Michigan LCV Brings Great Lakes to Washington D.C.

Tags: GLRI, Great Lakes, Washington D.C., water quality

photo: HOW Lobby day

Michigan LCV's Alicia Prygoski (Legislative and Political Assistant) and Erica Bloom (Program Manager), traveled to Washington D.C. this week to join other Great Lakes advocates for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition annual lobby day.

Our Members Call For an Asian Carp Action Plan

Tags: asian carp, fishing, Great Lakes, water quality

Recently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a report outlining eight potential invasive species management strategies to protect the Great Lakes. The strategies ranged from not doing much at all to completely separating waterways. While the report was informative, it did not make a recommendation about next steps to turn analysis into action. Now that the USACE is taking public comment on the report, Michigan LCV members are putting on the pressure to stop Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species for good. With over 300 submissions so far, we cannot list all of the comments, but here are a few of the stand out submissions we have received from concerned citizens like you.

Mayor Heartwell on Faith, Sustainability, and Leadership in a Challenging Political Climate

Tags: grand rapids, Mayor Heartwell, resiliency, sustainable city

Since George Heartwell took office as Mayor of Grand Rapids twelve years ago, the city has been on a fast track toward becoming one of the most sustainable cities in the country. The list of sustainability awards received by the city of Grand Rapids is impressive and Mayor Heartwell’s work is not slowing down. How does he do it, and what can other cities in Michigan learn from Grand Rapids? I sat down with the Mayor to find out.

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.

Why Politics Matters: Preserving and Protecting Michigan’s Glorious World Class Waterways

Tags: accountability, elections, fracking, water quality

As the Executive Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, I frequently get asked, “What brought you to this line of work?” My answer is two fold: (1) educating our decision-makers about critical environmental challenges in our state is extraordinarily important, especially in an era of term limits, and (2) whom we elect to office at the local, state and national level is paramount to the protection of our Great Lakes and Michigan’s world class waterways.

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.

Redefining the Beauty of Windmills

Tags: energy, Renewable Energy, Wind, wind power, windmill

One of the common arguments I hear against wind power is that windmills ruin the look of a landscape. Apparently, to some, the tall white towers and huge spinning blades are eyesores amongst the rolling green hills and sprawling farmland of our state. The windmills are big, that is true. The blades can be as long as 50 meters. And, often windmills do not sit alone but in herds of towers in diagonal lines across the land.

Mayor Heartwell Visits Ann Arbor

Tags: agriculture, Clean Air & Energy, Climate, Great Lakes, toxics, Transportation, Water

[head shot, George Heartwell]

Speaking at a special presentation of the University of Michigan Law School’s environmental law and policy program on Tuesday, Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell challenged the audience to consider the ethical obligation to address climate change.

“Simply living in the world today has an impact on climate,” said Mayor Heartwell. “We have to acknowledge that we are part of the problem...we have to do what we can within our own sphere of influence to mitigate the damage.”

PWIR: Score Report

Tags: fishing, LCV Scorecard, pet coke, PWIR, Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy Standard, Scorecard, water quality

Before we get into the news from last week, two events happening today should go on your radar. First, the Lyndon Township Planning Commission will hold a public hearing tonight to discuss an application to create a massive gravel mining operation just north of quaint Chelsea, Michigan. Detrimental policy enacted at the state level suggests that the Township should approve the permit application if the mining company can demonstrate that any level of economic benefit will come from the mine. We need your help to tell the Township that this project will have damaging environmental impacts: 7 PM, Sylvan Township Hall (18027 Old US 12, Chelsea). Second, if you are in Traverse City, join us at a town hall meeting to discuss public land policy in Michigan, tonight 7 PM at the Acme Township Hall. We are co-sponsoring with the Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) and State Representative Wayne Schmidt (R - Traverse City), and we look forward to seeing you there. 

Invasive Species Profiles: Get to Know the Mute Swan

Tags: Great Lakes, invasive species, management, wildlife

Mute Swan

Many invasive species are quickly moving from mere pests to menacing populations we have got to get under control --- for the health of our clean water, forests and ecosystems. Asian carp typically play a starring role in the invasive species line up, due to their voracious appetites, scary size and potentially devastating impact to the Great Lakes. But, there are plenty of other culprits out there that we should have on our radar. In an effort to “know thy enemy,” Colin Hoogerwerf provides us with profiles of invasive species who just cannot get enough of the Great Lakes State.

Results are In: Michigan's Performance on National LCV's 2013 Environmental Scorecard

Tags: accountability, LCV Scorecard, Michigan, US House of Representatives, US Senate

The National League of Conservation Voters (LCV) released their 2013 Environmental Scorecard on Tuesday, and Michigan's legislators earned mixed reviews for their commitment to conservation, public health, water and energy issues.  

PWIR: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Tags: budget, Critical Dunes, Dunes, Farm Bill, ice cover, Natural resources, pet coke, Petroleum Coke, PWIR

We have word from the Upper Peninsula --- the ice bridge across Lake Superior, connecting Canada to Isle Royale, has been formed for the first time since 2008. The question now becomes whether the wolves will take advantage of the Great Lakes becoming passable, and make their way from the mainland over to Isle Royale. 

Town Hall in Traverse City: Michigan's Public Land

Representative Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City), Michigan United Conservation Clubs and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters are hosting a public land town hall meeting on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:00pm at the Acme Township Hall.

Obama Signs Conservation-minded Farm Bill

Today, President Obama will sign the 2014 Farm Bill at Michigan State University, the nation’s original agricultural college. This innovative bill is made up of smart policy that links the needs of the nation’s farmers with the importance of environmental conservation, and increased access to locally-sourced healthy food systems.

Change Makers: Politics, the Environment and Women Who Work in Both

Tags: leadership, Politics, women

photo: women and enviro

Recently I was asked to sit on a panel for the upcoming Women and Environment Conference through the West Michigan Environmental Action Council in Grand Rapids. For someone like me who loves discussing the intersection of gender and the environment, the offer was a real treat. But I took pause when I considered how my work with the Michigan League of Conservation Voters was relevant to this topic. Yes, I’m a woman. I work on behalf of the environment. I work with other women.