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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Michigan Chapter Update - May 3, 2015

Michigan Chapter Update
May 3, 2015

In this Issue:

  • Sierra Club Supports Proposal 1 on May 5th Election!
  • Political Committee Fundraiser May 6th features Farough and Miller
  • More than 100 Attend "Race, Class, Culture and Diversity in Environmental Organizations"
  • Democratic Legislators introduce Bold Clean Energy Package
  • House Legislators Introduce Pipeline Safety Legislation
  • "Don't Frack Up Our Future" Presentation May 7th in Grand Haven
  • Honor the People You Care About: Commemorative and Memorial Gifts
  • Explore and Enjoy! Fayette Historic State Park

Sierra Club Supports Proposal 1 in the May 5th Election!

Support Proposal 1 on May 5th! 
The Michigan Chapter of Sierra Club has endorsed Proposal 1, a proposal that wouldincrease Michigan Votefunding for public transit.  Don't forget to vote in this special election this Tuesday, May 5th, between 7:00 am and 8:00 pm.

Proposal 1 will provide $115 million a year in increased funding for public transportation throughout Michigan. This will allow expanded bus service for seniors, low-income workers and others while reducing the use of cars and greenhouse gas emissions. Proposal 1 will also provide $10 million a year to the Department of Natural Resource's Recreation Improvement Fund which provides grants for the operation, maintenance and development ofrecreation trails and restoration of lands damaged by off-road vehicles and inland lake cleanup.

Click here to check your polling location, make sure you're registered, and see what your ballot will look like. And vote this Tuesday!

Farough and Miller to Speak at Fundraiser on May 6th

Are you sick of reading about how Michigan's legislature keeps attacking the environment? Here's your chance to fight back. The Michigan Chapter's Political Committee is hosting a fundraiser on May 6th in Lansing. Come hear from Gayle Miller and Dan Farough, the two previous Sierra Club political directors, who will be the honored speakers at this event.
All of the money raised at the fundraiser will go toward helping elect pro-environment candidates to the Michigan legislature and local offices.

Gayle MillerDan FaroughSierra Club Political Committee Fundraiser

Wednesday, May 6th
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Kelly’s Downtown Irish Pub
220 S Washington Square South
Lansing, MI, 48933
RSVP to mike.berkowitz@sierraclub.org if you’d like to attend. Can’t make it to the fundraiser but still want to help make it a success? Click here to make a donation for the fundraiser!


More than 100 Attend "Race, Class, Culture and Diversity in Environmental Organizations"

Detroit Race Class Culture event 2015
"Race, Class, Culture, & Diversity in Environmental Organizations"
program held March 26th at Wayne County Community College District
(WCCCD).                                               Photo courtesy of WCCCD
The Sierra Club Great Lakes Program partnered with the Beyond Coal Campaign in Detroit to host "Race, Class, Culture and Diversity in Environmental Organizations" at Wayne County Community College District on March 26th. 
Over 100 people attended to learn about University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment professor Dr. Dorceta Taylor's latest research, "The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations." Former Sierra Club President Allison Chin spoke about the Sierra Club's history and efforts to be a diverse, equitable and inclusive multicultural organization. Post-presentation discussions facilitated by the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity helped participants complete action plans for personal and organizational transformation. 
Gail Philbin, Michigan Chapter Director, shared the Michigan Chapter's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in its recruitment of Executive Committee members. She also shared that the Executive Committee planned to host an introduction to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusionprogram of Sierra Club at the spring meeting. 
Find out more about Sierra Club's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives here.

Democratic Legislators Introduce A Bold Clean Energy Package

Power Michigan's Future 
On April 23rd a long awaited package called Powering Michigan's Future with bills to expand Michigan's renewable energy standards and energy efficiency was introduced into both Michigan houses of the legislature.  The bills will expand utility requirements forrenewable electric generation to 20 percent by 2022 and double the energy efficiency standards in Michigan to two percent per year.  The Senate package (SB 295296 and 297) was co-sponsored by every Democratic senator and the overwhelming majority of Democratic members of the House joined in co-sponsoring one or more House bills (HB 4055, 4518, and4519).
"We strongly support this legislative package that will increase Michigan’s renewable energy and energy optimization standards" said Mike Berkowitz, Legislative Director of the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter. "This legislation will protect clean air and water while also creating jobs and stabilizing the climate. It is fitting that this legislation was introduced right after the45th anniversary of Earth Day. We applaud the Democratic proposal and look forward to working with all lawmakers on legislation that will boldly claim clean energy as a Michigan priority."
The Powering Michigan's Future bills are the first that would begin to implement the achievable energy goals identified in four reports prepared for Governor Snyder in 2013 by the Michigan Energy Office and the Michigan Public Service Commission. By contrast, the House Energy Committee is expected to continue to take testimony on a package of bills sponsored by the Committee Chair Aric Nesbitt that would undermine Michigan's renewable energy and energy optimization standards adopted in 2008.
Take action to encourage Michigan's Legislators to strengthen our clean energy standards!

House Legislators Introduce Pipeline Safety Legislation

Oil and Gas Pipeline Safety Bills Introduced
Legislators introduce oil and gas pipeline safety legisla-
tion on Earth Day. From left: Nic Clark of Clean Water
Action; Rep. Gretchen Driskell; Rep. Jeff Irwin; Rep.
Sarah Roberts; and Sierra Club's Robert Gordon 
On Earth Day, legislators reintroduced a package of bills designed toenhance oil and gas pipeline safety in Michigan. "We can’t afford another disaster like the 2010 oil pipeline leak that spread to the Kalamazoo River, where a ruptured pipeline and a delayed response caused enormous damage," Rep. Sarah Roberts said. "These bills will increase safety standards and enable more effective emergency responses, so that Michigan doesn’t suffer another billion-dollar debacle."
Reps. Jeff Irwin, Gretchen Driskell and Tom Cochran joined with Roberts in introducing the legislation that would fix major holes in Michigan's current regulatory oversight of pipelines. Sierra Club legislative volunteer Robert Gordon said: "Cleaning up a leak is a lot more expensive and difficult than preventing one. And some damage to people and ecosystems can never be undone. That’s why it's so important to put measures in place now to avoid future leaks."
The bills (HB 4511-4514) include requirements focused on protecting the Great Lakes, including requiring the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to regularly inspect pipelines that cross the Great Lakes, and requiring pipeline operators to obtain permits from the Michigan Public Service Commission that demand environmental review. The bills have not yet been scheduled for hearings.

"Don't Frack Up Our Future" Presentation May 7th in Grand Haven

Do you want to know more about oil and gas drilling in Michigan? Be at the Loutit District Library, 407 Columbus Avenue, Grand Haven, at 7 PM Thursday, May 7th, for the presentation "Don't Frack Up Our Future."
SouthWest Michigan Group member Craig Brainard, who serves on the Michigan Chapter's Executive Committee and is the Education Coordinator for the Chapter’s Beyond Natural Gas Campaign, has studied the issues of climate change and fracking for over a decade. He has traveled all across Michigan, talking with Michigan residents, local officials, drillers, legislators, the DEQ, the DNR, and others.
In this knowledgeable presentation, Craig shares what he's learned about what's happening with oil and gas drilling in Michigan, its relationship to global warming, and what we need to do to protect public health, our beautiful state, and her resources.
For more info, call (269) 945-8871, or call the Loutit District Library at (616) 842-5560.
The Sierra Club's SouthWest Michigan Group is sponsoring the event. Admission is free, and everyone is welcome. Come join us!

Commemorative and Memorial Gifts

Honor People You Care about with a Gift to Sierra Club
Honor the people you care about by preserving
the beauty of nature with a gift to the Sierra
Club Michigan Chapter

Honoring the people you care about by preserving the beauty of nature

Commemorative gifts are a unique way to honor someone important to you by celebrating a special occasion or commemorating a milestone, such as awedding, anniversary or birthday. Making a memorial gift in remembrance of a family member or dear friend, you not only affirm your environmental values, but also recognize that these values were shared by the individual being honored.

For both commemorative & memorial gifts, a letter is sent to you acknowledging the gift and confirming that notice of the gift has been sent. For more information on either of these programs, email jan.connell@sierraclub.org or call Jan at (616) 956-6646.

To make a safe and secure immediate online gift click this link: Michigan Sierra Club Memorial/Honoree Gift.

Explore and Enjoy! Fayette Historic State Park

Fayette Historic State Park
Restored ruins at Fayette Historic State Park frame
the limestone cliffs across the natural harbor.
                                          photo by Anne Woiwode
Sierra Club is committed to "exploring, enjoying and protecting the planet." The Michigan Chapter Update includes features on exploring and enjoying places in Michigan.  Conservation Director Anne Woiwode introduces us toFayette Historic State Park on the Garden Peninsula jutting off the Upper Peninsula into Lake Michigan.One of the most remote places in Michigan is home to a gem of a state park that offers excitement for history buffs, kayakers, hikers andbirdwatchersFayette Historic State Park is about 32 miles by road to the southwest of Manistique, lying about three-quarters of the way down the Garden Peninsula on Big Bay de Noc. My visit to the park was on a clear hot summer day, with the deep blue water of a lovely natural harbor formed by white limestone cliffs on the north painting a scene as inviting as any in Michigan. The harbor is the center of the Fayette Historic Townsite, once a thriving industrial town that produced charcoal pig iron in the late 1800s. The park offers exhibits and programs about the history of the site. 
For those seeking outdoor adventures, the harbor and bay attract paddlers to explore the shoreline and get up close to the cliffs. Five miles of trails are open for hiking and cross-country skiing, including a short trail that runs ontop of the cliffs, providing wonderful views of the townsite, the harbor and the bay. The limestone cliffs are part of the Niagra Escarpment which runs from New York State through Ontario, creating Niagra Falls, then across the Upper Peninsula and into Wisconsin through the Door Peninsula. The proximity of the Door and Garden Peninsulas, with islands spaced between them, makes the peninsula a good site for viewing migrating raptors and songbirds.
As you visit any public lands in Michigan this year, please make a point of letting your legislators know how much you value the opportunity public lands give you to hike, paddle, ski, camp, fish, hunt, gather berries or just sit quietly and enjoy nature.  These lands are now in the crosshairs of legislators who are seeking to privatize large amounts of Michigan's public lands. To find out more, visit the Michigan Chapter website.
Here are Some Great Ways to Support Sierra Club Michigan Chapter and Get Engaged!
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We welcome feedback on the Michigan Chapter Update - Contact us at michigan.chapter@sierraclub.org.

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