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 as they take on “March Badness”: the Tournament for the "Most Toxic Product" award.

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.