Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Town Hall Meeting with State Representatives On Water Withdrawal and Export Issues

The Great Lakes Great Michigan Coalition will host a town hall meeting with local community leaders in Muskegon to help answer the question: "Who decides where our Great Lakes waters go?" on Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 7pm. Panelists include Dr. Mark Luttenton of Grand Valley State University, Don Studaven, Blue Lake Township Supervisor and Cyndi Roper from Clean Water Action. Representatives Doug Bennett and Mary Valentine and Senator Gerald Van Woerkom will also weigh in on pending legislation in Lansing, and answer questions and concerns from participants.

Town Hall Meeting
Thursday January 24, 2008
State Representatives Doug Bennett, Mary Valentine and State Senator Gerald Van Woerkom
Muskegon Community College, Collegiate Hall, 221 South Quarterline Road, Muskegon, MI 49442
7:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

378 Million pounds of pollutants flowed into Lake Michigan in 2005-06

Pounds of pollutants discharged into Lake Michigan and tributaries during 2005-2006

2,4-Dimethylphenol 0.791
Acenaphthene 0.038
Acenaphthylene 0.042
Aldrin 0.001
Ammonia 471,623
Anthracene 0.018
Arsenic 493
Benzene 51.31
Benzo(a)pyrene 11.83
BOD, carbonaceous 3,173,501
Cadmium 548
Carbon, total org. 466,675
Chemical oxygen demand 1,755,074
Chloride 54,825,485
Chlorine 86,224
Chromium, hex 1,918
Chromium, total 475
Chromium, total rec 2,005
Coliform, fecal
Copper 5,573
Cyanide, free 172
Cyanide, total 8,295
Cyanide, weak 88.322
DDT 0.001
Dibenzofuran 0.791
Flourene 0.02
Flouride 405,745
Iron 73,840
Lead 6.995
Magnesium 4,398,293
Manganese 1,867
Mercury 32.9
Napthalene 1.39
Nickel 2,047
Nitrogen, nitrate 1,500,946
Nitrogen, nitrite 14,467
Oil and grease 5,495,460
Oxygen demand, chem. 1,755,047
PCBs 0.275
Phenanthrene 0.01
Phenolics 13,476
Phosphorus 143,140
Selenium 18.88
Silver 92.7
Solids, dissolved 227,734,078
Solids, suspended 18,303,779
Sulfate (SO4) 59,671,523
Sulfide (S) 326.7
Tetrachloroethylene 14.86
Thallium 0.13 N/A
Zinc 30,287

Total pounds of pollutants discharged into Lake Michigan and tributaries during 2005-2006: 378,594,633

(Source: Indiana Post Tribune, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, International Joint Commission, Indiana State Department of Health)

Great Lakes Surfing, Refining, on Tap for Chicago Coastal Allies Network

Join the Chicago Coastal Allies Network for two January events that are guaranteed to get your blood pumping.

Surf's up at the Alliance for the Great Lakes Chicago office on Thursday, Jan. 17 from 5:45 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., when the C.A.N. is scheduled to host a screening of "Unsalted: A Great Lakes Experience," the documentary by Michigan filmmaker Vince Deur.

Great Lakes surfers are a rare breed, indeed, described by the movie's trailer as comprising a mix of "one part obsession, one part addiction and an unending quest for adventure."

Deur has shown his movie in California, New Zealand and South Africa -- all places that surfers call home. Enjoy free popcorn and beverages while meeting friends and other Great Lakes lovers.

On Jan. 22, from noon-1 p.m, bring a lunch and join C.A.N. members in the Chicago office for a brown bag luncheon featuring the timely issue of refinery expansion around the Great Lakes.

As oil companies plan to expand refineries along Great Lakes shorelines in Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan to process crude oil extracted from Canadian tar sands, the Alliance and others are weighing in. The harmful implications for water quality in the Great Lakes were underscored during last summer's controversy surrounding BP's water pollution discharge permit.

Lyman Welch, Alliance water quality program manager, and Joel Brammeier, Alliance vice president for policy, will discuss lessons learned from the BP experience, pending proposals for refinery expansion, and what can be done to protect the Great Lakes.

To RSVP for either event, e-mail coastalllies@greatlakes.org or call Tricia Piper at 312-939-0838 ext. 221. Can't make it into the office for the brown bag lunch? Conference call capability will be available closer to the date.

The Alliance Chicago office is located at 17 N. State Street, Suite 1390 (at Washington and State streets in downtown Chicago).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Face It: There is a Solution to Global Warming

According to Architecture 2030, there is a ‘silver bullet’ solution to global warming and it’s time the nation faced up to it. To get its message out, the non-profit organization will be hosting a nationwide webcast, called Face It, focusing on the solution. During the webcast, they will unveil two competitions about the solution with $20,000 in prize money.

The half-hour webcast will be broadcast from Architecture 2030’s website, www.architecture2030.org, beginning at 9 am EST on January 30, 2008. Focus the Nation, a national effort to engage students, faculty, administrators, citizens and government officials in discussions to address global warming, takes place January 31, 2008.

The Face It webcast will build on the information provided during Architecture 2030’s highly successful webcast, The 2010 Imperative Global Emergency Teach-in. The Teach-in, which broadcast live in February 2007 and focused on the role of design education in global warming, reached a quarter of a million students, design professionals and government officials worldwide.

The solution to global warming, according to the founder of Architecture 2030, Edward Mazria, is two-fold. “Energy use is at the heart of global warming. There are two sides to energy use, supply and demand, so any viable solution must address both sides of this coin.” On the supply side, Mazria advocates first for a US and then a global moratorium on the construction of any new conventional coal plants, and the gradual phasing out of existing coal plants by 2050. On the demand side, he advocates for adoption and implementation of The 2030 Challenge, a global initiative calling for all new buildings and renovations to reduce their fossil-fuel greenhouse-gas-emitting consumption by 50% by 2010, and that all new buildings be ‘carbon neutral’ by 2030.

To Architecture 2030’s credit, the organization’s 2030 Challenge has been adopted and supported by numerous groups, including the US Conference of Mayors, American Institute of Architects, National Association of Counties, US Green Building Council, California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission and EPA’s Target Finder, as well as many individual cities, counties and states. Beginning in 2008, the federal government will require the Challenge energy reduction targets for all new and renovated federal buildings.

The Face It webcast is part of Architecture 2030’s larger Reverberate Campaign, which will involve several events throughout 2008. The first of these are the two Reverberate Competitions to be unveiled during the webcast. Students will be asked to create something (you’ll have to tune in to the webcast to learn what) that will reverberate throughout their campus and society at large. There will be two categories, graphic design and video. In addition to the $20,000 in prize money that will be distributed amongst the winners, the winning graphic design entry will appear in a full-page ad in Metropolis magazine and the winning video entry will be featured on the Metropolis and Architecture 2030 websites.

Architecture 2030 Architecture 2030 is a New Mexico-based 501c3 research organization that focuses on the role of buildings in global warming. The Building Sector accounts for almost half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US annually. By galvanizing and collaborating with the key players in this sector, Architecture 2030 is working to achieve a dramatic reduction in the global-warming-causing greenhouse gas emissions of buildings by changing the way they are designed and constructed.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

OOOh, I love a good court battle!

Groups Appeal Court Decision Blocking Ohio Citizens from Lake Erie Shoreline

COLUMBUS, OHIO (January 8)-Conservation groups today took the first step to appeal an Ohio lower court decision that blocks Ohio citizens from walking, fishing and recreating along the shores of Lake Erie.

The groups seek to overturn a December 11th decision by Lake County Common Pleas Court Judge Eugene Lucci, which redefines the boundary separating public and private property along the Lake Erie shoreline from the ordinary high water mark to the point at which the water meets land from moment to moment—effectively barring citizens from the shores of Lake Erie unless they are in the lake itself.

“We are filing this appeal to protect the historic right of all citizens to stroll, fish and recreate along the shores of Lake Erie,” said Neil Kagan, senior attorney for the National Wildlife Federation. “The law is clear: The Lake Erie shoreline is a public trust for all to enjoy.”

The lower court ruling goes against more than 100 years of Ohio legal precedent, which holds that the land up to the high water mark be held in public trust.

“Our appeal comes down to one thing—beating back an attempt to strip Ohio citizens of their centuries-old right to access the shores of Lake Erie,” said Keith Dimoff, executive director for the Ohio Environmental Council. “This flawed decision will mean fences and "KEEP OUT" signs along our shore; we will not let that happen.”

Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann is expected to file a notice of appeal today, even though Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has sided publicly with the plaintiffs who are attempting to keep Ohio citizens off the shores of Lake Erie.

“We stand arm-in-arm with the Attorney General to uphold the right of all Ohio citizens—not just a privileged few—to enjoy access to Lake Erie,” said Larry Mitchell, president of the League of Ohio Sportsmen. “We will vigorously defend the public trust doctrine and we will prevail.”

The case, Merrill v. State of Ohio and NWF, et. al., is similar to a landmark Michigan lawsuit that resulted in a unanimous Michigan Supreme Court decision upholding the public trust up to the high water mark.

The National Wildlife Federation, Ohio Environmental Council and League of Ohio Sportsmen filed the notice of appeal with the Eleventh District Court of Appeals of Ohio.

“We are looking to re-affirm a core belief of this country grounded in legal precedent—that regardless of class or race or social standing, every American citizen has the right to enjoy access to the Great Lakes, one of our country’s natural treasures,” said Andy Buchsbaum, regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes office. “This is the foundation of not only our outdoor heritage, but our society as a whole. It’s just plain right.”

For more information visit: