PWIR: Election Day is Tomorrow! You Ready?

A weekly update on environmental policy happenings from Ryan Werder, Political Director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters (Twitter: @rjwerder).

Election Day is on Tuesday! Are you prepared to vote in your local elections? As you’ll read in this week’s PWIR, there can be massive statewide repercussions from even the smallest local votes. Find out how and why. Also, find your polling place.

It’s Election Day tomorrow!

Elections matter. Those two words are at the heart of everything Michigan LCV does and should be in the forefront of every citizen’s mind tomorrow. Do you know where your polling place is and who is on your ballot? Find out today and make a plan to go vote tomorrow.

Local Elections Matter: The Example of the Saugatuck Dunes

Local elections matter. Take Saugatuck Township, for example: The township residents voted for a Board of Trustees that they thought would protect their interests and protect the Lake Michigan shoreline that defines their community and the tourism dollars that sustain their vibrant community.

Enter Oklahoma billionaire, Aubrey McClendon and his plans to destroy the Saugatuck Dunes by building condos and a marina over them. You can find the whole saga here, but let’s fast-forward to the recent news and why those small township elections mattered so much.

Ultimately, the Township Board of Trustees caved to the pressure of McClendon. A stronger Board could have held off McClendon’s plans for destroying the Dunes but (say it with me), elections matter. Fortunately, a federal judge ruled earlier this week that the “agreement” signed by the Trustees and McClendon violates the law in fundamental ways.

That crucial ruling breathes new life into the effort to save the Saugatuck Dunes. The fight isn’t done, though, so we’re going to keep spreading the word and standing with the residents of the region to preserve the Dunes. Stay tuned (and stay informed with our Execucitve Director’s guest blog in MetroMode). Oh, and GO VOTE!!!

The Recall Election in Grand Blanc

Many of you may have heard of the recall election against Republican State Representative Paul Scott that will occur tomorrow. The story ofhow we got to the point of a recall vote includes innumerable court battles, increased partisanship in the Legislature (if you can imagine that is even possible), and retaliatory politics and policies.

This recall – as well as the ones that are threatened for roughly a half dozen Democrats in February – are embarrassing wastes of taxpayers’ dollars, time, and attention. Furthermore, they poison the entire political process in Michigan and make an election season out of every season, leaving no time for actual legislating.

Recall elections used to be rare, but that is no longer the case. They have become just another tool for Republicans, Democrats, and powerful interest groups to use against each other. This particular recall against Rep. Scott was pursued for purely political reasons. Of course, in turn, the Republicans and their associated interest groups responded by targeting a handful of Democrats for recall, too.

Anyway, I detest recall elections as much as I detest how state Party conventions decide allegedly non-partisan State Supreme Court nominations, so I don’t want to devote too much time to this. If you live in Rep. Scott’s district, please still go vote tomorrow but do not forget about the races down the ballot. No matter how small the issue – or, in this case, how damaging to the democratic process – it is always important to vote.

However you cast that vote, once you’re done, please call your representative and tell them to get back to work on the issues that really matter.

Unnecessary Oil Subsidies Take Center Stage in Michigan

If you live in North Michigan, you’ve probably already seen the ads run by the national League of Conservation Voters. The crux of the message is that the average Michigan family pays $6000 in federal taxes each year but, meanwhile, the oil industry is pulling down $6000 each minute in federal subsidies. The focus is on Congressman Benishek who famously noted that oil companies are paying their “fair share.”


Another national group – the centrist fiscal watchdog organization,.

This recent national attention to Michigan is only one more indicator of the pivotal role that our state will play throughout 2012 and all the way through Election Day. It’s a lot of pressure, but I’m confident we are all up to it.

Other Important News

Last week, Michigan LCV supported Congressman John Dingell’s amendment to remove restrictions on Michigan’s ability to set regulations stricter than those at the national level in order to protect the Great Lakes from invasive species. The timing of this issue at the federal level echoes a similar fight we are having at the state level. We are still encouraging Governor Snyder to veto no-stricter-than-federal bills like House Bill 4326.

Speaking of Michigan legislation to keep an eye on, here are your links to last week’s Hot Lists that note the highest priority legislation under consideration with short summaries and recommended votes: State House Hot List; State Senate Hot List.

Finally, Michigan LCV was on the scene for the protests against Congressman Cantor when he was in Ann Arbor last week. to answer why people were really there and why they were really upset.

Until next week,

Ryan Werder
Political Director

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