The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin (LWVWI) is working with the LWV of Ashland and Bayfield Counties to contact Governor Walker and the Attorney General, Senators, and Representatives of Wisconsin in support of the Chippewa Bad River Band's denial of renewing an easement for Enbridge's Line 5.
Pipeline 5 runs through the Lake Superior tribe's lands in Ashland County. The Chippewa refuse to renew the easement on their tribal land until a meaningful tribal consultation and full environmental review--a comprehensive environmental impact statement--is completed to their satisfaction.
LWVWI passed a resolution calling on their elected officials to rescind all permits and deny the easement of Pipeline 5 across the land. The League cited concerns, shared with the Chippewa, for the potential for oil leaks and crude oil pollution of the Bad River Watershed, Lake Superior, and Lake Michigan. LWVWI also acknowledged the special status of Native Americans, and respect for Tribal sovereignty and treaty rights in regard to water resources.
Thank you, LWVWI for your advocacy!
NOTE: This post was updated and corrected on 3/12/17.
We're excited that, working with our partner, the LWV of Illinois Education Fund, we've purchased two watershed demonstration models. The models will be used to help the public visualize the many potential sources of water pollution, as well as solutions to prevent and clean up pollution.
We are grateful to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for a Coastal Management grant that allowed us to purchase the models.
We'll be debuting the models this summer in Illinois Lake Michigan coastal communities. Volunteers will be trained to use them. Check our calendar for opportunities to see them in action.
HR 861 "to Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency" has been referred to several committees in the House since its introduction on Friday, Feb. 3. We are proud Judy Beck and Jeanette Neagu, members of our board, rallied to Save the EPA today in Chicago.
Many existing environmental laws establish that they will be administered by the EPA, so we are not sure how this bill would work. Currently there is no published text or summary. Keep watching for the details, and we will, too.
On Monday, January 23, 2017, LWVIN Natural Resources Advocate and LWVLMR Board Member Jeanette Neagu testified on behalf of the LWVIN to the Indiana Senate Environmental Affairs Committee. Her testimony was in regard to SB421 (Above Ground Storage Tanks) which would serve to repeal SEA 312 -- a bill the LWVIN fought to put in place in 2015. Read Jeanette's testimony here and learn why SB421 would jeopardize Indiana's water supplies. Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of clean water, Jeanette!
The Healing Our Waters--Great Lakes Coalition invited both major party Presidential candidates to speak at its annual restoration conference held last week in Sandusky, OH. Representatives from both campaigns attended, gave statements and answered several questions moderated by Todd Ambs, coalition campaign director. Great news: both pledged to continue support for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), if elected!
LWVLMR encourages all voters to be informed about where the candidates stand on Great Lakes issues. Healing Our Waters has posted videos from the forum on Facebook. Watch and determine which best represents your views on the importance of and emphasis on the lakes:
Trump campaign representative, Mike Budzik, past chief, Ohio Division of Wildlife under Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, and
Clinton campaign representative David Hayes, former deputy secretary, Department of Interior in the Obama Administration.
LWVLMR has advocated for federal funding of the GLRI with the Coalition since the start of the program. The GLRI has brought $2.2 billion of restoration projects to the Great Lakes over the last seven years, but much work is still needed to improve the health of the lakes.
Charlotte Adelman, one of the leaders of our upcoming (sold-out!) tour of native plant gardens in Wilmette, Illinois, is an expert on native plants. So which books on native plants has she found useful? She was kind enough to share her favorites with us.
Whether you are taking the tour or not, check out the following books to learn about native plants' many environmental benefits and gain insights into how to incorporate them into your own garden:
Charlotte herself is the author of The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants and the forthcoming Midwestern Native Shrubs & Trees: Gardening Alternatives to Nonnative Species. We are lucky and pleased to be able to share her expertise with our members and others who care about the Lake Michigan ecosystem!
The LWV Lake Michigan Region Annual Meeting in Douglas, Michigan back in 2011 included a paddleboat cruise on the Kalamazoo River, narrated by LWVMI delegate Suzanne Dixon. Instead of talking about the natural beauty or a thriving local ecosystem, our group learned about the environmental disaster caused by the oil spill from an Embridge pipe leak.
Today, the U.S. EPA and the Dept. of Justice today announced a settlement with Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership (and several related companies) to resolve claims stemming from its 2010 oil spills in Marshall, MI and Romeoville, IL. Enbridge has agreed to spend at least $110 million on measures to prevent spills and improve operations across nearly 2,000 miles of its pipeline system in the Great Lakes region. These measures include:
Enbridge will also pay civil penalties totaling $62 million for Clean Water Act violations.
Enbridge has already reimbursed the government for $57.8 million in cleanup costs from the Marshall spill and $650,000 for cleanup costs from the Romeoville spill, and Enbridge reportedly incurred costs in excess of $1 billion for required cleanup activities for these spills.
“This was one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history when Enbridge discharged one million gallons of oil to Talmadge Creek near Marshall,” said acting EPA Regional Administrator Robert Kaplan. “Together with our state and local emergency responders, EPA was able to contain the spill before it reached the Great Lakes. After 22 months of arduous cleanup work, the Kalamazoo River finally reopened for recreational activities.”
The government’s complaint alleges that on July 25, 2010, Enbridge's 30 inch-pipeline known as Line 6B discharged at least 20,082 barrels of crude oil, much of which entered Talmadge Creek and flowed into the Kalamazoo River which flows to Lake Michigan. Flooding caused by heavy rains pushed the discharged oil over the river's banks into its flood plains, and accelerated its migration over 35 miles downstream before it was contained. Line 6B, which originates in Griffith, IN, crosses the lower peninsula of Michigan and ends in Sarnia, Canada, has since been replaced with a new, larger pipeline, also known as Line 6B.
The complaint also alleges that on September 9, 2010, another Enbridge pipeline, known as Line 6A, discharged at least 6,427 barrels of oil in Romeoville, IL, much of which flowed through a drainage ditch into a retention pond in Romeoville.
There will be a 30 day public comment period on the consent decree. Information on how to comment will be available in the Federal Register and on the Department of Justice’s website: www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees.
More info on the settlement is available at https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/enbridge-clean-water-act-settlement
If you did not attend the well-received program on Water and Climate Change on June 18 in Washington DC, you are in luck!
The speaker, The Nature Conservancy's Global Policy Director, Lynn Scarlett, generously has shared her slide presentation with us. The slides and a video of the program are now available on the LWV Lake Michigan Region homepage.
The entire video is about 55 minutes long. If you are pressed for time, make sure to see Scarlett's presentation. It starts at 1:25 and runs until about 30:46.
LWVLMR sponsored this presentation along with 9 other county, state, and regional Leagues and the LWVUS Climate Change Task Force.
We are beaming with pride that LWVLMR President Henrietta Saunders was elected to the national League of Women Voters Board on Sunday, June 19, 2016. She was elected as an officer in the position of Treasurer. Having benefited from her governance ourselves, we are confident that her leadership, fiduciary and pecuniary skills will serve the larger organization well.
Congratulations to Hank, and to LWVUS!
Members from across the country are arriving in Washington DC for the League of Women Voters Biennial Convention. LWVLMR is proud to cosponsor a caucus on the nexus of water issues and climate change with 2 other InterLeague groups, 1 county League, six state Leagues, and the LWVUS Climate Change Task Force. In preparation for this presentation, we asked Leagues to share their recent activities on these issues.
And we have been impressed and inspired by the response! Clearly, these are important issues in many communities across. Check out the Member Resources page to see the breadth of local projects and programs.