Michigan Activists Lobby for Air and Water Protections
Quick, what's the difference between the photo above and the photo below?
Actually, it's not too tough; the top photo is geared toward protecting clean air, the second toward protecting clean water. Both were taken on the occasion of a Sierra Club-hosted meeting with U.S. Congressman Gary Peters (in glasses and striped tie) of Michigan's 9th congressional district, just northwest of Detroit.
The meeting took place at the Sierra Club's office in Peters' district to talk about the health of the Great Lakes and a recent series of legislative acts in Congress that constitute a stealth attack on the Clean Air Act. The so-called Dirty Air Acts seek to undermine the 2007 ruling in Massachusetts vs. EPA that greenhouse gases must be regulated as air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.
"We'd already set up a meeting with Congressman Peters to discuss the Dirty Air Acts," says Tiffany Hartung of the Club's Beyond Coal campaign, "and since our Great Lakes Program was also planning to meet with him, we combined topics. We had a great turnout of Sierra Club members, community leaders, and allies—it really reflects how much Michiganders care about protecting our Great Lakes and moving towards a clean energy future."
Below, a Sierra Club rally for clean energy in Lansing last summer.
At the April 30 meeting with Peters, activists with the Club's I "Heart" Great Lakes campaign thanked him for supporting funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, co-sponsoring the Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection Act, and helping protect the Great Lakes from a potential invasion of Asian Carp by restoring the ecological barrier between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watersheds.
Joining Sierra Club members from Peters' district were area elected officials and representatives from grassroots groups including Michigan Interfaith Power and Light, 1Sky/Clean Water Action, the Climate Protection Fund, and the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.
Thanks to lobbying efforts of Big Oil and Big Coal, more and more members of Congress have been signing onto the anti-clean air proposals. At their meeting with Rep. Peters, Club activists asked him to oppose the Dirty Air Acts' attempt to undermine the EPA and the Clean Air Act. "He told us his inclination was to protect EPA authority," Hartung says.