Jul 10, 2014

MDEQ HOLDING PUBLIC HEARINGS ON NEW DRAFT FRACKING RULES


If you are concerned about Fracking in Michigan - then we need you to speak out now!  

The MDEQ is now accepting comments on their new draft rules for hydraulic fracturing.  The comment period ends on Thursday July 31.  There are two public hearings - one in Gaylord on Tuesday July 15, and one in Lansing on July 16.  Both are from 6:30-9:30PM.  Details are in the official Public Notice here:  http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-oogm-Part615-Revision-NOH2014_460477_7.pdf  

We need as many people as possible to attend these two hearings, and tell the DEQ:  

"These new rules don't make fracking any safer for Michigan; our air, water and communities are still at risk, and MDEQ needs to go much much further to protect us, or just stop allowing fracking."  

Would you be willing to go to one of the hearings, and help us to share that message?  

Won't you please join us?  Our attendance at these two hearings are one of the most direct ways we'll ever have of winning any positive changes in Michigan having to do with extracting fossil fuels.  If you live in an area of Michigan that has been subjected to new extreme hydraulic fracturing for natural gas or oil, then you have important input for the DEQ on their proposed rules.  Who better than you to tell them what it's like to live near one of these places?  

If you have any questions at all, let me know at rita.chapman@sierraclub.org.  

Thank you, I hope to hear from you!    

Rita Chapman


Sierra Club Michigan Chapter

Jun 26, 2014

Great Climate March in New York City - Michigan Sierra Club bus trip - Sept 21

SCHEDULE

Bus departs Ann Arbor between 8 pm and 9 pm, Saturday, Sept. 20
Arrive NYC between 8 am-9 am Sunday for the March
Return to Ann Arbor that evening.
$125 per person for transportation and expenses.

We need 50 people to commit to the trip to make this happen and we will need to know if we have critical mass by July 3.

In the meantime if you intend to make this journey to help send a powerful message of support for climate solutions and have a great time doing it please register now for the Great Climate March with the national Sierra Club.

Jun 21, 2014

Marvin Roberson: State's policies should prevent selling best land - State of Michigan preparing to sell off unprecedented amounts of public land – Make your voice heard!





Written by
Marvin Roberson is a Sierra Club forest ecologist in Marquette.
Jun. 20, 2014 

Michigan residents are blessed with abundant amounts of public land, most of which is freely accessible to all. Our public land is treasured by state residents, and is a significant reason people come from other states to visit Michigan. They come precisely because most states do not enjoy such a generous amount of land accessible to all. They bring with them their hunting, fishing, and other recreational dollars. Public lands in Michigan are a significant economic force in our economy.
Unfortunately, Michigan may be poised to sell off significant parcels of public land. The state has received an application from a limestone mining company, Graymont, asking the DNR to sell them more than 10,000 acres of state forest land. That’s 15 square miles of land belonging to all of us that the state might sell to a private company. Most of the media coverage has focussed on the effects of this proposal on local residents. However, a land sale of this magnitude should be of concern to all Michiganians.

Not only is this an extremely large piece of land to consider selling (more than 20 times larger than any previous sale), it is also prime forest land. During a previous DNR planning process, DNR staff identified this very piece of land as some of the most valuable land in the state for both habitat and timber purposes. We should not be considering selling it.
Once an application is received, the DNR has a formal review procedure used to evaluate the merits of an application, and that is where the process is now. One of the criteria for selling land is whether or not it is “surplus.” Declaring land “surplus” means it has met previously established conditions for land the DNR does not want.
This piece of land meets no previously established definition of “surplus land.” In fact, if the most valuable 15 square miles of timber and habitat in the eastern UP is “surplus,” it is difficult to imagine which parcels of state land are not “surplus.” Could this be the beginning of wholesale disposal of state land in Michigan?
Some in fact hope it is. Incredibly, there are some influential politicians who are short-sighted enough to claim that we have “too much public land” in Michigan. They make this claim despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Public land in Michigan provides jobs in recreation, timber, and tourism. It provides aesthetic, habitat, and economic value.
These policy makers have not been able to articulate how much public land is “too much” or why. The Legislature, however, did pass a law requiring the DNR to justify owning land and describe the reasons to do so. The DNR produced the “Michigan Land Management Strategy.”
This document described all the reasons we should own public land. This included economic, recreational and environmental benefits. It also described criteria for land disposal, and identified types of parcels which the DNR might want to get rid of. Not surprisingly, this piece of land was not identified in this process as one we should consider selling.
The DNR is obligated to follow the formal application process. This includes significant amounts of staff time, analysis, public outreach, etc.. There is even a DNR web page atwww.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10368_11797_66953---,00.html.
However, this is money and time which never should have ben spent. This application should have been discouraged before it ever got to the formal review process.

If someone expressed interest in buying Mackinac Island from the state, we would not need any formal review process to know that the answer is “No.” The same should have been true here. This company should have been told “Don’t bother applying, not for sale.”
However, it appears that pressure from short-sighted, ideologically driven politicians has moved this from the realm of unthinkable to the possible. While it is unfortunate that these politicians do not care about the long-term benefits public lands bring to our citizens, it is not too late. The DNR is still accepting comments from the public on this. Let them know what you think by email at DNR-GraymontProposalComments@michigan.gov
Tell them to oppose selling this, and other pieces of land which belongs to all of us. It’s our heritage, and our legacy.

State of Michigan preparing to sell off unprecedented amounts of public land – Make your voice heard!

Jun 15, 2014

Tell Your Legislators: Don't Silence Michigan Voters!

Michigan Chapter Update

Last year, in a highly politicized move, Michigan enacted a wolf hunt after the legislature gave power to designate game species,the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) appointed by Gov. Snyder. The NRC decisions on game designations can't be appealed or challenged, meaning Michigan voters have lost their voice in challenging whether or not a species can be hunted in Michigan.

This summer, the Michigan legislature will review a new citizen's initiative which could further solidify this change. A citizen's initiative can either be approved by the legislature or sent to the November ballot where voters will get to decide. The Sierra Club needs your help to urge lawmakers to let this go to the ballot and let the people of Michigan decide these critical natural resource issues.

Give your state lawmakers a call today! Let them know Michigan citizens deserve to have a vote on designating game species and you want them to put this on the November election ballot. Here is where you can find your State RepresentativeState Senator, and their office phone numbers.

Jun 1, 2014

Call Now on Dangerous Industrial By-Product Bills Up for Vote in MI Senate!

Michigan Chapter Update

Last week the Michigan Senate Natural Resources Committee approved House Bills 5400-5402 which will expand the reuse of coal ash and other potentially hazardous industrial byproducts.  These dangerous materials would be used as construction fill, foundational material for roads, or soil conditioner for farm fields!  This could result in heavy metals and other contaminants leaching into the surrounding soil and ground water.  This is absolutely unacceptable for Michigan where we depend on a thriving outdoor recreation and tourism industry, not to mention our responsibility as stewards to one-fifth of the world's fresh water. 

Please call your State Senator today and tell them that this legislation is bad for Michigan and tell them to vote NO on House Bills 5400-5402You can find your legislator's contact info here.