Michigan Political Week in Review: Jan. 25-31

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Wednesday was the six-month anniversary of nearly 1 million gallons of oil pouring into the Kalamazoo River. My own version of an anniversary card, thoughts on the president's State of the Union, and an early glance at the importance of the 2012 Senate elections in this edition of the Political Week in Review.

A Six-month Anniversary-of-the-Oil-Spill Card from Michigan to Enbridge, Inc.

Dearest Enbridge,

I’m sure it is just because you are so busy announcing the good news of your 15% dividend increase to your shareholders that caused you to forget to write on our six-month anniversary of the oil spill in Kalamazoo. But, of course, I remember. How could I not?

The chunks of floating crude you sent me were so thoughtful, as was the romantic aroma which caused headaches within minutes. You certainly knew how to set the mood for the generous amount of oil-soaked fish and wildlife that you made for me (the all-black look was so new-age and modern!).

I regret that I haven’t seen much of you since those memorable weeks I spent watching the gift that kept giving. Fortunately, there are still so many reminders of those magical times; construction crews tearing up frozen ground to be forever treasured in an EPA-monitored landfill, displaced homeowners, and a shoreline redecorated because of the toxic erosion all serve to keep the spill fresh in my mind.

Yours always (or until those final 77,154 gallons of oil you say you haven’t quite recovered are cleaned up),

Michigan

P.S. I’m still grateful for the work that Michigan LCV did to record the gift as soon as you sent it my way.I still enjoy watching it from time to time!

The State of the Union is Green

President Obama’s annual address to the nation was filled with optimistic projections on the status of the economy, foreign affairs, and even bipartisan dialogue. The President reminded us that we “do big things” and to accept the challenge to our global leadership from China and India as “our Sputnik moment.” He then went on to describe how we meet those challenges: education, entrepreneurship, infrastructure, and --- uniting those themes --- the development of clean energy.

It is our time for another moonshot, but this time we will harness the sun. This time it won’t be rocket fuel, but sleek wind turbines that propel us into the future. The pilots of this effort are not astronauts, but rather the small business owners like Michigan’s own Gary and Robert Allen. These two Michiganders took advantage of Recovery Act dollars and transformed their roofing business into a solar panel manufacturing firm that garnered a special shout-out at the State of the Union. Stories like the Allen's are the new small steps that will bring us to the new great leaps.

Be sure to check out also the good work being done by the Levin brothers in Washington to follow up on President Obama’s call for 1 million electric vehicles on the roads by 2015, too.

Because It Is Never Too Early to Talk about 2012 Elections …

The big election in Michigan in 2012 will be the re-election bid of U.S. Sen. Stabenow. Although the senator could still afford to hear from more of her constituents on the importance of preserving the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases (contact her office here), her overall environmental record is a strong one. 

There are a number of names being thrown around on the Republican side to challenge Stabenow --- former Governor Engler, former GOP State Party Chair Saul Anuzis, former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, businessman Tim Leuliette, and former Congressman Pete Hoekstra. Recent polling numbers show many of them within reach of Stabenow.

Hoekstra, for example, is within six points of the Senator. It is useful to compare their scores from National LCV over the last legislative session of 7% and 100%, respectively, to illustrate the importance of the outcome of this upcoming election.

At Michigan LCV, we will continue to watch the developments. Of course, don’t just wait for this Political Week in Review to reach your inbox or RSS feed; visit our blog regularly or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more frequent updates.

Until Next Week,

Ryan Werder

Political Director, Michigan League of Conservation Voters

P.S. What do you mean you don't get the PWIR in your inbox, yet? Email me at ryan@michiganlcv.org and we'll get that situation fixed up right away.