On July 3rd, show your support for our Great Lakes, and water protection more generally. Like-minded people all around the lakes will SHOW UP to make their support visible by attending events at 10 am (Eastern Time) to join hands and pass a marble.
Events are already planned in many locations, but if there isn't an event near you, you are invited to organize one. This would be a terrific, quick project for a local League! All the information, including locations, is available from All Hands on Deck.
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!
Congratulations to the Healing Our Waters Coalition for organizing a terrific Great Lakes Days event in Washington DC. Leaguers played an important part of this group of over 100 Lake lovers who convened in February to get updates on the successes of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, hear speakers, and participate in in-person meetings with elected representatives and staff on Capitol Hill. One of our most effective handouts for making our case is a description of restoration successes from around the Great Lakes region, which can be accessed here .
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is an inter-agency program designed to address the most significant problems in the Great Lakes and works to protect, restore and maintain the Great Lakes Ecosystem. It has traditionally enjoyed bi-partisan support. At our Congressional breakfast both Republicans and Democrats from both Houses addressed the group in support of our work. Unfortunately, President Obama’s current budget requests only $250 million for FY 2017. We were lobbying to have that amount restored to $300 million to maintain the current level of funding because, although GLRI is showing real and measurable results, there is still plenty of work to be done. LWVLMR supports authorization and multi-year funding of $300 million per year for the GLRI and encourages you to contact your federal legislators in support of this position.
The visit was timely as there is heightened concern about drinking water across the states, due to the crisis in Flint, MI. So in addition to the request for GLRI support, we were also asking for a boost to the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs that help local communities upgrade aging water infrastructure to protect drinking water, reduce sewer overflows, and prevent beach contamination.
Additionally, protection against Asian carp and other invasive species coming through the Chicago Area Waterways was sought, with emphasis on speeding up the Brandon Road Feasibility study by the Army Corps of Engineers. Brandon Road is the site of a Lock and Dam on the Illinois River and was identified as a possible choke point to stop the fish in a previous study which we lobbied for.
All of our Great Lakes LWV states except Pennsylvania are members of the Healing Our Waters Coalition. Their annual conference will be September 20-22, 2016 in Sandusky, OH this year and we encourage League members to attend.
Indiana Delegate and LWV LaPorte Area member Jeannette Neagu was announced as the winner of the 2015 Art Palleon Advocacy Award at the League of Women Voters Annual Meeting in Glenview, Illinois. She was recognized for her decades of tireless work as an advocate for the environmental health and protection of Lake Michigan.
Jeanette’s stewardship of Lake Michigan began when she was a child growing up in Ogden Dunes where she attended her first League meeting with her mother. Eventually, Jeannette became a part of the Save the Dunes movement that began in the 1960's and her dedication to the area has never diminished.
Whether lobbying or testifying at hearings about policy matters related to Lake Michigan, writing, phoning, visiting elected officials in Michigan City, Indianapolis, and Washington, D.C., or traveling to the other Great Lakes states to give public presentations, Jeanette is action-oriented and tireless. She also works to educate community members by speaking on topics such as, “Introduction to Lake Michigan,” “Combined Sewer Overflows,” “Above-Ground Storage Tanks,” “Nutrient Impacts and Toxic Algae,” and more. Her eye-opening presentations have helped recruit many new members to LWV and to the cause of environmental stewardship.
Jeanette served for several terms as President of the League of Women Voters Lake Michigan Region and is currently League of Women Voters of Indiana’s Natural Resources chair.
The Art Palleon Advocacy Award was begun in memory of Wisconsin’s Art Palleon, a long-time member of the League of Women Voters Lake Michigan Region Board who always encouraged careful use of words and to take action when necessary.
Safely Disposing Prescription Drugs
If you are like us, April means its Drug Take Back time, and you are in the habit of going through your prescription and over-the-counter drug containers to weed out the expired and unneeded drugs. That is still a good idea, but this year you may have to rethink where you will bring the drugs for safe disposal so they stay out of our freshwater sources.
After organizing highly successful National Drug Take Back Days in April and October of the last four years, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has discontinued the program. Ongoing local collection sites are now available thanks to the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010.
To find a drug collection site near you, search the DEA's database, or find a site run by Yellow Jug Old Drugs®, a collection program operated by the Great Lakes Clean Water Organization in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
I have just returned from Washington, D.C. where Debbie Chub and I represented League of Women Voters of Indiana at Great Lakes Day. This is an annual event where citizen lobbyists from throughout the country come to address the need for continuation of federally funded programs to protect the Great Lakes from pollution and to restore the Areas of Concern, and discuss other important concerns about the health of the Great Lakes.
LWVIN is a member of Healing our Waters, the Coalition that organizes Great Lakes Day. The Indiana team was able to meet with Representatives Stutzman and Walorski as well as staff from the offices of Representatives Carson, Visclosky, Donnelly and Coats. The other Indiana Representatives did not respond to meeting requests.
The first day we were updated on all the marvelous projects that have been completed because of Great Lakes Restoration Funding. Please take a look at the Great Lakes, Great Impact website from the Joyce Foundation which gives you more information about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). We would appreciate any efforts you can make to gain your legislator’s support for $300 million federal dollars to continue the work of restoring the Great Lakes. Healing Our Waters has put out an action alert with valuable information about how individuals can help.
Debbie and I were also able to attend a most informative hearing called by Representative John Conyers (MI-3) and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee on how federal, state and local agencies can work together to ensure universal access to quality drinking water. The hearing was supported by Representatives Charlie Rangel (NY-13), Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), and Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18).
This link describes the problem addressed: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-conyers/drinking-water-a-human-ri_b_6754308.html
Representative Stutzman is a farmer and was most amenable to our suggestions on the necessity of reducing nutrient outflows from farm lands into our waterways. We expected to spend fifteen minutes with a staff member and instead spent forty minutes with him.
The trip was very valuable.
Jeanette Neagu, Chair
Natural Resources Committee
LWV of Indiana
Today, League members join other advocates on Capitol Hill to share the need for continued restoration of the Great Lakes. They will be discussing clean water protection, runoff pollution, and invasive species, and funding of programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, all of which are critical to the health of the lakes.
LWVLMR is a member of the Healing Our Waters - Great Lakes Coalition, which organizes Great Lakes Day every year.
We now know that unsafe methods of disposing of unused medicines— like flushing the drugs down the toilet or throwing them in the trash--may lead to drugs entering our freshwater supplies. On April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will work with local partners to give the public a safer way of ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.
Bring your pills and patches to a collection site for disposal. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. Click the Got Drugs? button to find the most convenient site near you.
Over the last 4 years, over 3.4 million pounds—more than 1,700 tons—of pills have been safely disposed through this program! That's a big win for clean water!