Please Submit Your Nomination for Environmentalist of the Year

The Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is now accepting nominations for our 28th Annual Environmentalist of the Year Awards & Celebration to be held on Friday, April 22 from 6-9 pm at the Park Place Dome.

Our guest speaker will be Liz Kirkwood from FLOW. Liz has been one of the outstanding leaders of the Oil & Water Don’t Mix campaign to shut down the Line 5 oil pipeline at the Straits of Mackinac.

Awards will honor businesses, organizations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the protection of Northern Michigan’s environment.

CLICK HERE TO SEND US YOUR NOMINATION FOR OUR 2016 ENVIRONMENTALIST OF THE YEAR 

Thursday, Feb. 11 at 6:30 | Solar Success Stories

NMEAC’s Solar Success Stories event will be held on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 6:30 at the Traverse Area Library.

Please join us and find out about the region’s latest solar installations along with energy expert Skip Pruss and Dan Worth from Groundwork Center on a new solar energy campaign in Traverse City and Frankfort.

This plus much, much more.

Call Greg Reisig at 231-264-8396, or write mail@NMEAC.org for more information

NMEAC News

The Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is dedicated to preserving our natural environment through citizen action and education. Founded in 1980 we are the oldest grassroots environmental organization in the Grand Traverse region. This year we celebrated our 35th anniversary, which is a major accomplishment for an all-volunteer organization. We are working on a number of issues and wanted to share them with you:

OIL & WATER DON’T MIX CAMPAIGN

NMEAC has joined with over 20 environmental organizations in the state to call for a shut down of the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipelines at the Straits of Mackinac. This year we have participated in numerous rallies, handed out yard signs, and worked to raise awareness of one of the biggest environmental issues in Michigan. The coalition has elevated the risk posed by the 62-year-old Line 5 pipelines from obscurity to a top tier state issue. We are proud to be working with our local partners at FLOW (for the love of water), the Groundwork Center and TC-350 on this incredibly important issue to all of us in northern Michigan.  Info: oilandwaterdontmix.org 

NMEAC SOLAR INITIATIVE

This year NMEAC held four citizen stakeholder meetings to advocate for solar and wind energy in our region. Participants included city commissioners, chamber members, business owners, Traverse City Light and Power, as well as community leaders. Skip Pruss, from 5 Lakes Energy, helped to facilitate these successful meetings. NMEAC continues to advocate for 100% wind and solar energy in our region. We will also hold several events this fall and winter to recognize a number of successful solar projects in the Grand Traverse area. 

SPRAWL MAKES A COMEBACK

NMEAC spoke out regarding ill-conceived development along M-72 west at The Moorings and joined with adjacent resident groups in opposing an MDEQ permit to fill wetlands for an access road at this site behind Tom’s West Bay. In addition, we joined with the Watershed Center in expressing concern about huge sediment runoffs into Acme Creek from the sprawling Village at Grand Traverse development along M-72 just east of Acme.

BOARDMAN LAKE SETBACKS

NMEAC joined with the Watershed Center to take legal action in circuit court to reverse a Traverse City Zoning Board of Appeals ruling which granted a setback variance for a developer along the west side of Boardman Lake. Even though city ordinances call for a 50 feet setback from the lake, the city ZBA granted a variance to reduce the setback to 25 feet. The circuit court heard the case and reversed the ZBA ruling. Concerns also remain about the city’s setbacks from the river in the downtown area.

LITTLE BETSIE WETLANDS

Six years ago, NMEAC joined with Interlochen Center for the Arts and adjacent residents near Interlochen to file legal action in circuit court to deny an MDEQ permit to fill wetlands for a road to a small, four-lot development. These important wetlands are near the Little Betsie River. The court heard arguments from long-time NMEAC attorney Jim Olson and, eventually, remanded the permit back to MDEQ. This fall action on the case resumes with a hearing before an administrative law judge in Lansing. The developer must prove there are no prudent and feasible alternatives to his small development in an important wetland area.

HOMESTEAD SEPTAGE ISSUE

Problems with the Homestead Resort’s septage system have been on NMEAC’s agenda since 1991. In recent years the resort has used a spray irrigation system to dispose of its septage on 11 acres of National Park Service land. Local residents and watchdogs calling themselves The Drifters have monitored the spray system and found that spray often drifts beyond the designated area onto adjacent lands that are part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. NMEAC has called for a public hearing on a new MDEQ permit that continues to allow spray drift to reach public lands. We hope the hearing will be held this fall in Glen Arbor.

ENVIRONMENTALIST OF THE YEAR AWARDS & CELEBRATION

This is our biggest event of the year and we are proud to report the 2015 event at the Park Place Dome was our largest in NMEAC history with over 225 people attending last April. We were fortunate to have Skip Pruss, from 5 Lakes Energy, as our guest speaker on climate change and the urgent need to transition to wind and solar energy. NMEAC handed out 17 awards in a wide variety of fields for outstanding environmental work.

We are already in the planning stages for our April 22, 2016 event, which will feature Liz Kirkwood, executive director of FLOW, as our guest speaker. Liz is one of the brightest, shining stars of the environmental community and she will be speaking about efforts to shut down the Line 5 oil pipelines at the Straits as well as water as a public trust.

Beginning January 1 we will be accepting nominations for the 2015 awards.

Solar Celebration Event | Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7 pm

The Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is hosting a Solar Celebration event on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7 pm at the Traverse Area Library on Woodmere Ave. in Traverse City to recognize successful solar projects from around the Grand Traverse region.

The program will feature Skip Pruss from 5 Lakes Energy presenting an update on the need to transition to wind and solar energy. Also included will be: Short’s Brewing, Traverse Heights Elementary, Light of Day Organic Tea Farm, Leelanau Solar, American Waste and much, much more. The program will also feature Groundwork Center’s new Clean Energy Specialist Dan Worth on goals and objectives focused on increasing solar production in the area.

For more information please call Greg Reisig at 231-264-8396 or visit NMEAC’s facebook page.

Background

NMEAC has been advocating for a transition to solar energy for over five years. During that time we have held numerous meetings and met extensively with Traverse City Light & Power board chairman John Taylor.

Last winter, NMEAC held three community stakeholder meetings at the Park Place Hotel to discuss our goal of 100% renewable energy by 2025. These meetings were very successful and included representatives from the city commission, Northwest Michigan College, Traverse City Area Schools, SEEDS, Groundwork Center, 5 Lakes Energy, Leelanau Solar as well as many other groups.

These meetings led to a recent luncheon at Stella’s Restaurant which was attended by several businesses to hear about corporate initiatives to go solar and use renewable energy as well as methods of financing which might be used.

While NMEAC remains committed to removing the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipelines at the Straits of Mackinac we also will continue to advocate for the much needed transition to wind and solar energy in our region. Greg Reisig

Campaign Calls on State to Shut Down Pipelines, Launch Public Review of Risks & Alternatives

THE THREAT – A pair of 62‐year‐old oil pipelines running along the bottom of the Mackinac Straits threaten lasting harm to the Great Lakes, drinking water supplies, fisheries, businesses, public recreation, and the region’s tourist‐driven economy stretching from Lake Michigan’s Beaver Island to Mackinac Island to Rogers City down the Lake Huron shore.

Built in 1953, the pipelines carry nearly 23 million gallons of oil every day through the powerful currents in the Mackinac Straits, about two miles west of the Mackinac Bridge. The pipelines are owned by Enbridge, Inc., the Canadian company responsible for the spill of one million gallons of heavy tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River watershed in 2010.

Nearly 60 percent of all pipeline disasters nationwide are linked to corrosion, welding, material or equipment failures. Campaign experts raise similar corrosion concerns on Line 5, including structural impacts from invasive zebra and quagga mussels on the pipeline exterior. Relying on 1950s technology, the twin oil pipelines also have an outdated protective coating and welds connecting the 40‐foot segments that make up the pipelines, and lack the required number of supports to secure the pipes in the powerful currents of the Straits, the experts found.

Thousands of citizens and dozens of environmental groups, businesses, Indian tribes, and communities support the Oil & Water Don’t Mix campaign’s goal to protect the Great Lakes from a catastrophic oil spill.

Read More: http://NMEAC.org/documents/OWDM-Line5FACTSHEET-Revised7-7-2015.pdf

Thank you for joining NMEAC in Mackinaw City & Making Your Voice Heard!

The Mackinac Policy Conference is on Mackinac Island (May 27-29). Most of the attendees, media and dignitaries, will have arrived on May 26. We were there to welcome them with signs showing that we don’t like the two 60+ year-old Enbridge pipelines carrying petroleum products which are lying on the bottom of the Straits!  “Hasn’t leaked yet”, Enbridge says.  NMEAC says:  SHUT THEM DOWN! 

READ: LINE 5 FACTS

NMEAC, was one of twenty organizations of Oil & Water Don’t Mix, on site to demonstrate our concern and advocate for the protection of our Great Lakes.

Environmentalist of the Year Awards and Celebration | April 24 at 6pm

Traverse City Park Place Dome — We look forward to sharing our annual gathering featuring you along with hundreds of the regions leading environmental stewards and advocates to honor and celebrate our community

If you wish to purchase tickets ahead of time and avoid waiting in line, click here GET TICKETS NOW

Hard of hearing … NMEAC hears you!

BY POPULAR DEMAND: once again, technology for hearing clarity available for those with and without hearing aids or cochlear implants, with and without telecoils.”

Please contact us prior to the event, if possible, and we’ll do our best to be sure that you hear clearly.

At the event, ask for M’Lynn (who is operating the audio equipment for personal assistance.)

mail@nmeac.org or call 231.943.5050

The “Environmentalist of the Year Event and Celebration” is wheelchair accessible.

Posted in EOY

Friday April 24: NMEAC’s Environmentalist of the Year Awards and Celebration

You won’t want to miss our amazing featured speaker this year

Stanley “Skip” Pruss is a principal and co-founder of 5 Lakes Energy LLC. Until August, 2010, Mr. Pruss was the Director of the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth and Michigan’s Chief Energy Officer, where he was responsible for designing and implementing Michigan’s clean energy economy diversification efforts.

Skip also served as Governor Jennifer Granholm’s Special Advisor for Renewable Energy and the Environment, Michigan’s Chief Energy Officer, and Chair of the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Council. Prior to that, he was the Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Until 2003, Skip served as the Assistant Attorney General in Charge of Michigan’s Consumer Protection Division where he was also Chair of the Department of Attorney General’s Public Protection Practice Group.

Earlier in his career, Skip practiced environmental protection and natural resource law and served as legal advisor to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Skip litigated and brought to successful conclusion one of the largest natural resource damage cases in the country. The $172 million Ludington Pumped Storage Facility settlement resulted in the mitigation of fish mortality, conveyed thousands of acres of pristine waterfront properties to the State, and created the Great Lakes Fisheries Trust.

Skip has received numerous public service awards and citations including being named Leader of the Year in 2010 by the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association, Guardian of the Great Lakes in 2009 by Clean Water Action, Conservationist of the Year by Michigan United Conservation Clubs and selection by the American Bar Association as a recipient of the Mary C. Lawton Award for Outstanding Government Service.

Buy tickets NOW for NMEAC Environmentalist of the Year Awards and Celebration

Posted in EOY

Cass Street Dam Bridge and River Restoration Update

As the Boardman River Dams & Restoration Project moves forward, the Project Implementation Team is inviting leaders in the community to meet for an informal discussion and update about the project, its background, funding, and proposed next steps—including removal of Boardman Dam and replacement of Cass Road bridge.

The meetings will be held at the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce first floor conference room (202 East Grandview Parkway). A light lunch will be provided – please include any specific dietary requirements with your RSVP. The luncheons are scheduled at:

12:00 – 1:30 PM Thursday, February 12
12:30 – 2:00 PM Wednesday, February 18
12:00 – 1:30 PM Friday, February 20

Seating is limited – please RSVP with the date of your choice to casey@rivercare.org or 231-946-6817.