Dear Michigan LCV Family,
Welcome to the April 20, 2023 edition of Three Things Thursday!
Before we dive into this week’s Three Things, I’d like to recognize the amazing Catherine Coleman Flowers, whom many may remember was the keynote speaker at Michigan LCV’s 2022 Annual Detroit Gala. That night, Catherine shared stories about people all over this country living without running water and sanitary sewers, with strong emphasis on her home in Lowndes County, Alabama. She drew a clear line between historic racism and ongoing discrimination and the disproportionate number of people suffering from water-related inequities and traumas (illnesses, inability to bathe and provide formula to their babies, etc.). She also provided powerful answers to the problems, illustrating her deep understanding of the issues from an environmental justice, engineering, economic and political perspective.
The crowd gathered that evening in the fall of 2022 departed having learned so much and feeling inspired to make change. Catherine has done this for years all across the country, raising awareness and becoming a thought partner for so many, including those in the halls of Washington, DC where important decisions must be made to address these ongoing injustices.
Michigan LCV board member Marseille Allen, Catherine Coleman Flowers, and Michigan LCV board member Kerry Duggan at the Michigan LCV 2022 Detroit Gala.
Just this week, Catherine was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2023! As you may note, Bryan Stevenson –executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy, wrote the tribute. Congratulations, Catherine! This is a recognition that is tremendously well-deserved!
Now, let’s turn to this week’s Three Things:
1. Michigan Senate formally introduces Clean Energy bills
As I wrote about in last week’s Three Things, climate action is happening in Michigan and there is much to be excited about.
After unveiling the MI Clean Energy Future Plan last Wednesday – a legislative package that will support and solidify Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate Plan – State Senators Sam Singh, Sue Shink, Erika Geiss, Rosemary Bayer, and Kristen McDonald Rivet formally introduced the bills in session yesterday.
Now that we have official bill numbers, here’s a closer look at the Clean Energy Future Plan:
The package includes Senate Bills 271 through 277.
- Senate Bill 271: Amend the 2008 Clean and Renewable Energy and Energy Waste Reduction Act to remove biomass, landfill gas and fuel produced from waste as renewable energy resources, adding nuclear energy and strengthening renewable energy requirements for utilities leading up to a 100% renewable energy portfolio by 2035.
- Senate Bill 272: Allow the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to consider factors like climate, health, equity and affordability when evaluating the integrated resource plans of electrical utilities.
- Senate Bill 273: Amend the Clean and Renewable Energy and Energy Waste Reduction Act, increasing the state’s energy waste reduction standard to 2% of total annual electricity sales.
- Senate Bill 274: Reduce emissions from heating homes and businesses by developing a construction decarbonization plan.
- Senate Bill 275: Establish a standard for reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuels.
- Senate Bill 276: Require the phase out of coal-fired energy plants in the state by 2030.
- Senate Bill 277: Allow farmers to rent land for solar energy production while maintaining farmland preservation standards.
This will be the primary focus of our work over the next many weeks and months as we are DEEPLY dedicated to getting this across the finish line. This bill package is essential to accomplishing all that Governor Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate Plan proposes. Please join us in communicating your support to your state legislators. Click here to tell your lawmaker: Support Our Clean Energy Future!
2. Celebrate Earth Day with Michigan LCV
As we continue to elevate the importance of water protections and addressing the climate crisis through bold action right here in Michigan, our team is pulling out all the stops for Earth Day. This Saturday, April 22nd, we will be celebrating the progress we have made, and looking ahead to the work yet to be done to protect the health of our people and this beautiful planet. No matter where you live, there will be Earth Day events in your backyard, many of which are proudly supported by the Michigan LCV team.
A large contingent of Michigan LCV teammates will be attending the Oakland County Climate March, Rally, and Fair in Royal Oak. For the second year in a row, the Turn Oakland County Green campaign is hosting this free event, which will include great food, live music, a march through downtown Royal Oak, and a fantastic lineup of speakers! Michigan LCV sees this as not only an opportunity to celebrate, but a great way to call on state, local and federal leadership to seize this moment and take action. The time is now to address the climate crisis in a way that addresses historic injustices, protects future generations, and creates good paying, sustainable jobs.
If you live in SE Michigan, I invite you to celebrate Earth Day in style from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in downtown Royal Oak! You will see a number of Michigan LCV teammates playing leadership roles in the event!
If you can’t make it to Royal Oak, here are some more Earth Day events being held in West, Southeast and Northern Michigan:
🗓️ April 22, 12 – 2 PM: GRCC Grand Rapids Earth Day March
🗓️ April 22, 4 – 6 PM: GRCC Panel Discussion on Climate Change Solutions
🗓️ April 22, 10 AM – 12 PM: Earth Day Award Ceremony
🗓️ April 22, 1 – 4 PM: Earth Day Rally Against DTE & GM
🗓️ April 22, 10 AM: Northwestern Michigan College Earth Day Celebration
In addition to celebrating Earth Day, one of the best things we can do to protect our planet is elect leaders who will prioritize the health of our land, air, and water. Many communities across Michigan have upcoming elections on Tuesday, May 2.
You have ample time to find out if an election is happening in your city, township or county and get up-t0-speed on what’s on the ballot. I invite you to visit mi.gov/vote to see if an election is happening in your area. You can also check your voter registration status, locate your polling place, find your ballot drop box, review a sample ballot, and more!
We hope to see you at one of these events on Saturday and at the polls on May 2!
3. New Michigan LCV Staff Spotlight: Chris Semrinec
The Michigan LCV search for talented, dedicated individuals to join our team in a variety of different roles continues, and I’m delighted to say our team continues to grow! This week, we welcome Chris Semrinec to the Michigan LCV family!
Chris joins the Michigan LCV team as our new State Government Affairs Coordinator. Born and raised in Michigan, Chris has decided to dedicate his life and career to advocating for environmental and natural resource policies in his home state.
Chris earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Economics and Management at Michigan State University. After graduating, he lived in Madrid, Spain for a year where he received a Master’s in Sustainable Development and Corporate Responsibility from EOI Business School. Returning home, Chris then attended the Michigan State University College of Law where he specialized in environmental and natural resource law. Before joining Michigan LCV, Chris worked as an analyst for the Senate Fiscal Agency, crafting and analyzing the state budgets for the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.
When not doing good work in Lansing, Chris can be found fly fishing in any stream or river he can find, camping and hiking with his fiancé Brittany, watching MSU football and basketball games, or enjoying some Michigan craft beer at a local brewery.
Welcome to Michigan LCV, Chris!
Thank you, as always, for all you do to support our work. Until next week, enjoy the spring flowers and the ever-changing weather. It wouldn’t be a true Michigan spring without the stark contrast between daffodils, crocuses and tulips and white stuff falling from the sky.