March 2 | Clean Energy Now

Please mark your calendars for NMEAC’s CLEAN ENERGY NOW !! program to be held on Thursday, March 2 at 6:30 pm at the Traverse Area Library. The program will feature Skip Pruss speaking on climate change and the need to transition to clean energy sources. In addition, Kate Madigan will be speaking on the group TC 100 and Traverse City’s new goal of moving to 100% clean energy by 2020. Please join us.

April-28 | Environmentalist of the Year Awards

aaronpayment Save the date for our 29th Annual Environmentalist of the Year Awards & Celebration on Friday, April 28 from 6-9 pm at the Dennos Museum and Milliken Auditorium

Aaron Payment, Tribal Chair of the Soo Tribe, will be the guest speaker. Aaron will be speaking about Line 5 and tribal fishing rights in the Straits plus much, much more. Stay tuned for more details in January.

We will be accepting nominations starting in January.

2016 Fall Newsletter

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 36th anniversary. As an all-volunteer organization we are working on a number of issues and wanted to share them with you.

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, film events, handed out yard signs and stickers and worked to raise public awareness of this issue. The coalition has elevated the risks posed by the 63-year Line 5 pipelines to a top tier statewide issue. Over 67 municipalities have signed resolutions calling for the shut down of Line 5 including the City of Traverse City and Grand Traverse County. Please go to for complete information.

NMEAC has been promoting the transition to solar energy for over seven years. This year the effort expanded into a new group called TC100. The group includes: Groundwork Center, TC350, Michigan Environmental Council, Citizens Climate Lobby and SEEDS. In October we co- sponsored a presentation on climate change by former Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell. We are also working with the City of Traverse City to set a goal of 100% clean energy in all city-owned buildings and facilities. In addition, NMEAC brought climate change activist Peter Sinclair to Traverse City twice in 2016. Peter’s well recognized “Climate Crock of the Week” and his numerous trips to Greenland have put him at the front of the climate change movement.

NMEAC voiced opposition to the ill-conceived plans for the 81 on East Bay development on the Old Mission Peninsula and helped support a new group called Preserve Old Mission. The development site includes steep ridges along East Bay and a spectacular woods running along the tops of those steep ridges. The developer wants to level the ridges to gain views of the Bay. We have also been involved with The Moorings development along M-72 near Tom’s West Bay. The developers recently received a violation notice from MDEQ concerning large amounts of sediment flowing to both wetlands on the site and into a local creek that empties into West Bay.

NMEAC joined with concerned citizens in downtown Traverse City to file a circuit court appeal of a special land use permit approved by the city commission. We voiced concerns about setbacks from the Boardman River and contaminated soils at the site along with the size and scope of this huge project. Judge Phil Rodgers remanded the permit back to the city commission. We have expressed concerns about the required 10-foot setback along the Boardman and feel a zoning change is needed to a minimum of 25 ft. New developments along the river have stripped all trees, bushes and vegetation and threaten to turn the river into a channel running through town.

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 land within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Local residents calling themselves The Drifters have continued to monitor spray drift onto adjacent lands and outside the boundaries of the spray area. Recently, NMEAC called for a public hearing when MDEQ was preparing a new five-year permit for the discharge. This was largely ignored and the permit was granted. We are still hopeful this issue can be resolved.

This is our biggest event of the year and we are proud to report the 2016 event at the Park Place Dome was among our largest in NMEAC history with over 225 people attending last April 22. We were extremely fortunate to have Liz Kirkwood, executive director of FLOW, as our guest speaker. Liz spoke about the urgency of the Line 5 issue at the Straits. NMEAC handed out 17 awards for environmental excellence in a number of categories. We are already in the planning stages for our April 21, 2017 event and will be accepting nominations for awards on January 1. Go to to make nominations.

“We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community
to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
Aldo Leopold

October 6 | Mayor of Grand Rapids on Clean Energy

George Heartwell on Clean EnergyGeorge Heartwell will be speaking about clean energy on October 6 at 7 pm at the Central United Methodist Church.

Former Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell is coming to Traverse City to share his experiences at the Paris climate talks and to discuss how cities can take local action in the fight against global climate change.

Early in his tenure as Grand Rapids mayor, Heartwell saw the threat of climate change to his community and began working to mitigate climate impacts and to create a city infrastructure that will be resilient to those impacts. During his 12 years as mayor, Heartwell led the city to set a 100% renewable energy goal—the first in Michigan—and significantly reduce its carbon footprint through a variety of other measures.

The discussion will feature an introduction from Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers, as well as a closing panel discussion with Heartwell and local leaders.

The discussion is co-hosted with the Michigan Climate Action Network, TC350, Michigan Environmental Council, SEEDS, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, LIAA, NMEAC, and Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

Sponsored by Oryana Community Co-op, and Central United Methodist Church’s Creation Stewards Ministry.

UPDATE: TC100 (Green Energy Initiative)

NMEAC has been advocating for solar energy for the last seven years. Our work has now been joined by Groundwork, TC 350, Michigan Environmental Council and others to form the TC100 group. We have made several presentations at Traverse City Light & Power meetings urging them to move to clean energy (wind and solar). We will be continuing this effort into the fall by pressing for Traverse City to move to 100% clean energy for all municipal buildings. In addition, former Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell will be speaking about clean energy on October 6 at 7 pm at the Central United Methodist Church. NMEAC will also be bringing climate change activist Peter Sinclair to Traverse City on Oct. 26 at 6:30 pm at the Traverse Area LIbrary.

UPDATE: Oil & Water Don’t Mix Campaign

NMEAC has joined with over 25 environmental groups on this campaign to Shut Down Line 5 oil pipelines at the Straits. We have made great progress and have been successful in elevating this issue to much greater public awareness. NMEAC will be at the Straits on September 3 and the Annual Bridgewalk on September 5. Please visit the Oil & Water Don’t website for all the latest information on this critical issue.

Environmentalist of the Year Awards | April 22 at 6pm

We look forward to you joining us at the 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.

We will be serving up a sampling of regional cuisine and adult beverages.

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR | Park Place Dome, 300 E State St, Traverse City