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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Michigan Chapter Update - August 2, 2015

Michigan Chapter Update

August 2, 2015

In this Issue:
  • Sierra Club Endorses Ban Fracking Petition Drive
  • A Big Thank You!
  • Join the Parade for Clean Power and the Green Cruise August 8
  • Go Solar with Sierra Club's Solar Partnerships
  • Take Part in Rock Climbing and High Ropes at Annual Retreat August 21-23
  • A Month in Review: Rallies and Marches with Sierra Club
  • Craig Brainard's Don't Frack Up Our Future Program August 11th
  • Charitable Gift Annuity Helps Sierra Club (and You!)
  • Explore and Enjoy: Pigeon River Country State Forest


Fracking hurts Michigan's water and airSierra Club is supporting the Ban Michigan Frackingballot petition drive, following unanimous support
from Michigan Chapter leaders.
                                      Photo by Mary Novrocki 
Sierra Club has endorsed a proposed ballot measure that would ban radioactive and other fracking wastes from Michigan and end risky, high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Great Lakes State. The club's endorsement of The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan’s proposal means the organization will mobilize its hundreds of volunteers and more than 60,000 members and supporters to put the proposed measure on the 2016 ballot. The Sierra Club Committee to Make Michigan Safe from Fracking is being formed and our co-chairs John Ford and Craig Brainard invite you to join the petition drive today.

"If the ban fracking proposal is placed on the ballot, voters in Michigan who overwhelmingly say they want to protect our state’s waters, land and communities will have the opportunity to overcome the oil industry’s grip on Lansing and protect our state," said David Holtz, chair of Sierra Club Michigan Executive Committee. "Michigan shouldn’t be the dumping grounds for other states’ radioactive and chemical fracking wastes and we shouldn’t be putting our public health and our waters at risk." Holtz noted that the endorsement vote by Sierra Club leaders throughout the state was unanimous.
Co-chairs John Ford of Ann Arbor and Craig Brainard of Hastings, both long-time Sierra Club leaders, will coordinate the Committee's activities in support of the proposed fracking ban petition drive, which needs 252,523 signatures from Michigan voters to qualify for the November, 2016, ballot. "We understand it’s a huge challenge to get this on the ballot," said Brainard. "Sierra Club felt strongly that we needed to step up and help make this ballot initiative a success."
Amanda, Todd and Abby Carlson at the 2014 Annual Retreat
 Many thanks to Todd and Amanda
Carlson, shown with their daughter
Abby at the 2013 Annual Retreat, for
donating funds for a high quality
digital camera to the Michigan
Chapter! Amanda also chairs the 2015
Retreat Committee (sign up below!)
Sierra Club's announcement of its endorsement of a ban on high volume fracking and injection of fracking wastes follows more than three years of study of the issue along with the release of theUniversity of Michigan's Graham Institute report on fracking in Michigan. The report points to uncertainties and potential risks involving fracking operations in Michigan. Following studies of health and environmental risks, New York banned fracking in that state.

Nearly a year ago it was publicly disclosed that Michigan was importing radioactive fracking wastes from Pennsylvania after landfills in that state and in West Virginia refused to take it. A state panel in Michigan meeting behind closed doors subsequently gave the go-ahead to continue and potentially expand importing radioactive wastes.

"Michigan is opening its doors to a flood of radioactive fracking wastes other states don’t want," said Ford. "When we take that message to Michigan voters they will act to slam the doors shut. Our campaign is about giving Michigan voters a choice and we are confident they don’t want Michigan to be the new ground zero for radioactive wastes.

Sign up for the petition drive here.



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Look for the Solar Partnerships booth at this year's Green Cruise! Information about our Solar Partnership program will be provided to residents interested in powering their home with a reliable and clean energy source- the sun! Sales through our partnership provides for donations to the Michigan Chapter to support our work as well! 
Our solar partners, McNaughton-McKay Electric Company, Solar Winds Power Supply and Michigan Solar Solutions, offer their services by evaluating your home's solar capacity, educating the public on the benefits of solar power and providing expert installation of the customer's choice of solar array. 

Ready to move forward with solar power and see if your home has solar capacity? Fill out our solar survey! 
In August, the long anticipated rules regarding carbon dioxide pollution from power plants, one of the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change, will finally be finished. This historic rule represents the first such limits ever created in the United States to help protect us from climate change and represents a victory for ordinary citizens that are concerned about our planet's future.
People across the country are preparing to celebrate this moment and Michigan is no exception. On August 8 at the annual Green Cruise in Ferndale we’re planning to thank President Obama’s administration for taking a stand against big polluters. The Green Cruise is hosted each year by the Southeast Michigan Groupand celebrates all forms of human-powered transit. We will have a contingent of 50-100 people marching to support the Clean Power Plan. Do you like parades? Do you support clean energy?
Please join us to begin staging at 11:30 a.m. and participate in the parade to help us support the Clean Power Plan. We will meet at the Green Cruise festival on 9 Mile Rd. just east of Woodward Avenue in Ferndale. Please RSVPand you will receive a free Clean Power Plan t-shirt, button, and poster. Supplies are limited to the first fifty people. Please contact Andrew Sarpolis, Beyond Coal organizer, with any questions.


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Photo by Camp Miniwanca Youth Foundation.
Camp Miniwanca, the gorgeous location of this year's Annual Retreat, features exciting outdoor activities that appeal to all age groups. Campers can participate in a high ropes course with various skill levels to choose from. For those seeking adventure in more than one way, outing leaders will offer rock climbing, tubing and boating on Lake Michigan.

In addition, the three-day weekend will feature plenty of hikes throughout the day and evening for those who want to explore the Great Lakes region's natural beauty in a more tranquil way.

Check out this year's retreat schedule to find activities through the weekend that appeal to you, and Sign Up NOW!

Not able to attend the retreat? Considering donating to our scholarship fund that allows families who cannot afford the weekend to attend!

The affordable and exciting Michigan Chapter Annual Retreat
is only two weeks away! 
Sierra Club members and non-members alike
can sign up at this link

or call Cecilia Garcia at (517) 484-2372 x 10.


Remember the Kalamazoo memorial walk

  "Remember the Kalamazoo"    

On July 25, five years after Enbridge Line 6B broke open and spilled 1 million gallons of tar sands crude oil into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River, hundreds of people from across the Great Lakes region gathered in Battle Creek to "Remember the Kalamazoo." Local residents shared stories about the irretrievable impact of the oil spill on their lives and communities. River Walkers walked 12 miles from the start of the spill to the memorial, and the crowd silently joined them to walk to the Kalamazoo River.  Learn more about the largest inland oil spill in our nation's history and the event here.

Let's Move Lansing Beyond Coal Rally 

On July 28th, Sierra Club members and volunteers gathered outside of Lansing's energy utility, the Board of Water and Light, to express concerns about the Board's future energy choices. The Club is urging BWL to increase public inputin the upcoming planning process, set retirement dates for BWL's two coal plants and plan ahead for future energy production.  Conservation Director Anne Woiwode and Beyond Coal Organizer Brad van Guilder offered public comments at the meeting that urged the municipal utility to consider the Sierra Club's recommendations for the benefit of ratepayers and the environmentContact Brad to learn more.
Sierra Club Calls on Lansing BWL to Move Beyond Coal! 
 Sierra Club Joins the Capitol Rally to Shut Down Enbridge Li

Shut Down Enbridge Line 5 Rally at the State Capitol

Over 100 Michigan residents rallied at the Capitol July 30 to highlight the danger of the 62-year-old Line 5 crude oil pipelines that cross the Straits of Mackinac.
Protestors marched to the offices of Attorney General Bill Schuette and Governor Rick Snyder to deliver a letter signed by over 170 organizations and 300 Michigan businesses asking them to immediately shut down the pipeline. To learn more about Line 5 and join the shutdown effort, click here.

Alternatives to fossil fuels are available nowCraig Brainard will present alternatives to fossil
fuels including solar power in his "Don't Frack
Up our Future" presentation August 11 in
St. Joseph. Sierra Club photo.


Oil and gas drilling has been happening in Michigan for a very long time, but in recent years, interest in and exploration for these resources has ramped up considerably. In particular, fracking is a huge environmental concern that Craig Brainard, a volunteer and expert with Sierra Club’s Michigan Beyond Natural Gas and Oil Committee, has studied for over a decade. He has traveled all across Michigan – talking with drillers, legislators, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, local officials and ordinary citizens.
Craig will present the very latest information on oil and gas drilling in Michigan and how it impacts global warming and what we need to do to protect our Great Lakes State in a free program, Don’t Frack Up Our Future, Tuesday, Aug. 11, at 5:30pm at the St. Joseph Public Library, 500 Market St., St. Joseph. The event is sponsored by the Berrien County Democratic Women and Sierra Club SouthWest Michigan Group. For more information, call 269-945-8871.

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Photo by Anne Woiwode


With a charitable gift annuity with The Sierra Club Foundation, you help protect wild places and wildlife for future generations while receiving anannual payment for life, plus tax savings. Payment rates go as high as 9 percent, depending on your age. 

This is a good way for anyone who cares about the environment to get an upfront tax deduction, to help the Sierra Club and our Michigan Chapter, and at the same time get a predictable stream of income for the rest of your life.

For more information on a charitable gift annuity and a no-obligation example of your benefits based on your age and donation amount (minimum of $10,000) contact Jan O'Connell at 616-956-6646.


Sierra Club is committed to "exploring, enjoying and protecting the planet." Each issue of the Michigan Chapter Update includes a feature on exploring and enjoying places in Michigan.  Lorne Beatty, the Michigan Chapter Outings Chair, introduces us to the Pigeon River Country State Forest.

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Pigeon River Country State Forest offers something for
everyone who loves the outdoors. Photo courtesy DNR
Michigan's over four million acres of public land offer numerous State and National Forest Campgrounds, frequently located on inland lakes or streams. One of my favorite places to camp, fish, hike, cross country ski and explore in the northern lower peninsula is the 95,000 acre Pigeon River Country in Otsego, Cheboygan and Montmorency Counties.
The Pigeon River Country is easily accessed from I-75 at the Vanderbilt exit, via Sturgeon Valley Road. The Pigeon River Country encompasses the headwaters and several, remote miles of thePigeon, Sturgeon and Black Rivers, which are enjoyed by paddlers and trout fishermen alike. There are several small and uncrowded state forest campgrounds in the Pigeon River Country which can be found here. The twin Blue Lakes, while not a campsite, offer walk-in canoe fishing for bass, perch and pike--a fisherman's paradise.
In addition, the Devil's Soup Bowl is one of the unique sinkhole lakes in the Pigeon River Country. From the lake, a short hike from a parking area offers a scenic overlook with a beautiful panoramic view of the forest with the Cornwall flooding in the distance. The Pigeon River Country still showcases remnants of Michigan's old growth pine forests, which is home to Michigan's elk herd. A network of dirt roads, two tracks and hiking trails connect these natural features with most of the campgrounds. Mapsare recommended, as finding well-marked main roads can prove difficult.
For an interesting and complete history of this area, I suggest reading The Pigeon River Country by Dale Clark Franz.

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We welcome feedback on the Michigan Chapter Update - Contact us at michigan.chapter@sierraclub.org 

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