Michigan Chapter

Healthy Communities

 

All people have a right to a clean and healthy environment and Sierra Club believes that empowering communities to protect themselves from pollution and destruction of their quality of life is fundamental to our mission. 

As a grassroots environmental organization, Sierra Club members and activists work to clean up toxic sites and stop polluters, promote sound energy and solid waste policies, work for sound land use and protect open spaces, farmland and wild places.  Sierra Club members and staff use all legal means to engage the public and protect communities, from going door to door, to testifying at hearings, to working for the election of environmental champions.

Michigan has a lot at stake when it comes to water quality.  Right now Sierra Club’s Michigan Water Sentinels are working on three of the biggest threats to our waters, and you can help with these efforts.

1)      Large scale concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs or factory farms) are hurting water quality in Michigan’s lakes and streams, including the Great Lakes. These massive operations produce more sewage than small cities, but they don’t treat it the way that cities must.  We're working to document pollution and to get better enforcement of clean water laws.  We’re also working to strengthen our laws and permits to prevent pollution from these facilities. You can help – contact CAFO Water Sentinel Lynn Henning or Rita Chapman to find out more.  

2)      Michigan is experiencing a new boom in Natural Gas production.  A relatively new technological approach, called Hydraulic Fracturing, is being utilized by gas companies to extract even more gas out of shale formations.  Because there is a high potential for groundwater and surface water contamination if the hydraulic fracturing, or Fracking, is not done properly, the Michigan Chapter is working for stronger regulations to protect our water and our communities. 

As we find and develop more materials, we'll create a new webpage dedicated solely to Fracking, that will contain resources and take-action opportunities.  For now, you may download our Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan slideshow that we presented to our Great Lakes Clean Water Team at their meeting on January 28, 2011.  Download the slideshow either in the larger full-size slides version (4MB) or the smaller 2-slides-per-page version (1.5MB).

3)      Metallic mining is making a resurgence in the Upper Peninsula, and Sierra Club’s Michigan Water Sentinel volunteers are monitoring water quality in streams near the sites of new proposed non-ferrous mineral mines to document their current clean water quality. (Defending precious resources from harm depends on knowing what’s at stake.)  You can help with this vital effort – contact Rita Chapman to learn more.

Campaigns

Suburban Sprawl
Sierra Club volunteers in Michigan have led the way to protect open space, farm lands, wetlands and woodlands from development and sprawl. Sierra Club Cool Cities have been established in 23 Michigan communities as a result of Sierra Club volunteers' work. Greening local communities through improved transportion, sound zoning and planning practices and reinvesting in urban areas are at the top of our list. Find out more about our work!

Environmental Justice
The fight for Environmental Justice means working with community members to fight against destructive pollution and assaults on their health and well-being. As Rhonda Anderson, Sierra Club's Detroit Environmental Justice Organizer points out, environmental problems are at the heart of many of the problems in communities, even if they aren't always identified as such. Today, Sierra Club Environmental Justice volunteers and staff are: - fighting against a proposed expansion of the Marathon Oil Refinery in Detroit; - continuing efforts to close down the Detroit Incinerator, the largest municipal solid waste incinerator in the world; - joining the fight against new and expanded coal plants in Michigan to help stop global warming, and much more. Sierra Club organizer Rhonda Anderson spends her days working with Detroit residents and local politicians to fight for the rights of communities already overburdened with polluting industries. In 2007 Rhonda was one of the activists who spurred Governor Jennifer Granholm to sign an EJ Executive Order. Rhonda's powerful voice as a community advocate was recently recognized by the Michigan Chronicle, who named her as "One of the 10 Voices of Change for 2007".

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