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.
HEALTHY GREAT LAKES