Lame Duck Heroes and Zeros
The end of 2018 was record-breaking. After passing 351 bills over the course of the first 22 months of Michigan’s 99th legislative session, lawmakers passed a whopping 408 bills in a frenzied four-week long lame duck session. This was the busiest and the most environmentally destructive lame duck session in state history. Many of the bills passed were so widely unpopular that sponsors neglected to introduce them until after things died down post general election.
The Michigan lame duck legislature is racing to pass attacks on our water before the new legislature and Governor are seated in January. We need all Michigan clean water activists to help fight back by making two quick phone calls, one to your State House Representative and one to your State Senator, asking them to oppose the multiple anti-environment and anti-democratic initiatives that corporate lobbyists have pushed lawmakers to pursue during this backward and unaccountable session.
In our history as an organization, Clean Water Action has never endorsed a candidate for Michigan’s Attorney General. This year, we proudly endorse Dana Nessel, the lawyer our Great Lakes desperately need.
Shortly after Representative Lee Chatfield’s race for re-election chances in the 107th State House district was moved from the “Likely Republican” column to the “Lean Republican” column by Gongwer News Service, Representative Chatfield scheduled a last minute hearing of the Michigan Competitiveness Committee, which he chairs, for Tuesday to consider a package of insufficient bills relating to Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. Other committee members were not notified of the hearing until 12 p.m. on Monday.
In mid-June, after months of pressure from Clean Water Action members and public health advocates, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) finally released their study on the health effects of PFAS contamination.
Each year, 9.4 billion gallons of raw sewage flow into our lakes and rivers from leaking septic systems, but Michigan is the only state in the U.S. without a uniform sanitary code requiring periodic inspections of septic systems.
We have two options here: demand our elected officials to act on behalf of their constituents and decommission Line 5 before it fails, or continue to elect people like Governor Snyder and Attorney General Schuette and keep our fingers crossed.
Last week, Saginaw Township’s wastewater retention and treatment basins overflowed. After just over two inches of rainfall stressed the outdated sewer infrastructure to its failing point, over three million gallons of partially treated sewage was released into the Tittabawassee River.
During the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board’s public comment period on Line 5 in July, over 11,000 Clean Water Action members in Michigan made their voices heard, telling the state to immediately decommission the Line 5 pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.