Political Week in Review

political week in review PWIR photoThe Political Week in Review (PWIR) is a weekly update published by Michigan LCV and written by our Communications Manager, Katie Sulau. It is sent to well over 3000 inboxes of Michigan’s leading environmental policy makers, legislators, media, and advocates.

Sent out every weekend, the PWIR acknowledges the impact of politics on Michigan’s land, air, and water by identifying the most important occurrences over the past week that affect them. The PWIR then distills those issues, rumors, inside politics, and hearsay into an informative – and often humorous – summary of the week. In doing so, the PWIR has become an indispensable resource for staying up to date and conversant on the future of Michigan’s Great Lakes, crisp air, vibrant rivers, abundant forests, and the sustainability of both our cities and farmland.

[click here to sign up for PWIR]

Recent Issues:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.