigan’s First Chevy Volt (Quietly) Hits the Road

photo chevy volt charging

December 2010 will be a month to remember in electric vehicle history. This month marks the first time that an American-made electric car has been delivered and sold to the public.

Michigan Political Week in Review: Dec. 7 -13

photo logo michigan lcv PWIR political week in review

What happened in the world of Michigan politics last week to warrant a whole new Political Week in Review today? Aside from force of habit, there is still plenty to report from Washington and in regards to elected officials winding down their terms. Be careful, though. With some of the news coming out of D.C., the Michigan roads aren’t the only things to take with caution right now.

Michigan Takes Charge in Washington

Michigan LCV's Doug Glancy Blogs from COP16 in Cancun, Mexico

photo cop16 logo climate change michigan

Michigan LCV Board Member Doug Glancy is in Cancun, Mexico, for COP16, the U.N. Climate Change Conference. The conference is an international event, with the potential for reaching a framework to fight global warming.

Do We Want to Call Them "The Fair Lakes"?

photo lake huron conservation strategy

Welcome to Michigan, home of The Fair Lakes. Has quite a ring to it, right?

Michigan Political Week in Review: Nov. 30 - Dec. 6

photo logo michigan lcv PWIR political week in review

How quickly things change. This past week, the incoming Snyder Administration announced it will re-split the MDNRE back into its former Department of Natural Resources and Department of Environmental Quality. Additionally, announcements were made as to the overall organization of state government.

Offshore Wind Deliberated, But What Now?

photo offshore wind

The House Energy and Technology Committee convened Tuesday to discuss the future of offshore wind power in Michigan. The current bill was discussed and debated, but no conclusion was reached, and it seems as though the legislation will not move further before the end of session on Thursday.

Robert Martel: New Governor Must Connect Jobs and Environment

photo robert bob martel michigan lcv

Michigan Governor-Elect Rick Snyder will soon have his hands on the steering wheel of state government. He needs to guide us toward a brighter economic future, without polluting the environment along the way.

Asian Carp Invade Grand Rapids

Tired of Turkey? How about Asian carp?

The West Michigan Environmental Action Council and San Chez Bistro will be serving up the invasive fish at a Fight 'Em & Fillet 'Em dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 30, in Grand Rapids.

See video

Michigan Building International Solar Market

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There is a market for solar energy, and Auburn Hills-based United Solar is holding a strong footing.

Michigan's Environment: What We're Thankful For

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For Thanksgiving 2010, we’d like to focus on what’s going right in Michigan.
 

What’s the purpose of a Michigan Senator? A disgruntled newcomer asks the question

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As somewhat of a newcomer to the world of politics, who has lived away from Michigan for a number of years, I have a question. What’s the purpose of our Michigan state senators?

Michigan Political Week in Review: Nov. 9 - 15

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Michigan is still digesting the results of the election while Lansing works to finish the work still left on its plate.

While we must focus on the new leadership being selected in the Legislature and the new appointments being made by the governor-elect, the ongoing lame duck session also requires our attention. That, and the giant Rubber Ducky which made an appearance on the Capitol lawn this week.

Lansing’s New Leadership

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Chevy Volt Test Drive: Gear Up, Michigan

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A couple of years ago, my husband and I were driving to the store in our new, manual transmission car with our 5-year-old nephew.

At one point, my husband clumsily shifted gears and we heard a faint cry from the backseat, “Uncle Timmy, why are you driving over sticks?!” After we stopped laughing, we found that our nephew had misunderstood what his mom told him about the new car. “It’s a stick shift,” we calmly explained, “Uncle Timmy isn’t really driving over sticks." Although it sure did feel like it.

First Gear

Michigan Political Week in Review: Nov. 1-8

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It's difficult to write a Political Week in Review when facing the prospect of summarizing a seismic shift in the political make up of the state and nation.

Election Recap and Rallying Call

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The dust is settling and the landscape isn’t pretty. Many conservation champions were

Post Election Season 2010: Just the Beginning

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The midterm elections are over. And you might think it's time for us to sit back and enjoy some hot cider. In reality, our work is only just beginning.

We are hitting the ground running and making sure the next two years are good ones for the environment in Michigan.

One More Commercial: Aaron Bailey v. John Pappageorge

We know you've probably had your fill of political commercials, but here's one more, about the race between Aaron Bailey and John Pappageorge. Have a good Election Day. 

Vote, To Decide Michigan's Future

It all comes down to Tuesday, Nov. 2, Election Day. 

Michigan LCV Roadtrip Journal: Getting out the Vote

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We traveled well over 500 miles, knocked hundreds of doors, made dozens of phone calls, and spoke with four great candidates and a former President of the United States. It was a great Get Out the Vote roadtrip for Michigan LCV.

You can check out a brief slideshow of our trip.

Michigan Political Week in Review: Oct. 18 - 25

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This will be the last Political Week in Review before the election. We’re that close. Personally, I’m writing from Grand Rapids, where Michigan LCV is on the road knocking doors for our candidates in the Northern and Western parts of our state. Included in this PWIR you’ll find:

Clean Energy Candidates Enjoy Support, Poll Finds

What's good for Michigan's environment also is good for Congressional candidates.

Michigan Political Week in Review: Oct. 12-18

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Halloween isn’t the only scary thing coming up on the calendar in the next couple of weeks. The choices that voters face on Nov. 2 are starker than ever as the candidates contrast themselves more each day.

As these campaigns evolve and make their final pitches to what voters care about most (hint: jobs), we are all forced to dig harder than ever to find what lies behind the 30-second ads and the five-second sound bites.

My apologies for the one-day delay in posting this, but things are busier than ever here.

Governor’s Race:

Mayor Heartwell on Climate Change: We Must Adapt Or Die

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For years now, as mayors, state and federal legislators, governors and presidents have tuned in to the reality of climate change and begun the work of mitigation, the notion of adapting to climate change has been anathema.

Surely, acknowledging the need to adapt to warmer temperatures and all that implies is tantamount to surrender. We must be about the work of saving the planet, reversing the trends of higher temperatures, rising ocean levels and falling Great Lakes levels; adapting is admitting defeat.

Has partisanship become a determining factor in protecting Michigan's environment?

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The Michigan League of Conservation Voters is a nonpartisan organization that works to elect solid conservation-minded candidates to office at all levels of government here in THE Great Lakes state.
 

Demand Pure Michigan Candidates

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Sitting at home on a wet, rainy Saturday afternoon trying to decompress from an incredibly busy week, I pick up the North Woods Call. It's a publication I respect deeply because I know that Glen Sheppard and his team are some of the most dedicated conservationists in Michigan. This afternoon, I find Shep describing the political nightmare that is the office of DNRE Director Becky Humphries.

Michigan Political Week in Review: Oct. 4 - 11

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That gubernatorial debate last night was awful, so let’s not mince words about it.

The questions were soft, the answers were weak, and hardly a shred of new information was discussed. Perhaps the format of the debate is mostly to blame, but the candidates owed it to the voters --- especially with only one debate being held --- to provide more than just empty talking points.

See video

Michigan Political Week in Review: Sept. 27 - Oct. 3

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Six days until the Bernero/Snyder debate and one month to Election Day. Have you already made up your mind yet on your candidate?

Ann Arbor-Backed PACE Legislation Can Lower Your Heating Bills

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Here’s a way to reduce your heating bill while conserving energy. The best thing about it is how cheap the process will be.

Let's Ban Phosphorus in the Great Lakes

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Ideally, the days of phosphorus-based fertilizers would be numbered in Michigan. The State House has passed a ban on lawn fertilizers that use the nutrient. 

Michiganders, in a quest for beautiful lawns, have been spreading on phosphorus-based fertilizers for years. The problem is, excess phosphorus runs off into drains and ditches, and makes for fertilized lakes. There, it helps spur the growth of algae, which dies off and washes up on our beaches as stinky muck.

Michigan Political Week in Review: Sept 19-26

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We’re almost at that point in the year when the mailers from candidates begin outnumbering the credit card offers and coupon books. Those glossy pieces of mail --- often funded by names you couldn’t discover if you tried --- are the beginning of the second-to-last leg of these races. Candidates are trying to define themselves, their opponents, and the issues before making their last appeals in the weeks ahead.

Michigan LCV Goes to Washington

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I write this as I fly back to Michigan from Washington, D.C., leaving behind a 36-hour, non-stop trip of speaking to our federal elected officials about the future of climate change in the U.S. House and Senate (You just can’t beat in-flight wireless internet).

Clean Air Belongs to All of Us (Video)

You may have heard the Clean Air Act is turning 40. 

That doesn't mean, however, that all is well with U.S. clean air regulations. 

The folks at Repower America are circulating a video to help drive the point home. Look for Alec Baldwin and Kris Kristofferson. 

Michigan Political Week in Review

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Time seems to move even more quickly the closer we get to elections, doesn’t it?

Michigan’s Very Own Study Discounts Wind Turbine Fears

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We’ve been saying it for months: Before ruling out wind turbines in the Great Lakes, let’s see some facts that prove how bad (or good) they really are.

You’re Invited, Michigan: To Keep Your Home Safe and Green

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We're sponsoring a Home Safe Home Party with the Ecology Center this Saturday, Sept. 18, from 10 a.m. to noon in Kalamazoo. The free event will highlight ways your family can keep your home healthy and environmentally friendly.

Activities will be hands-on, fun, and, of course, informative. If you've ever wondered how a non-toxic cleaning product is made, join us, and make your own homemade and safe cleaning solution.

Members Show Support at Michigan LCV Fundraiser

On Saturday night, immediately following a remarkable Michigan Football victory, Michigan LCV held a fundraiser at Ann Arbor's Downtown Home and Garden. The event was a big success and we would like to particularly thank our remarkable board members who made it possible.

Michigan Political Week in Review

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Fifty days until the election. As we near the seven-week threshold, the campaign ads are being launched, the debates are being debated, and the races across the state are kicking it into in a higher gear.

Great Lakes Conference is in Buffalo

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This year, the sixth annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference is happening in Buffalo, New York, on Sept. 22-24.

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition is inviting everyone to join in.

Debbie Stabenow Touts Wind as a Solution for Michigan

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The fight to create a healthy economy continues, and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow recently took a stand at the UAW Center in Black Lake, keynoting a discussion on bringing green jobs to Michigan. 

Lisa Wozniak and Ryan Werder on Bloomfield TV (Video)

Lisa Wozniak, our executive director, and Ryan Werder, our political director, recently appeared on Bloomfield TV. They spoke about the history of the organization and this year's election season. 

Michigan League of Conservation Voters from Bloomfield Township on Vimeo.

Saugatuck is Cool, Developing the Dunes is Not

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Saugatuck is celebrating, as it should, for being named one of America's coolest small towns. 

The West Michigan city came in at No. 4 on the list, from Budget Travel Magazine.

Michigan Political Week in Review

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We've passed the two-month threshold on the way to the Nov. 2 general election, and there's no indication of the races across the state and the country slowing down in the slightest.

Michigan Coal Plants Buried --- What's Next?

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 A new "Energy Tidbits" dispatch from the state tells it like it is: Plans for more dirty coal generation in Michigan are finished.

"Eight New Coal-Fired Plants were proposed in Michigan 3 years ago," according to the latest newsletter, from the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth.

Michigan Political Week in Review

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The past week, and weekend, was certainly a lively one for Michigan politics. The Democrats took over the Supreme Court in a quiet coup and the Republicans selected their statewide slate in a noisy convention.  
 
Michigan LCV was present at both party conventions this weekend and is happy to now peel off the collected stickers, recycle the pieces of campaign literature, and present your Political Week in Review:
 
The State Conventions:

How to Kick the U.S. Economy Into Overdrive

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Robert Sisson, a board member of the Michigan LCV Education Fund, had his thoughts published this week on Politico.

Sisson's opinion piece, "Congress ignores real job creation," says  "Passage of comprehensive energy and climate legislation would kick the U.S. economy into overdrive."

How to Kick the U.S. Economy Into Overdrive

Robert Sisson, a board member of the Michigan LCV Education Fund, had his thoughts published this week on Politico.

Sisson's opinion piece, "Congress ignores real job creation," says  "Passage of comprehensive energy and climate legislation would kick the U.S. economy into overdrive."

Enbridge Spill, Michigan Rail on Tap Thursday

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Congressman Mark Schauer (D-MI) announced he will host a public forum on the Enbridge Spill in Marshall on Thursday, Aug. 26. He will also attend a public forum the same day in Jackson on Michigan’s passenger rail transportation future.

The Detroit News Agrees: Lawmakers Must Protect Sewage Bond Money

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It's not just the environmental groups calling out the Michigan Legislature’s plan to divert sewage funds for different purposes --- others are taking notice, too.

In a blog post last week, we outlined a state plan to take money from bonds for sewage system updates and spend the money on other purposes, such as cleaning up contaminated and deserted brownfield sites.

Michigan Political Week In Review

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The race for governor recently became a little more interesting as the Green Party of Michigan announced its candidates for governor and lieutenant governor.

Great Lakes Restoration Highlighted in Rochester, Michigan

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The public is invited to a Great Lakes Town Hall Meeting on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative on Thursday at Oakland University in Rochester. 

The event is at 6:30 p.m. at Oakland's Student Center, Gold Room C. 

Legislation would raid bond money intended to keep sewage out of the Great Lakes

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Funds originally approved by voters in 2002 to keep sewage out of the Great Lakes would be used to bail out polluters who have walked away from contaminated brownfield sites, under a measure before the Michigan Legislature.

Pure Michigan Wins More Awards, Not More Funding

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Despite front-page coverage from USA Today, even more awards, and generating $250 million for our economy, the state Legislature still refuses to fund one of Michigan’s most successful economic development tools: The Pure Michigan ad campaign.

Enbridge Fined For Three Other Spills

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 Several legislators are calling for caution before the Enbridge pipeline is re-opened in Marshall, after a string a fines were issued to the company for three other spills throughout the U.S.

Two Michigan Events, Two Opportunities to Demand Climate Change Legislation

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The BlueGreen Alliance and Operation Free are each hosting events to provide a space for residents to demand action from legislators on clean energy jobs and climate change legislation.

Michigan Political Week in Review

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As Michigan voters begin focusing on the upcoming general election, the surviving campaigns also are gearing up.
 

Join the Conservation Conversation

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You can help shape the 21st century conservation agenda by getting involved in the America's Great Outdoors Initiative.

The initiative, established by President Barack Obama, is in the public comment stage. A report on America's Great Outdoors is due in November, with an action plan for protecting America's wildlife and wild places.

'Dirty Energy Money' Reveals Oil's Influence on Democracy

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A new website called Dirty Energy Money reveals how each Congressional session over the last decade has been influenced by “Big-Spending Companies.”

DirtyEnergyMoney.com allows visitors to “easily discover, expose, and track how much money their representatives are taking from the oil, gas, and coal industries.” The data comes from the Federal Election Commission and Center for Responsive Politics.

Not So "Pure Michigan" (Video)

Pure Michigan ads boast of the beauty of Michigan’s lakes, streams and coastline, but in the wake of the West Michigan Oil Spill, Repower America shows a different take on “Pure Michigan."

The Pure Michigan ads feature video clips of pristine lake water, in stark contrast to the news clips of murky, oil-covered water gushing through lakes and streams in the aftermath of the Enbridge spill.

See video

Fixing Sewers Would Help Restore Great Lakes, and Jobs

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You may have heard the news that some of Michigan’s beaches were recently closed due to lake water contaminants and bacteria.

State officials at beaches like South Beach in South Haven were forced to close down due to unsafe levels of E. coli bacteria. Many news reports blamed the problem on heavy rain and warm water. Unfortunately, the beach closures are only one symptom of a larger problem we are facing in Michigan: An aging sewage infrastructure.

Adopt a Beach in September

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Before you know, it will be Labor Day, and the unofficial end of summer.

Beaches in Michigan will still need your help, however. Take a moment to read about a Sept. 25 Adopt-a-Beach event being held around our Great Lakes by the Alliance for the Great Lakes. It's billed as the world's largest cleanup. 

Michigan Political Week in Review

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Tuesday’s primary elections brought some interesting twists to Michigan’s political landscape.

Granholm Speaks on Michigan's Energy Future

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Jennifer Granholm spoke in Washington, D.C today to mark the anniversary of a $1.3 billion investment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in battery technology production for electric cars based in Michigan. This show of confidence in our state remains an important element in making environmentally friendly autos a viable alternative to heavy polluters.  It also further encourages in-state growth of green manufacturing and industry.

Enbridge Inc. Offers Compensation for Oil Spill Disaster

Enbridge Inc. has a big, expensive mess on its hands as a result of a failed pipeline that leaked more than a million gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River last week. The energy company, owned by Enbridge Energy Partners of Houston, TX, has offered to buy 200 homes on property affected by the spill.

Every Vote Counts -- Two Michigan Primary Races Might Have Gone Another Way

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In the state's most wide-open election in decades, you'd think voter turnout during Tuesday's primaries would have been slightly higher than previous years.

Act Today: Help Protect Michigan From Future Oil Spills

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While it's easy to feel despair about the recent Enbridge oil spill into the Kalamazoo River, there is a way you can be part of the solution.

Michigan Primary Elections Boost Great Lakes, Environment

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It's a good day for Michigan.

After a night that overturned the Republican Party establishment and rebuked some of the top Democratic leadership with dramatic losses, Michigan voters are watching the dust settle across a very new political landscape.

Rick Snyder and Virg Bernero --- the victors in their respective primaries and, not incidentally, the candidates which Michigan LCV chose to endorse --- are now preparing to square off in the November general election. Regardless of how that race turns out, however, the results are very simple to summarize:

EPA Wants Cleanup Ideas for Michigan's Enbridge Oil Spill

As a cleanup of more than 800,000 gallons of spilled oil continues along the Kalamazoo River, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking for cleanup ideas.

Sure, the agency knows a thing or two about cleaning up environmental disasters, but it always helps to ask for public input. In this case, the agency has developed a voluntary submittal process for cleanup suggestions. 

Michigan Political Week in Review: Primary Edition

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With the August 3 primary upon us, it’s hard to escape the onslaught of political mailers, door-knockers, and phone calls.

But we hope you’re not burned out on politics just yet; the frenzy of candidate outreach and activity culminates in Tuesday's primary elections. Don’t forget to vote. The primary elections could be the deciding factor in some races, so get to the polls and make your voice heard. Don’t know where your polling place is? Find out at Michigan.gov/vote.

Good Michigan Environmental News in the Midst of Bad

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Right now, it's easy to believe there is nothing but bad news in terms of Michigan's environment.

Fundraising, Politicians, and Tornadoes ... Oh My

On the banks of the Huron River last week, Michigan LCV held its first fundraiser of the election season in the magnificent home of Brian Athey and Deborah Walker.

We welcomed a large group of supporters, donors, and politicians to aid in our efforts to keep Michigan’s natural resources intact. While it was not a perfect day, the party was everything we could have asked for and more.

Field report: On the ground at the oil spill

Kalamazoo oil spill waste

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit the Kalamazoo River oil spill to see for myself the devastation it is causing in the communities it passes through and the impact it is having on its shores and wildlife. In short, it’s horrifying.

See video

Obama's Visit to Detroit Signals a Step in the Right Direction

President Obama arrives in Michigan today to visit automobile plants around Detroit where the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chevrolet Volt are being manufactured.

"Complete Streets" Legislation Headed to the Governor's Desk

Michigan’s “Complete Streets” legislation passed out of the Senate on Wednesday. The legislation has already passed the House, and now only requires the Governor’s signature to become law.

Michigan Department of Community Health Warns of the Risks of Toxic Fish

Thanks to chemicals like mercury and polychlorinated byphenols (PCBs) that accumulate in aquatic ecosystems, fish now require the same kind of safety warnings as cigarettes. The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) released the 2010 Michigan Fish Advisory last week, which informs consumers which fish are safe to eat, and in what quantities. The advisory is a useful guide for anyone intending to eat fish caught in Michigan waters.

Oil Spill in Calhoun County a Reminder of Our Need to Change

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Who is GLEP and why are they sending malicious mailers into Washtenaw County?

photo Dick DeVos, Betsy DeVos, Karl Rove

In any tight election, the final two weeks of the race are always the most heated. That’s when voters start paying the closest attention and when all the strangest twists occur in the campaigns.

New Petition Urges Action from Obama on Asian Carp

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Most of the Great Lakes community seems to be able to agree: We need to do all we can to keep Asian carp from colonizing our freshwater seas. The Alliance for the Great Lakes is making it easy to take action, with a petition you can sign that will be sent to President Obama. 

"The only viable long-term solution to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes is to permanently separate the Lakes and the Mississippi River System," the letter says.

Detroit Learns from Lead Program: Children's Health Can't Be Compromised

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Making children's health standards less stringent is bad policy, the city of Detroit recently learned.

The city revamped its anti-lead program, doubling the level of lead needed in one's blood for treatment from 10 to 20 micrograms per deciliter. The change made the program more efficient, but less safe for Detroit's children.

Former Michigan Governor William Milliken agrees with MLCV, endorses Rick Snyder

Earlier this week, we announced our endorsement of businessman Rick Snyder in the Republican primary for governor. Snyder was our first-ever endorsement in a Republican governor's race and our first GOP endorsement in the 2010 election cycle.

Subscribe to the MLCV RSS Feed

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Take a look at the right hand column on this page. You'll see "RSS" and the familiar (to some) symbol for RSS feeds. 

You can use the link there to subscribe to our RSS feed. RSS, also known as Really Simple Syndication, allows you to subscribe to the feed for our news stories and blogs using an RSS reader.

Seven from Michigan lobby U.S. Senate for clean energy

On Capitol Hill this week, the last stand for clean energy legislation is underway.