Thursday, June 13, 2019

Pine Mountain Music Festival to bring concerts to six UP communities June 17-30

The Bergonzi Trio will perform classical concerts in Houghton, Marquette and Iron Mountain during this year's  Pine Mountain Music Festival. (Photos courtesy Pine Mountain Music Festival)

HOUGHTON -- The Pine Mountain Music Festival (PMMF) is proud to announce an exciting season -- June 17-30, 2019. This year's festival marks the 29th year of bringing Classical and World Music to the communities of Houghton, Hancock, Calumet, Marquette, Iron Mountain and Crystal Falls.

The classical foundation of PMMF for years has been the Bergonzi String Quartet. This year they return as a trio: Scott Flavin and Ross Harbaugh are joined by the young piano virtuoso Lindsay Garritson. The new group is guaranteed to delight! Beethoven’s Archduke Trio is being prepared for this season by special request. They will perform Beethoven's Archduke Trio on June 19 in Marquette, on June 21 in Iron Mountain, and on June 22 at the Rozsa in Houghton. Don't miss this long standing tradition. The Bergonzi Trio will be presenting Free Family Concerts in libraries in all three towns in the afternoon.

The festival kicks off Monday, June 17, in Iron Mountain when Moira Smiley and Jefferson Hamer present a one of a kind concert.

Singer Moira Smiley will perform with guitarist and singer Jefferson Hamer in Calumet, Marquette and Iron Mountain.

Moira Smiley creates and performs new work for voices while Jefferson Hamer, a gifted guitarist and singer, weaves gorgeous instrumental lines with close harmonies. Jefferson astounds as singer/songwriter and as an interpreter of Child ballads and, when he plugs in, as a dynamic rocker.

Jefferson Hamer, guitarist and singer. (Photo © Joe Singh and courtesy Pine Mountain Music Festival)

Moira and Jefferson will also be in Marquette Tuesday, June 18, and at the Calumet Theatre Wednesday, June 19. Jefferson will do a special solo concert at the Crystal Theatre, Crystal Falls, on Thursday, June 20.

The next troupe, "Trust me, will rock your world," explained the Head of Music, Stony Brook, NYU, enthusiastically. They are Miles Masicotte, Hristina Blagoeva, and Giovanni Perez. Miles, originally a jazz pianist turned classical pianist, with his wife, Hristina, a Bulgarian flute player,
are paired with Giovanni Perez, a show-stopping flutist.

They will be at the Calumet Theatre Wednesday, June 26.

"It will be something really exciting, original and classic," PMMF Director Douglas Day anticipates.

Perhaps the most notable new dimension comes from the inclusion of the UPStarts -- young performers from across the U.P., joining Miles Massicotte and Giovanni Perez, both from New York, who will act as mentor professionals to the UPStarts.

This year's UPStarts are (clockwise from above left) Eric Banitt, piano; Benjamin Merte, bass; Kalee Hernendez, piano; Karen Albert, mezzo-soprano; and Benjamin Zindler, trombone. 

PMMF will present the group of eight dynamic young performers in a single show opening as the finale of Marquette’s Artweek celebrations, in the Presque Isle Bandshell, Friday, June 28. Free to all thanks to Travel Marquette and the Arts and Culture Office of Marquette. The group will perform June 29 in Kingsford's First Presbyterian Church and June 30 at the Rozsa in Houghton.

Of special note to opera fans, UPStart soprano, Liz Grugin will join Karen Albert in Delibes’ Duo des fleurs / Sous le dôme épais from Lakmé. Arias from Rossini and Bizet echo 29 years of PMMF opera.*

You may purchase tickets at the door for all events. Calumet and Crystal Theatres order at pmmf.org/tickets. All other shows order through Michigan Tech's Ticketing Service: (887)746-3999 or through pmmf.org/tickets, all concerts are at 7:30. Check the web site (pmmf.org) for the Children's Concert time in your area.

Through the $129 Family Pass, the Festival hopes to draw the next generation into a love of classical music through live performances. The Pass covers the whole family for all shows. Our patrons make up the difference by including a gift with their orders.

* Click here for the PMMF Schedule.

Inset photos: Miles Masicotte, Hristina Blagoeva, and Giovanni Perez. 

Western UP Tribal, County residents asked to take short survey to assist Hazard Mitigation Plans

HOUGHTON -- Hazard mitigation is any action taken before, during or after a disaster to eliminate or reduce the risk to human life and property from natural, technological, or human-related hazards. The Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR) has been recently contracted by Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) and the six western counties in the Upper Peninsula to update and draft the five-year hazard mitigation plans.

In addition to guiding mitigation for KBIC and the counties, the plans will ensure their communities are eligible for certain grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Members of the public can have a voice in the planning effort by taking a short survey. Online responses are preferred and can be provided at the survey links below. The paper survey is available at the city and township halls, county clerk’s office, and public libraries.

Please take the 5-minute survey regarding hazards in your community by July 12, 2019. To access the online survey, click on the link below for the region that you live in.

The survey links are as follows:

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KBICHazMitPublicInput

Baraga:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BaragaHazMitPublicInput

Houghton:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HoCoHazMitPublicInput

Keweenaw:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KewCoHazMitPublic

Gogebic:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GogebicHazMitPublicInput

Iron:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/IronHazMitPublicInput

Ontonagon:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/OntoHazMitPublicInput

The information you provide will help WPPDR and county and tribal officials better understand local hazard concerns and can lead to mitigation activities that should help lessen the impact of future hazard events in your community. All responses will be kept confidential.

For more information or for a paper survey contact:
Rachael Pressley, rpressley@wuppdr.org
WUPPDR Project Coordinator
1-906-482-7205, ext. 116.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Deploying High-frequency Radar in the Straits of Mackinac

High-frequency radar towers, like the pilot tower shown here near Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinac City, Michigan, create maps of an entire area rather than providing only a single point of data. (Photo © Nathan Shaiyen and courtesy Michigan Tech University)

By Kelley Christensen, Michigan Tech Science and Technology Publications Writer
Posted June 10, 2019, on Michigan Tech News
Reprinted here in part with permission


As Great Lakes water levels rise to record heights, remotely monitoring currents and waves grows in importance.

The currents of the Straits of Mackinac are known for their volatility; they have for millennia pushed the birch bark canoes of Native Americans and voyageurs alike off course and forced lake freighters aground.

The currents are also part of the complex lake system that links Lake Michigan to Lake Huron. Monitoring currents and waves in the Straits -- and throughout the Great Lakes -- is of great interest to scientists, municipal managers, the shipping industry, environmentalists and government agencies.

In late May, Lorelle Meadows, dean of the Pavlis Honors College at Michigan Technological University and oceanographer by training, and Guy Meadows, director of Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center, conducted the first test of a high-frequency radar system specifically tuned for use in the Great Lakes. 

Inset photo: Lorelle Meadows and Guy Meadows received a grant from the Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS) to bring a pilot high-frequency radar project to Michigan. (Photo © Nathan Shaiyen and courtesy Michigan Tech University)

Great Lakes Geometry

High-frequency radar is a shore-based remote sensing system used to measure currents offshore by sending a low-power electromagnetic pulse over the water. The electromagnetic wave interacts with marine surface waves, which scatter the radar signal. By measuring the magnetic pulse bounces from marine waves back to the radar tower, researchers are able to map the speed and direction of the underlying currents. ... Click here to read the rest of this article and see a video about this research on the Michigan Tech News.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Gov. Whitmer signs executive order creating UP Energy Task Force

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. (Photo courtesy Michigan.gov)

LANSING -- On June 7, 2019, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order that creates the UP Energy Task Force, which will do the following: assess the UP’s overall energy needs and how they are currently being met; identify and evaluate potential changes in energy supply and distribution; and formulate alternative solutions to meet the UP’s energy needs -- including alternatives to the current distribution of propane through Line 5, which poses an unacceptable threat to The Great Lakes.

"Our jobs, economy, and public health depend on the preservation of The Great Lakes, which literally define us as a state," said Whitmer. "Enbridge has a disappointing safety record in Michigan, and the dual pipelines that run through the Straits of Mackinac create an unacceptable risk of an oil spill by anchor strike or other means. Such an event would be catastrophic for The Great Lakes and our economy, and would send energy costs skyrocketing for UP families. This task force will help make recommendations that ensure the UP's energy needs are met in a manner that is reliable, affordable, and environmentally sound."

UP residents are currently incurring some of the highest electricity rates in the nation. Implementing real energy solutions will begin to rein in these high rates and provide relief to hardworking UP residents.

Moreover, about 25 percent of UP residents use propane for home heating, and much of that propane is delivered through the Line 5 pipeline. The future of Line 5, however, is uncertain.  As a report this week from the National Transportation Safety Board made abundantly clear, only by happenstance did Michigan avoid a catastrophic oil spill in The Great Lakes just last year, when a 12,000 pound anchor inadvertently dragged across the bottomlands of the Straits of Mackinac struck Line 5.* The unacceptable threat posed by the continued operation of the pipelines through the Straits, as well as the lack of an established back-up propane distribution system were Line 5 to malfunction, make developing alternative solutions a priority.

Attorney General Dana Nessel commented in support of Gov. Whitmer's Executive Order establishing the U.P. Energy Task Force.

"I commend Gov. Whitmer for taking a proactive approach to ensuring our UP residents have a long-term solution that reins in the exorbitant energy costs they face each day," Nessel said. "Enbridge has made clear its primary focus is its bottom line. And while the Governor and I work in tandem to decommission Line 5 as quickly as possible to protect our Great Lakes and the health and safety of our residents, her task force is a necessary step to ensure we meet the energy needs of all our state’s residents for generations to come."

Executive Order 2019-14 establishes the UP Energy Task Force, which will address the significant energy challenges that UP residents are facing. This task force will look for alternative, long-term solutions to rein in UP energy rates in regions facing the highest costs and identify alternatives to meeting the UP’s current propane-supply needs. The UP Energy Task Force is charged to do the following:
  • Be an advisory body to the governor within the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE).
  • Consist of at least 13 voting members appointed by the governor, all of whom must be Michigan residents and possess relevant expertise.
  • Formulate solutions for meeting the UP’s energy needs, with a focus on security, reliability, affordability, and environmental soundness.
  •  Complete a final report in two stages. First, by submitting a propane plan to the governor by March 31, 2020, which will focus on alternative means to supply propane in the event of a Line 5 shut down. Second, by submitting the remainder of its report by March 31, 2021. 
This executive order will be effective immediately upon filing.

To view the full executive order click here.

Inset photo: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

* Editor's Note: See our June 5, 2019, article, "Michigan AG Nessel: Safety Board Report on Line 5 Anchor Strike means operating Line 5 'incredibly dangerous.'"

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Michigan AG Nessel: Safety Board Report on Line 5 Anchor Strike means operating Line 5 "incredibly dangerous"

 
This chart from the National Transportation Safety Board’s newly released investigative report into the 2018 Line 5 anchor strike shows the site of the accident that leaked about 800 gallons of dielectric mineral oil into the Straits of Mackinac. Click on image for larger version.

LANSING -- Attorney General Dana Nessel made the following comment today regarding the recent release of the National Transportation Safety Board’s report on the Line 5 anchor strike:

"The National Transportation Safety Board’s newly released investigative report into the Line 5 anchor strike last year reinforces what we already know: It is incredibly dangerous for Line 5 to continue operating in the Straits. And even though Governor Whitmer has taken action to prevent anchor drops in the Straits, the 2018 incident was an accident that even the boat’s captain was unaware of. All of the enforcement mechanisms in the world won’t prevent a tragedy from an unintended, accidental anchor strike. We are prepared to take legal action to decommission Line 5 as quickly as possible to protect the fresh water resources that are absolutely critical to our state."

According to the National Transportation Safety Board’s report, "At 1732 local time on April 1, 2018, the articulated tug and barge (ATB) Clyde S VanEnkevort/Erie Trader was westbound with a crew of 14 in the Straits of Mackinac, Michigan,when the barge’s starboard anchor, which had unknowingly released and was dragging on the bottom, struck and damaged three underwater electrical transmission cables and two oil pipelines. About 800 gallons of dielectric mineral oil leaked into the water from the cables; the oil pipelines sustained only superficial damage. Repair and replacement of the cables was estimated at more than $100 million. No injuries were reported."

From Oil and Water Don't Mix

The May 31, 2019, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report, carried Tuesday in the trade publication Maritime Executive, blames a series of crew errors and defective equipment aboard the Erie Trader for causing the damaging anchor strikes as the tug and barge navigated up to 8-foot seas and 30-knot winds through the icy Straits. It wasn’t until more than a day after the April 1, 2018, anchor strike -- when the Erie Trader approached its Indiana destination after sailing from the Straits through Lake Michigan that the ship’s captain noticed they had been dragging anchor.

"This report shows there is no regulation or law short of eliminating the pipeline that Michigan can pass to protect the Great Lakes from a catastrophic Line 5 pipeline rupture," said David Holtz, Oil and Water Don’t Mix spokesperson. "Michigan must act on this new evidence. Only shutting Line 5 down can prevent an oil pipeline rupture and it is urgent that the governor and attorney general immediately use their authority to protect Michigan and the Great Lakes."

Under an agreement with the State of Michigan, Enbridge is required to shut down Line 5 oil transport during certain dangerous conditions, but didn’t do so until several days after the anchor strike was first discovered.  In the aftermath of the anchor strike, Michigan also banned anchor deployment in the Straits, but as the NTSB report indicated there were already anchor restrictions in place when the Erie Trader sailed through the turbulent Straits, unknowingly dragging 540 feet of heavy chain and one of its two anchors behind it.

"Passing anchor bans and signing swiss cheese agreements with Enbridge are simply rearranging deck chairs on this Titanic disaster in the waiting," said Holtz. "You cannot read the NTSB report and conclude anything other than an immediate and permanent shut down of Line 5 is the appropriate and necessary action to take. Every day that pipeline sits in the Straits is a day closer to disaster."

The day of the anchor incident, most of the ship’s crew was off in observance of Easter Sunday while the captain was unaware that his ship was dragging a six-ton anchor across the lakebed, rupturing electrical pipelines and damaging Enbridge’s 66-year-old oil pipelines, according to NTSB investigators.

Gov. Whitmer is currently negotiating a potential oil tunnel in the Straits but is concerned that construction will take many years leaving the oil pipelines there a continuing risk. The State of Michigan has approved permits for installation on 201 anchor screw supports on the twin pipelines in the Straits which are screwed into the lakebed and hold the pipeline 2 to 4 feet off the bottom, raising concerns that an anchor fluke could easily snag the now elevated pipeline.

Inset photo: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Click here to sign a petition urging Gov. Whitmer to decommission Line 5.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Isle Royale Winter Study: 13 New Wolves, 20 Radio-collared Moose

One of the newly introduced gray wolves picks its way through deep snow on Isle Royale. (Photo ©  Rolf Peterson and courtesy Michigan Tech News)

By Kelley Christensen, Michigan Tech Science and Technology Publications Writer
Posted April 30, 2019, on Michigan Tech News
Reprinted here in part with permission


Michigan Technological University’s 2019 Isle Royale Winter Study focuses on the implications of newly introduced wolves and the movements of newly collared moose.

Fifteen wolves. 2,060 moose. Extensive ice and deep, powdery snow. Michigan Tech researchers have released the annual Winter Study report. In its 61st year, the study is the longest running examination of a predator-prey relationship in the world.

The report chronicles the four-week research expedition to the island, where researchers track -- by ski and plane -- wolves and moose, collar moose, and catalog the cascading effects of an ecosystem that has lacked a healthy population of apex predators for a number of years.

New Tracks in the Snow

Prior to this fall and winter’s wolf reintroductions, the wolf population on the remote island had remained at just two -- a strongly bonded, but also highly inbred male-female pair -- for three years. The moose population, lacking predation, expanded by an average of 19 percent each year during the past eight years since 2011, when the wolf population first dwindled to fewer than 10. Consequently, primary plant species in moose diets -- balsam fir and watershield -- dropped precipitously.

The National Park Service (NPS), after an extensive review process, decided to introduce new wolves to the island. In September and October 2018, NPS introduced four Minnesota-born wolves (one male and three females) to the island. In late October, the male wolf died and on January 31, 2019, one of the female wolves left the island by crossing the ice bridge that had formed on Lake Superior, which reached nearly 95 percent ice cover.... Click here to read the rest of this article on Michigan Tech News.

Inset photo: Lake Superior reached approximately 95 percent ice cover during the 2018-19 winter. One of the introduced female wolves from Minnesota, used an ice bridge to leave Isle Royale in late January. (Photo © Sarah Hoy and courtesy Michigan Tech News)

Thursday, May 09, 2019

L'Anse Township rejects zoning changes; industrial wind farms disallowed on commercial forest

L' ANSE -- The Friends of the Huron Mountains, a group formed in opposition to the proposed industrial Summit Lake wind project (since canceled), announced recently that township voters decisively rejected zoning changes that would have expanded dramatically the area open to industrial wind development.

The May 7 referendum vote tally was 315 to 257, a 55-45 percent margin. Approved by the Township Board of Commissioners on October 11, 2018, the changes would have made all Forest Resource land in the township (in addition to Conservation/Recreation land) eligible for industrial wind development and increased permissible turbine blade length by lowering ground clearance height.

Friends spokesperson Wayne Abba expressed satisfaction with the outcome and noted that the result will restore the pre-existing zoning.

"With this behind us, local officials must accept that their rush to approve poorly written developer-friendly zoning was ill-advised. The people have spoken," Abba said.

The group now will shift its focus to helping the community improve its master plan and zoning.

Friends Chairman Burt Mason said, "We have conducted extensive research worldwide. Our well-informed, active volunteers are ready, willing and able to assist local officials in improving area planning and zoning to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents, enhance use of our natural and historic treasures, and attract desirable new businesses."

The Friends of the Huron Mountains is a nonprofit corporation formed to serve the common interests of residents, visitors and friends of Baraga and Marquette counties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Groups explain opposition to Summit Lake Wind project, call for "No" vote on L'Anse Township Referendum May 7

By Michele Bourdieu
 
Using a scale model to illustrate the amount of tree removal and concrete that would be necessary for just one of the projected wind turbines proposed for the Summit Lake Wind project, Burt Mason, right, chair of the Friends of the Huron Mountains, and Jeffery Loman of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) compare notes as they prepare to speak about the project at Michigan Tech on Apr. 18, 2019. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- Burt Mason, chair of Friends of the Huron Mountains (FOHM), and Jeffery Loman, a member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), have a cause in common: While neither one is opposed to wind energy, both have been passionate about stopping the Summit Lake Wind project proposed for a forested area of L'Anse Township. While the project developer, Renewable Energy Systems (RES), announced on April 19 that they will not proceed with the project, a referendum to be held on May 7 may determine whether zoning changes that would have allowed the wind farm should remain -- opening the area to similar industrial development, or to sulfide mining.

According to Mason, the Friends of the Huron Mountains, a group formed to protect the interests of its members in the Huron Mountains and Michigamme Highlands area, gathered more than enough signatures last fall to petition a referendum that would allow the residents of L'Anse Township to vote for or against permissive zoning changes that the township board adopted last year to allow Renewable Energy Systems (RES) to develop the Summit Lake Wind Farm project on Weyerhaeuser Co. land in L’Anse Township.*

FOHM had opposed the project for many reasons -- questionable economic benefits, environmental damage, tribal rights and more. KBIC passed a resolution against the project last year as soon as Loman informed them it would impact the tribe's treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather in the area, which is part of their ceded territory.

Two environmental groups, the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC) and Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK) joined FOHM and KBIC in opposing the Summit Lake project because of potential negative impacts to the environment.**

Even though RES now claims they will not pursue the project -- citing "continued delays in the planning process" which "ceased to make the project financially and logistically viable" -- FOHM, KBIC, UPEC and FOLK are urging L'Anse Township residents to vote "No" on the May 7 referendum.

The "No" vote is now being challenged by a group that calls itself "Services And Vibrant Economy" ("SAVE"), who mailed a letter to local residents titled "SEEK TRUTH -- DEMAND PROOF" and quoted environmental groups UPEC and Audubon out of context. UPEC has responded to the letter and questioned the group's efforts to manipulate public opinion in advance of the referendum.***

In an April 19, 2019, press release, FOHM welcomed the news that RES is no longer pursuing the Summit Lake Wind project, but added, "The vote, by township residents residing outside the village limits, will be held on May 7 as scheduled. FOHM wishes to remind voters that the referendum is not about Summit Lake -- it’s about rejecting zoning that could open the door to other developers by making all commercial forest land eligible for industrial wind development."****

At Michigan Tech, Mason, Loman present opposition to Summit Lake Wind project

On April 18, just one day before the RES announcement of their withdrawal, Mason and Loman each offered several arguments -- not against wind energy, but against the Summit Lake project because of its proposed siting in forest land -- at a meeting of the College Democrats of Michigan Tech. A small group of students and community members attended the meeting and participated in discussion.

Burt Mason explained why Friends of the Huron Mountains (FOHM) oppose the Summit Lake Wind project.

During the April 18, 2019, meeting of the College Democrats at Michigan Tech, Burt Mason, chair of Friends of the Huron Mountains, describes the area of L'Anse Township that was chosen for the Summit Lake project as a special place that would be destroyed by such industrial development. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

Mason continued, pointing out why the project would not benefit local residents.

Burt Mason explains why the Summit Lake Wind project would not benefit residents, the environment or visitors.

Jeffery Loman, who formerly regulated the oil and gas industry in Alaska, spoke about industrial destruction of ceded territory lands where his tribe, KBIC, should have the right to hunt, fish and gather natural resources, according to the treaties of 1842 and 1854.

Jeffery Loman of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community speaks about the history of pollution from overfishing, manufacturing and mining in his tribe's ceded territories for seven generations since treaties were signed and the lack of respect for treaty rights. He explains why the tribe is opposed to the Summit Lake wind project on land owned by Weyerhaeuser.

Loman said tribal members who are eligible to vote in the May 7 referendum will vote "No." He noted the massive road network and increased number of turbines planned for the Summit Lake Wind farm would mean cutting down a great number of trees and would facilitate more sulfide mining in the area.

Jeffery Loman of KBIC speaks about the how industry blocks fish and violates treaty rights and notes how more Native Americans are now college graduates prepared to challenge treaty violations under federal law.

Following their presentations, Mason and Loman fielded questions from the audience.

In answer to a question from William Keith, Michigan Tech faculty advisor to Tech's College Democrats, Mason described the background leading to the referendum, which is intended to challenge actions of the L'Anse Township Board. Loman noted some of the destructive methods landowner Weyerhaeuser Co. uses in clearcutting their land, without regard to environmental stewardship.

Burt Mason and Jeffery Loman field questions from the audience on the referendum and clearcutting.

Sarah Green, Michigan Tech professor of chemistry and climate change researcher, asked a question on the siting of the Summit Lake project and its relationship to potential mining in the area.

Jeffery Loman points out how mining interests could benefit from the Summit Lake project being sited in this area of large sulfide deposits.

The presentation concluded with a film about the role of trees in protecting from climate change destruction. The film bore the message, "Without forests there is no climate solution."

Joe Bollech of Skanee and originally from Tomahawk, Wisconsin -- a member of FOHM who retired from a career of hydro dam repair -- commented positively on the presentation.

"I can't see destroying a forest for that [project]," he said. "The way technology is growing, maybe in 15 to 20 years we're going to have the answer to our energy and it will be a far better technology then."

Lindsey Wells, president of the College Democrats at Michigan Tech -- who invited the speakers and attempted to do some research on RES and to give the opposite viewpoint, in favor of the project, in order to be fair -- admitted she was unable to find much information on benefits of the Summit Lake Wind project.

Lindsey Wells, Michigan Tech student in scientific and technical communication and president of the College Democrats at Michigan Tech, welcomes guest speakers, students and community members to the presentation on the Summit Lake Wind project on April 18, 2019 -- one day before RES announced they are not proceeding with the project. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

"I was playing devil's advocate," Wells said after the meeting, "because we couldn't get in contact with any Summit Lake people."

Abi Milne, Michigan Tech student in environmental science (Forestry Dept.) and vice president of the College Democrats at Michigan Tech, said she learned new information from the presentation and discussion.

"I was really interested to get the perspective of locals, which I hadn't seen before," said Milne, who is from Cheboygan, Mich. "I'm interested in getting everyone into politics, but especially young people because they need to be more aware of how directly politics can affect us."

Joani Meyers of Houghton said she found the presentation very informative.

"I'm all for protecting the environment -- the wildlife, the water, the birds and the forests," Meyers noted.

This 2D map, designed by Michigan Tech for Friends of the Huron Mountains, highlights in dark orange every location where at least one turbine of the proposed Summit Lake project would be visible from a spot six feet above the ground, given current forest cover, in a direct line-of-sight to the turbine nacelle hub (278 feet). Blades are not included although they extend 221 feet higher because their orientation depends on wind direction. Winter or timber clear cut views also could be possible from the lighter orange areas. Click here for a 3D virtual reality viewer.

Group leaders still urge "No" vote on May 7 Referendum

Despite the RES withdrawal announcement on April 19, the groups opposing the Summit Lake Wind project continue to encourage the residents of L'Anse Township to vote "No" in the May 7 referendum on zoning changes.

FOHM chairman Burt Mason said, "A 'No' vote will allow us all to take a deep breath and get together to update the Master Plan to reflect what the people want. What the community may lose in short-term financial gain will be more than offset by the combination of community spirit and ability in our group, who now can turn their talents to making this a better place to live and visit."

Jeffery Loman of the L'Anse Indian Reservation (KBIC) said, "The announcement by RES Americas to send the Summit Lake Wind Project to the dustbin of history is the first step in progress to promote responsible decisions that protect property values, tourism and our way of life. The next, and more important step will take place on May 7th when the power is handed to the people of L’Anse Township so they can send the zoning ordinance allowing large wind energy conversion systems to the same trash heap were it belongs."

On behalf of FOLK, Linda Rulison, FOLK president, stated, "Friends of the of Keweenaw welcome the announcement by RES to withdraw their proposal for the Huron Mountains in L'Anse Township. Through citizens' activism and self- education, it became apparent that this proposal was not about providing clean green energy and cheaper electricity to the local citizens but about a large corporation pushing their project on an unsuspecting community for their own gain. We thank L'Anse Township citizens who have put so much energy into educating all of  us. The May 7th vote gives the township the final say -- go vote!

Catherine Andrews, FOLK member and former L'Anse Township Planning Commission secretary, added, "Although we are pleased with the announcement, we are continuing to focus on the referendum vote on May 7th. We need to make sure RES, or a similar corporation, gets a clear message that we are not willing to sacrifice Mt. Arvon, Mt. Curwood, or the surrounding wildlands to destructive development."

In their July 21 Position Paper on the Summit Lake Wind project proposed by RES, addressed to the L'Anse Township Board, UPEC stressed their opposition to the project based on its proposed siting. They listed several potential negative impacts of the project -- from "large-scale short- and long-term" environmental disturbance to negative impacts on wildlife, tourism, property values, viewshed and more. They also noted "potential for wildfire caused by failure and combustion of wind turbines, which would be difficult, if not impossible, to control."**

Following the RES announcement of their withdrawal from the project, Horst Schmidt, UPEC president, said, "Corporations as well as government officials at any level need to involve and heed citizen concerns. In L’Anse Township the environment has greater value than 'imagined' tax revenues for its residents. Congratulations to our fellow activists in Friends of the Huron Mountains for their diligence and enthusiasm in fighting for our UP. We urge the citizens of L’Anse Township to vote on May 7th to secure their hard fought gains with a newly written ordinance that will allow them to decide their future."

Notes:

* For the latest information from Friends of the Huron Mountains see https://savethehuronmountains.org/

** See UPEC's July 21 Position Paper on the Summit Lake Wind project proposed by RES, addressed to the L'Anse Township Board.

*** Click here to read UPEC's response to "Services And Vibrant Economy's" mailing to local residents titled "SEEK TRUTH -- DEMAND PROOF."

****See FOHM's April 19 press release here.

Friday, April 26, 2019

From Michigan Tech News: Michigan Tech Joins Great Lakes Research Collaborative

Michigan Tech's autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) IVER-3 is the first of the third generation sold to anyone outside the military. The torpedo-shaped robot imaged two previously unknown shipwrecks last year. (Photo © Sarah Bird and courtesy Michigan Tech University)

By Kelley Christensen, Michigan Tech Science and Technology Publications Writer
Posted April 24, 2019, on Michigan Tech News
Reprinted here in part with permission


Michigan Technological University has joined the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research -- a regional consortium dedicated to solving the critical issues facing the Great Lakes and surrounding communities.

For the millions of people who live in the Great Lakes region and along the ocean coasts, the research and work of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) affects their everyday lives. Weather reports, currents and water elevation monitoring and tracking harmful algal blooms are just a few of the services NOAA provides.

On Apr. 24, 2019, Michigan Tech joined the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR). Hosted by the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan, CIGLR is one of 16 NOAA-funded cooperative institutes across the United States. CIGLR partners work closely with NOAA to achieve environmental, economic and social sustainability in the Great Lakes.

"The overall goal is to make it easier for this group of universities to help NOAA meet their mission and we’re enthusiastic about that," said Guy Meadows, director of the Great Lakes Research Center at Michigan Tech.

Michigan Tech brings much to the research collaborative, particularly in three key areas: remote sensing, numerical modeling and autonomous vehicle observing systems. ... CLICK HERE to read the rest of this article on the Michigan Tech News.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein to speak April 27 at Houghton Super 8

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein. (Photo courtesy Houghton County Democratic Party)

HOUGHTON -- As a guest of the Houghton County Democratic Party, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Honorable Richard Bernstein will speak at 7 p.m. on Saturday April 27, in the conference room at the Houghton Super 8, 1200 E Lakeshore Drive. The event is open to the public.

Elected by voters statewide to the Michigan Supreme Court in November 2014, Justice Bernstein began his 8-year term in January 2015. With a commitment to justice and fairness, he has been highly successful in his human rights cases, both in private practice and through partnerships with the United States Department of Justice. Beyond his legal track record, Justice Bernstein, is a truly amazing individual as the only blind State Supreme Court Justice in the US. Here are just some of the notable aspects of his career to date:

His law practice has concentrated on fighting for the access rights of disabled people. Committed to helping clients who need him, Justice Bernstein is known for taking action in cases that have set national standards protecting the rights and safety of people with and without disabilities.

Bernstein successfully partnered with the United States Department of Justice to force the City of Detroit to fix broken wheelchair lifts on its buses, establishing a precedent for accessibility in public transportation. Further, Bernstein represented disabled residents against the Oakland County (Michigan) Road Commission after "roundabout" traffic circles were built without disabled access, impacting future ADA compliance for road construction throughout the United States.

Justice Bernstein has received many honors, including "Michiganian of the Year" by the Detroit News, one of Crain’s Detroit Business’ "40 Under 40" and recognition on worldwide television by CNN as a leader in keeping government honest. He is a recipient of the 2008 John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award from the State Bar of Michigan in recognition of his leadership as an advocate and activist.

Michigan Lawyers Weekly named Justice Bernstein a 2009 Leader in the Law, and the University of Michigan presented him with the James T. Neubacher Award in 2011 for his unwavering commitment to equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities.

Justice Bernstein was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. In his spare time, Justice Bernstein is an avid runner, completing 22 marathons -- including thirteen New York City marathons -- the full Ironman triathlon in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 2008 and the Israman triathlon’s half Ironman in Eilat, Israel in 2011.

To read more about Justice Bernstein, click here.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District Tree Sale is May 4 in Hancock

Images courtesy Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District.

HANCOCK -- Celebrate Earth Day! Make plans now to attend the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) Tree Sale from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the HOUGHTON COUNTY ARENA, 1500 Birch St., Hancock.

The sale is one day only, first come-first served, so don't miss this opportunity to purchase WildFlowers, Flowering Shrubs, Wildflower Seeds, Berries and Other Plants, Grapes, Fruit Trees, Planting Tips, Conifers and Native Trees and Shrubs.

This is HKCD's only fundraiser of the year. Click here now to see the Tree Sale Catalog listing a wide variety of items as well as a U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map for the Keweenaw and a map showing the location of the Houghton County Arena in Hancock. For more information call Sue at (906) 482-0214.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra to perform "Rhapsody in Blue," "Firebird Suite," more April 20 in Rozsa Center

The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra will present its last concert of the year Saturday, April 20, in the Rozsa Center. (File photo courtesy Rozsa Center)

HOUGHTON -- The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra will present Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20, in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. Popularized in Disney’s Fantasia, Rhapsody in Blue will be performed along with the haunting ballet music to Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and the angst-ridden Chamber Symphony of Schoenberg.

"This is our last concert of the year, so we saved the very best for last," said Joel Neves, conductor for the event. "Everyone loves Rhapsody in Blue, one of the great jazz-infused orchestra works of all time. Popularized in Disney's Fantasia, Rhapsody in Blue features local pianist extraordinaire, Jon Ensminger, who plays the soaring, swinging, sophisticated piano solo. Also on the program is sublime music by Verdi, Schubert, and Schoenberg, as well as Stravinsky's magical Firebird Suite, also featured in Fantasia. You don't want to miss this fantastic program!"

Founded in 1970, the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra is the Upper Peninsula’s oldest orchestra. The KSO is a college-community ensemble comprising Michigan Tech students, faculty and staff, and community musicians. Most of the musicians pursue something other than music as a career, with engineers, scientists, mathematicians, educators, and retirees filling the roster. Students occupy about 60 percent of the orchestra; none are music majors. The KSO presents 4-5 concerts per year -- including choral-orchestral, opera, ballet, and pops -- in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

Tickets are on sale now, $19 for adults, $6 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at (906) 487-2073, online at mtu.edu/rozsa, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex (SDC) , or at the Rozsa Box Office the evening of the performance. Note the Rozsa Box Office only opens two hours prior to performances.

For more details, contact Joel Neves at (906) 487-2859 or jbneves@mtu.edu.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Weyerhaeuser Co. requests state metallic mineral lease in Marquette County

This map shows the parcels in Wells Township nominated for metallic mineral lease. Click on map for larger version. (Map courtesy Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources)

LANSING --Weyerhaeuser Company, of Seattle, Washington, has requested four direct metallic mineral leases from the State of Michigan covering Department of Natural Resources (DNR) metallic mineral rights located within Wells Township, Marquette County, containing a total of 1,476.46 acres, more or less. For a full description of the parcels requested for lease, please visit the Weyerhaeuser Company Public Notice.

The parcels are currently being reviewed by resource experts to determine the most appropriate level of surface use that should be allowed for development activities. To learn more about State of Michigan metallic minerals leasing, click here.

Written comments from interested parties, relative to the request to lease the specified minerals, may be submitted to DNR, Office of Minerals Management, P.O. Box 30452, Lansing, MI 48909 or DNR-Minerals@michigan.gov.  All comments must be received no later than May 10, 2019.

Click here for more information on mineral leasing and links to additional maps.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Lake Superior Celebration is TONIGHT, April 11, at Great Lakes Research Center

 Poster courtesy Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative.

HOUGHTON -- All Are Invited to the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative (LSSI)11-Year Celebration from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC). The event is FREE, family-friendly, and open to all.*

The Lake Superior Celebration will highlight the work of the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative (LSSI), which brings schools and communities together in the stewardship of Lake Superior and its watershed. Displays and presentations by Barkell Elementary School, Washington Middle School, Dollar Bay-Tamarack City High School, and Copper Country ISD, in addition to informative displays by community organizations, local growers, and non-profits will be offered. Jerry Jondreau and Katy Bresette of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community will have traditionally harvested and processed maple sugar and manoomin (wild rice) products.

At 6:30 p.m., LSSI school teams will offer presentations (Washington Middle School, Dollar Bay High School, CCISD Special Education). At 7 p.m., Dr. Valoree Gagnon, director, University-Indigenous Community Partnerships at the Great Lakes Research Center and Research Assistant Professor, Social Sciences, and Rachael Pressley, assistant regional planner, Western UP Planning and Development Region, will present on the Western UP Food Hub. Presentations are in 202 GLRC.

Students will get in on the fun and learning with a variety of hands-on activities including Tomato Planet, Making Butter, Posy Poetry, How Trees Grow.

The event will also feature LIVE Music with Handful of Humans with Sue Ellen Kingsley, Eric Munch, Norm Kendall and Shawn Oppliger, and the World Water Day art exhibit "Wilderness" featuring artists Daniel Hill, Josh Jaehnig and Jonathan Soper.

Light refreshments, including snacks, cake, lemonade and coffee will be provided.

The event is sponsored by the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Michigan Tech Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, and the WUP MiSTEM Network with funding from the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative.

For more information: contact:  Emily Gochis, Director, WUP MiSTEM Network at the Copper Country ISD at 482-0331 or egochis@copperisd.edu or Joan Chadde, Director, Michigan Tech Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, at 906-487-3341 or jchadde@mtu.edu .

Visit the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative on the web here or on Facebook.

*Editor's Note: Joan Chadde has confirmed that this event will take place definitely in hopes that the winter storm waits.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District to hold Annual Meeting, Election April 10 in Hancock

This map shows parts of the Bete Grise Preserve, outlined in blue, in Keweenaw County. Stars indicate county public parks. In recent years, federal grants, private foundations and conservation organizations, including The Nature Conservancy and Keweenaw Community Forest Company, helped the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District acquire the areas that now comprise the Bete Grise Preserve. Click on map for larger version. (Map courtesy Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District)

HANCOCK -- The Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) will hold its 67th Annual Meeting and Election from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at The Orpheum in Hancock.

On the Agenda will be the HKCD Election of two board members for four-year terms. Residents of Houghton or Keweenaw Counties 18 years or older are eligible to vote. To vote via absentee ballot, please call (906) 482-0214 for instructions.

Candidates for the board election are Lydia Lytle, Rachel McDonald and Gina Nicholas.

Following the election, will be the HKCD Year-in-Review and presentations on Trout of Lake Superior:

Henry Quinlan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will speak on "Prioritization of Brook Trout Habitat Conservation and Restoration in Western UP Tributaries of Lake Superior."

Casey Huckins, Michigan Tech University professor, will present "History and Ecology of Coaster Brook Trout in Lake Superior."

A light pizza buffet will be provided. Questions? Please call Sue Haralson, HKCD Volunteer, at (906) 482-0214.

The mission of the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District is to advise and assist the people of Houghton and Keweenaw Counties to wisely manage and use our natural resources through education, information, technical assistance, and land stewardship. Learn more about HKCD and see photos on their updated Web site.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Native water protectors complete 309-mile walk to Lansing in protest against Line 5 pipeline under Mackinac Straits

By Michele Bourdieu
With photos by Marshall Anderson*
and others from We Walk for Water (N'biish Nibimosaadaanaa)**

On March 30, 2019, Native water protectors, concluding a long walk from the Mackinac Bridge to Lansing, and their supporters walk down Michigan Avenue in Lansing on the way to the Capitol building to call for shutting down Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. (Photo © Marshall Anderson for Keweenaw Now)

LANSING -- Water protectors arrived on schedule in Lansing on Friday, March 29, after their 25-day walk from the Mackinac Bridge to Lansing in protest against Enbridge's Line 5 Pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac.

Departing on Feb. 25 from Levering, Michigan, a few miles below the Bridge, where a group of Anishinaabek had been camping in winter weather to protest Line 5, the Native American water walkers defied more inclement weather during their 309-mile trek to the Capitol building in Lansing, where they gathered on Saturday, March 30, in a peaceful demonstration of concern for the water.

Poster showing the water walkers' route courtesy "We Walk for Water" on Facebook.**

Nancy Gallardo, Indigenous Two Spirited Woman, was one of the original three walkers, along with Cody Bigjohn Jr. and Sarah Jo Chomin. Gallardo, 63, said she walked the entire 309 miles. She noted she is proud to be 63 and felt that, with Sarah Jo and Cody, their group of three represented all ages -- "All with the same message, SHUTDOWN LINE 5."

Nancy Gallardo, left, is pictured here with Sarah Jo Chomin and Cody Bigjohn Jr. on March 30, when they arrived in Lansing for the final mile of their walk. (Photo courtesy Cody Bigjohn Jr.)

Gallardo, who now lives in Grand Rapids, spent time last year in protest camps -- the camp at Cross Village and then the Anishinaabek Shutdown Line 5 Camp at Levering. She said she believes each individual is important to the care and maintenance of the Great Lakes.

"We are stewards not only of the Great Lakes but also of streams and rivers," Gallardo said. "Know where your drinking water sources are coming from. Educate yourself and importantly share that information."

Along their route, the water walkers invited supporters to join them for parts of the walk.

Dan Corn of Petoskey told Keweenaw Now he joined the group and walked more than 30 miles with them until they reached Rapid City, Mich.

Dan Corn of Petoskey, far right carrying umbrella, walks with the water protectors during the first part of their trek -- through the northern part of the Lower Peninsula. (Photo © Cody Bigjohn Jr. and courtesy We Walk for Water Facebook page)

"My participation was solely on the fact that I am a grandfather and felt that I had to help as much as possible, to protect our water and bring awareness for our future generations," Corn said. "They are the ones that will inherit our mess if we don’t take a stand and show our support for big oil accountability. I also have had some friends pass away over the past year or so and wanted to walk in honor of them as well, so I was filled with pride every step I took as each step was peaceful protest against Enbridge and every other company that threatens the well being of our natural resources and treaty rights."

He added, "The others walked many more (miles) than I did. I was just happy and humbled to have participated."

On Saturday, March 30, walkers were joined by other water protectors, some of whom drove long distances to Lansing to show their support.

Participants first gathered at Adado Riverfront Park in Lansing on Saturday afternoon and walked across Grand River and along the river to the Capitol building.

Beatrice Menase Kwe Jackson of Ionia, Mich. -- Midewewin Grandmother, Tsimphean Nation, Three Fires Lodge -- and former director of the Native Center at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., participated in the Lansing walk.

Beatrice Menase Kwe Jackson of Ionia, Mich., joins other walkers at the Adado Riverfront Park in Lansing, where they gathered for the walk to the Capitol Building on March 30, 2019. (Photo © Peggy Mcnew and courtesy Beatrice Menase Kwe Jackson)

"Many tribes were represented including people from Pennsylvania who were also with me at Standing Rock, South Dakota," Jackson said. "We were there to honor and protect our fresh waters from the Michigan Great Lakes. The Line 5 pipelines will only damage Earth's Eater supply. Oil spills like Kalamazoo will take a hundred years to clean up. Meanwhile our water is getting undrinkable. Protecting our fresh water is in everyone's best interest. Native people care enough to walk 300 miles, what will you do?"

Keweenaw Now guest photographer Marshall Anderson walked with the group to capture these views of the final mile in their walk for the water.

Water protectors begin their walk at Adado Riverfront Park in Lansing. (Lansing photos © Marshall Anderson for Keweenaw Now unless otherwise indicated.)

Undaunted by the cold, damp weather, walkers cross the bridge over Grand River. Leading the walkers is Cody Bigjohn Jr., in red jacket.

 Another view of crossing the bridge.

This sign explains why water protectors did not complain about the rainy day.

Walking along the river toward the Capitol.

Leaders of the walk head up the wet Capitol steps.

This walker carried an umbrella with a message.

Chanting "Water is Life" and "Shut down Line 5," water protectors at the Capitol Building in Lansing display their banner calling for a shutdown of Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac.

Also joining the water walkers for the last mile of their walk was Lansing resident Sean McBrearty, campaign coordinator for Oil and Water Don't Mix, and Michigan program organizer for Clean Water Action.***

"The activism of the water walkers serves as an example to us all," McBrearty told Keweenaw Now. "In the fight to shut down Line 5, we are facing one of the largest and wealthiest corporate polluters in the world and we need people from across Michigan stepping up like these people have to protect our water."

Notes:

* Guest photographer Marshall Anderson, originally from Gay, Mich., is now a resident of Lansing. He formerly worked as a news photographer for The Daily Mining Gazette.

**Click here to see more photos in the discussion on the We Walk for Water Facebook page.

*** Learn more about Line 5 on Oil and Water Don't Mix.
To learn about Clean Water Action in Michigan click here.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Attorney General Nessel finds Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority Law unconstitutional; Gov. Whitmer issues directive to halt actions in furtherance of PA 359

Attorney General Dana Nessel. (Photo courtesy Michigan.gov)

LANSING -- Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued her first formal legal opinion on March 28, 2019, finding the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority law, Public Act 359 of 2018, unconstitutional because its provisions go beyond the scope of what was disclosed in its title. Governor Gretchen Whitmer had sought the Attorney General’s opinion on the constitutionality of Act 359 in a request submitted on January 1, 2019.

In her opinion, the Attorney General concludes that certain provisions of Act 359 -- including those transferring all authorities related to a utility tunnel from the Mackinac Bridge Authority to the Straits Corridor Authority and requiring the Corridor Authority to enter into an agreement for the construction of a tunnel if a proposed agreement was presented by a specific date and met listed criteria -- are unconstitutional because they violate Article 4, Section 24 of the Michigan Constitution, referred to as the Title-Object Clause.

Specifically, the clause provides that "no law shall embrace more than one object, which shall be expressed in its title. No bill shall be altered or amended on its passage through either house so as to change its original purpose as determined by its total content and not alone by its title." [Emphasis added]

As the opinion itself notes, when describing the importance of the clause, former Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cooley explained that "the framers of the constitution meant to put an end to legislation of the vicious character referred to, which was little less than a fraud upon its own merits …." Cooley was referring to legislation that didn’t give lawmakers clear notice of what they were voting on.

Finally, the Attorney General concludes in her opinion that "any court determination that Act 359 is unconstitutional would likely apply that decision retroactively, and conclude that the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority, its Board, and any action taken by the Board are void from their inception."

The Attorney General’s opinion process included public comments from more than a dozen organizations and individuals, as well as a review of the opinion by the office’s Opinion Review Board, which is comprised of eight senior assistant attorneys general with appellate writing experience.

Gov. Whitmer's response

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. (Photo courtesy Michigan.gov) 

On March 28, 2019, after reviewing the opinion issued by Attorney General Nessel, Governor Whitmer signed an executive directive instructing state departments and agencies to halt any actions in furtherance of the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority law, Public Act 359 of 2018.

"I agree with the conclusion reached by Attorney General Nessel," Whitmer said in a press release. "The Great Lakes are our most precious resource in Michigan, and because of their significance, I’ve instructed state departments and agencies to halt any actions in furtherance of this law."

Executive Directive 2019-13 directs state departments and autonomous agencies not to take any further action regarding Act 359 and to report to the governor’s legal counsel regarding actions taken since the bill was passed.

Oil and Water Don't Mix response

On March 28 leaders of the Oil and Water Don't Mix campaign to protect the Great Lakes from oil pipelines praised actions by Gov. Whitmer on Line 5 in response to the attorney general’s opinion and urged her to move quickly in decommissioning Enbridge’s troubled Line 5.

"The backroom deals creating Enbridge’s proposed oil tunnel couldn’t survive public scrutiny and now we know they can’t survive the rule of law," said Liz Kirkwood, executive director of FLOW (For Love of Water). "It’s time to focus on Michigan’s true energy future and protect Michigan’s Great Lakes and our economy from a Line 5 pipeline rupture. The path forward for Michigan is for Gov. Whitmer to immediately begin the process of decommissioning Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac."

Sean McBrearty, campaign coordinator for Oil and Water Don’t Mix, said the attorney general's opinion protects Michigan from agreements that only benefit Enbridge.

"The attorney general is rightfully wiping the legal slate clean and now Gov. Whitmer has the opportunity to put Michigan on a path that doesn’t lead to a disastrous outcome for the Great Lakes and Michigan," McBrearty said. "Her decision to halt all Line 5 activity is a significant and appropriate step forward and has our full support."

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Celebrate the UP! with UPEC March 29-30 in Marquette

Celebrate the UP! with the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC), Friday, March 29 - Saturday, March 30, in Marquette. Music, videos, presentations, panel discussions and more. Free and open to all. (Poster courtesy Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition)

MARQUETTE -- All are invited to join the 11th annual Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC) event CELEBRATE THE UP! featuring keynote speaker Dave Dempsey on "The Sixth Great Lake," videos, live music, dozens of speakers and panelists, and informational sessions highlighting the U.P. environment!

Kick-off events Friday, March 29

Events begin on Friday with the Quarterly meeting of the UPEC Board, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m., followed by the UPEC Annual Meeting, with review of the year and the Board election, at 4:30 p.m., at the Federated Women’s Clubhouse.

The Ore Dock Brewing Company will be the scene of Friday's evening events.

Enjoy UPEC short video contest winners and dance to Conga Se Menne on Friday, March 29, at the Ore Dock Brewing Company. (Poster courtesy UPEC)

UPEC's short video contest award winning videos will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Live music by Conga Se Menne (Yes, Finnish Reggae!) will begin at 8 p.m. Bring your dancing shoes! A $10 donation is suggested.

Events all day Saturday, March 30

David Dempsey, author and environmental policy specialist, will deliver the keynote address, "The Sixth Great Lake," at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Federated Women’s Clubhouse.

Individual sessions will be offered from 10:15 a.m. - 3:15 p.m. They include the following:
  • Rolf and Candy Peterson, Canoeing around Isle Royale
  • Michael Loukinen, filmmaker, Burbot Fishing in the Copper Country
  • Panels on wind power and mineral rights
  • Phil Watts, local climbing adventures
  • Mark Doremus, filmmaker, the Back Forty Mining Proposal on Menominee River
  • Michele Tuccini, open-air landscape painting
  • Ryne Rutherford, amphibians and reptiles
  • Karena Schmidt, lichens
  • Michael Neiger and Chris Ozminski, Arctic expeditions and survival
  • Joe Kaplan, bird habitat restoration
  • Brandon Gerig, fisheries and aquatic ecology 
Click here to learn about the panelists. Click here for the Program with photos of the presenters.

See details in this Schedule:

Presentations and Panels will be held in the Federated Women's Clubhouse, the Landmark Inn and the Peter White Public Library Community Room. Click here for a larger version of the Schedule with times and locations.

At 3:30 p.m. in the Peter White Library Community Room the Plenary Panel "Catch a Moment in Time" will feature Iconic UP Images.

All are welcome to the Closing Reception at 5 p.m. Saturday in the Federated Women's Clubhouse. Enjoy snacks, refreshments and live music with singer-songwriter Terri Bocklund.

For more information about the event email upec@upenvironment.org or call 906-201-1949. To learn more about UPEC visit upenvironment.org or find them on Facebook.