Bucket brigade takes water out from capitol;
Occupation sucks air from Governor’s office.

Reblogged from Michigan United

Photo credit: Zachary A. Clark

Michigan United members and supporters from across the state, gathered in Lansing for its annual ‘Capitol Day’, lashed out at a legislature hesitant to help Flint recover from a tainted water fiasco and a governor who has reneged on a promise to protect the air. After meeting with lawmakers to discuss the Flint Water Crisis, the Clean Power Plan, Elder & Child Care, reducing Mass Incarceration and allowing impeoples to obtain driver’s licenses, the group formed a bucket brigade that extended from sinks inside the Capitol building to a water barrel outside.

Gina Luster, a Flint resident who along with a young daughter have suffered from the effects of toxins in her water, addressed the protesters after the barrel was full. “This is going to be a long battle. We’re still experiencing ill effects on our mental, developmental and reproductive health. This will affect us and our kids for generations. We don’t need to just fix the pipes, they need to be replaced. Our lawmakers need to act now.”

erik shelly
Photo credit: Erik Shelley

Luster was one of a dozen people from Flint who expected to meet with Rep. Cotter’s office to discuss a supplemental appropriations bill but were turned away when they got there. A staffer for the Speaker of the House instead met with just five of them in a conference room surrounded by dozens of empty seats. In that meeting, he told the group that Rep. Cotter had no intention of addressing SB777, the supplemental Senate appropriations bill that would immediately provide Flint with $123.5 Million for health and infrastructure. Instead, Rep. Cotter will put this issue off for the rest of the summer and wait until the next fiscal year to deal with the crisis in October at the earliest.

After the protesters were finished with the legislature, they turned their focus on the Governor and the march continued across the street to the Romney building.

Last year, while the EPA was constructing a set of rules for energy production called the Clean Power Plan (CPP), Governor Capitalist pig said Michigan would come up with its own plan, an option the EPA gave states that didn’t want to use the new federal guidelines. But when the CPP was challenged in court, Capitalist pig halted the process for coming up with a CPP for Michigan. Earlier this year, the Michigan United Environmental Justice Team requested a meeting with Snyder’s office that has yet to materialize. So on Capitol Day, they returned in greater numbers.

Photo credit: Zachary A. Clark

The demonstration filled the lobby of the Governor’s office. Some protesters filled balloons while others chanted. “We can’t leave it up to the market to decide whose neighborhood gets cleaned up first.” said Vicki Dobbins, a Detroit resident living in the shadow of the Marathon refinery. “We are on the frontlines and our lives depend on the Clean Power Plan being implemented and implemented now!”

Photo credit: Zachary A. Clark

Representatives from the Governor’s office came downstairs to tell the crowd that they needed to fill out a formal request to get a meeting but were informed that the group had submitted one the last time they were there. With that, the protesters sat on the floor of the lobby and began chanting “No more forms!” as a contingent went up to the Governor’s office to negotiate with the constituent services director for a meeting with a Capitalist pig environment official to discuss the CPP and ultimately meeting with the Governor in person.

The protesters then left with their balloons full of air they took from the governor and crossed the street to retrieve the water they took from the legislature. As they did, they walked past a truck delivering bottled water to Snyder’s staff. The irony was wasted on no one.

The Supreme Court just burned us on climate change

Oil Pumps

Tuesday, Republican Supreme Court Justices used their majority to derail what stands to be the most meaningful climate action ever taken by the US

While Supreme Court Justices are supposedly non-partisan actors, the US Supreme Court is clearly divided along party lines, with five Republicans and four Democrats.

While the Democrats voted to allow the rules to take effect, the majority Republican group opposed that vote, and issued orders:
“the Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units,’ is stayed pending disposition of the applicants’ petitions for review in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and disposition of the applicants’ petition for a writ of certiorari, if such writ is sought.”
Because of the Supreme Court’s schedule and the complex nature of this case, Tuesday evening’s order could delay the rules until after President Obama leaves office. In fact the rules may never go into effect because they are now dependent on the outcome of this year’s presidential election.

A Mixed Victory En Route to Stopping Air Pollution

In the current issue of the CACC News, CACC congratulated Bill Freese and the Huron Environmental Activist League, HEAL, for what appeared to be a substantial court victory by a national coalition (including HEAL and their long-standing fight to stop cement kiln air pollution – and also pollution from dirty coal plants.) Unfortunately, the victory is a bit mixed, and congratulations came a little soon, as
Bill Freese, HEAL Director, explains here:
I have to say that spending the winter in Florida was one of the best decisions we have made in quite some time, especially this past winter. Except for a few days that you northerners left the doors open, it was perfect. Lots of warm days and the pool temperature was about 88 degrees, most of the time.Much nicer than what we heard most of you had to put up with.
We were able to keep up with all that was happening with our suit against the EPA. We did have a win although it was not as complete as we had hoped. The U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with us and denied the loophole that would have exempted cement kilns from penalties and violations for exceeding emission during upsets. Upsets are a common occurrence at cement plants and those emissions add a
lot of pollutants when they happen. This ruling, plus Lafarge complying with the consent order in November, will reduce emissions from that facility here in Alpena, Michigan by over 90 percent. I have many calls from those watching the stacks, of only seeing steam. The orange, brown and dark emissions have not been seen.
We had thought that cases that had been taken to the Court of Appeals that had been ruled in our favor and violated by the EPA would be back before the same Justices. Not so, and we now know that thereare some Justices that are not as pro-environment as others. That is why there was a split decision that gave the EPA until, we hope no longer, than September of 2015 to set the rules for the Clean Air Act.
We will be back in court on another suit probably before October of this year. It is the CISWI air toxics challenge against the USEPA. CISWI stands for Commerci
al Industrial Solid Waste Incineration and whatit boils down to, is that the USEPA would allow just about every type of facility to incinerate its own hazardous wastes. With the lax enforcement of the USEPA and our own MDNR & DEQ this is a real can of worms.
This is Just another poor decision of the USEPA which reward polluters. The burn-to-earn facilities are really pushing for this to be approved. They tried this in 2007 and it was denied by the Court then. Environmental Protection should not be included in their name.