Representing Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and St. Clair Counties

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Conservation Committee

When: Third Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Huntington Woods Library, 26415 Scotia Road, Huntington Woods, MI.

Contact: Ed McArdle, Chair,

SEMG's action-oriented Conservation Committee works in coalition with area environmental and community organizations on a variety of issues. Current priority issues include the following:

Opposition to Coal and Nuclear power plants. Support for Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy policies.
Opposition to Trash Incineration in Detroit and Macomb County
Promotion of Recycling as an alternative to incineration, and an excellent way to save energy and make money
Air Quality
Protection of Public Lands

Greater Sibley Prairie Complex: The Next Nature Preserve
Urban Sprawl/Wetlands
Support for Mass Transport and low-GHG Transportation
Opposition to CAFOs and Genetically Modified Food & Support for Sustainable Argicultural policies

For more information, contact Ed McArdle at
313-388-6645, or

Blue Water Committee (a subcommittee)

When: fourth Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. September to November and January to May (please check on November meeting)

Where: Community Resource Room, 514 Mcmorran Boulevard, Port Huron, MI.

Contact: Kay Cumbow: or 810-346-4513 or
Jane Danjin:

Since 2008, the Blue Water Sierra Club, a subcommittee of the SEMG's Conservation Committee, has offered local programs and outings in Port Huron and the surrounding St. Clair County area. It was founded by dedicated Sierra Club members and environmentalists, who wanted to ensure a healthy community through Sierra Club's important precepts of education, community activism and enjoyment of the outdoors through Outings.

The St. Clair County landscape was shaped by multiple glacial advances and retreats and their melt waters. The Port Huron moraine defines the form of the Black River in northern St. Clair County, and a large glacial lake plain spans much of the eastern side of the county. We have many unique natural features, including the largest freshwater delta in the world.
To the east our neighbors are Canada, Aamjiwnaang (the Chippewa Reserve near Sarnia) and Bkejwanong, (Walpole Island - unceded land of peoples of the Three Fires.) Together we share the waters of Lake Huron, the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair. The last two are important connecting channels (along with the Detroit River, further south) that tie the upper Great Lakes to Lake Erie. Our watersheds include the Mill Creek/Black River, the Pine River, the Belle River and their tributaries. St. Clair County is home to beautiful state, county and municipal parks, forests, and bike paths. However, we also face serious environmental and health problems from long-time industrial, urban and agricultural pollution. Chemical Valley, located adjacent to Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, with its large oil refineries, petrochemical laboratories and plants, has left a persistent chemical footprint on the St. Clair River and communities downstream.
No more than 100 miles from Port Huron is a planned nuclear waste repository, close to Lake Huron, near the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, in Ontario, Canada. Many of us are concerned about the short and long-term harm that may come to the water and the land in the entire Great Lakes area if this underground storage site is established.
As Sierra Club members, we believe that citizen involvement in nature and community education is key to a healthier future. We welcome your participation in the Blue Water committee's events and outings:

Activities & Updates

Education that informs environmental action. A number of public education projects need to be stepped-up due to their urgency. When we the public understand the interconnections between issues, and what they mean to us, of concepts like "Peak-Oil," Global Warming, Population Growth, Resource Scarcity (Food, Clean Water and Air, Fertile Soil...) then we'll know that time is past due for the U.S. to make an all-out effort to lead humanity to a sustainable future. This can be very good for us and our economic future, as well as for everybody else and every living thing on the planet. This importance is especially true of our energy policies and our need to build out our renewable energy future.

LOSE NUKES & GET FIT (Feed-In-Tariff)

Nuclear Power is not the answer to global warming

  1. Not carbon free when you consider the life cycle of prospecting, mining, milling, enriching and construction. The life cycle of uranium leaves a trail of human exposure to deadly radiation. The largest single user of electrical power in the U.S. is the enrichment plant in Paducah, Ky.
  2. Every nuclear power station emits radioactive isotopes.
  3. After 60 years there is still no final depository for high level waste. Currently nearly 2,000 tons of highly radioactive waste deadly for millions of years are being stored in pools of water or dry casks along the shores of the Great Lakes
  4. Nuclear plants are dangerous; Davis-Besse near Toledo had a near meltdown in 2002. Fermi 1 near Monroe, MI was the subject of a 1974 book "We almost Lost Detroit". Out of 104 U.S. reactors there were 14 near misses in 2010 according to the NRC.
  5. Not affordable- Fermi 3 proposed by DTE is estimated to cost $15 billion+ and take 10 – 15 years to build. Nuclear industry relies on huge taxpayer subsidies and could increase electric rates by 40%.
  6. Not needed—DTE's forecast is a sales decline for electricity every year through 2020 in part due to the bad economy, loss of population, energy efficiency programs and renewables coming on line. And this is with only a tepid 10% Renewable requirement and 1% per year energy efficiency target, which is much lower than most states and countries. We can do far better.


  • According to a study in Scientific American (Nov. 2009), it is possible to get all energy from wind, water and solar by 2030 with present technology. How to get there? – With a Feed-In-Tariff .
  • A FIT allows homeowners, farmers, and businesses to sell renewable energy into the electrical grid for a guaranteed reasonable profit usually for a 15-20 year contract with only a modest increase in electric rates.
  • A FIT is the most effective and least costly method to accelerate renewable energy according to U.S. Department of Energy. Over 80 countries, the state of Vermont, Gainesville, FL public utility and recently Ontario have adopted versions of a FIT.
  • A well-designed FIT attracts manufacturers and suppliers of renewable energy. Ontario's FIT passed last year has already attracted 60 suppliers and manufacturers. Ontario expects to create 70,000 jobs in solar alone. Germany, the originator of the FIT concept claims over 300,000 jobs created because of the FIT. The Ontario government has promised to shut down North America's largest coal at Nanticoke and has canceled 4 new nuclear proposals but unfortunately is proposing 2 new nukes.
  • Michigan is especially fit for a FIT. – Good wind especially offshore, more sunlight than even Germany, industrial infrastructure, trained workers, and a rising renewable sector. Wind and solar manufacturers are already here. Let's keep Michigan dollars in Michigan instead of purchasing dirty coal from Appalachia and Wyoming and uranium from Canada and Australia.

To begin with, consider the concept of "Peak-Oil." At the SEMG General Membership Meeting of March 6, 2008 we had the Film Presentation of “A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash” which is all about "Peak-Oil" and what it means for us all:

Al Gore presented us with “The Inconvenient Truth” about global warming in 2006. Now comes “A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash” from the award-winning European journalists and filmmakers Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack. This film tells the story of how our civilization’s addiction to oil puts it on a collision course with geology. Compelling, intelligent and highly entertaining, this documentary film interviews the world’s top experts and comes to the startling, but logical conclusion—our industrial society, built on cheap and readily available oil, must be completely re-tooled and re-imagined. After the film, we had a guided discussion about peak oil and sustainable “local future” strategies for metro Detroit.
Here are some web links for those who would like to pursue understanding "Peak-Oil" further: Local Future is an organization that develops compassionate, sustainable, local, community systems to provide basic needs such as food, energy, transportation, community services, money and jobs. Local Future hosts the International Conference on Peak Oil and Climate Change: Paths to Sustainability. NEW! - Watch conference presentations & download podcasts for free. "The purpose of this website is to give you up-to-date links to all the information you need to understand Peak Oil and what you can do to deal with its consequences." news by category; home, search, peak oil primer, about us, contribute; Related Issues; Regions; Resources (Oil, Natural Gass, Tar Sands, Shale Oil, Coal, Methane, Nuclear, Other Resource Depletion, renewables...) Discussions (and videos) about Energy and our Future; "Cassandra's curse: how "The Limits to Growth" was demonized"

“What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know,
it's what we know for sure that just ain't so.”

—Mark Twain New to Peak Oil? If this is the first time you are hearing about Peak Oil, you are among the majority of the population.

In the book, "
Plan B 3.0," “Lester R. Brown gives concise, but very informative, summaries of what he regards as the key issues facing civilization as a consequence of the stress we put on our environment. . . . a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate.”
—The Ecologist.
Download the whole book (and updates) at:

It's also good to buy a case to pass out at local activist' meetings. We plan to start a book club in the Fall of 2008 with this as the first book.

Stopping Nuclear Power Plants and Uranium Mining. The Sierra Club has national policies that oppose these plants and mines, here are some fact sheets and websites to help you understand why, and what you can do to help. URGENT! stop Fermi 3 from being built in Monroe, MI!

For those looking for the (MORE) content to the article from the THE ACTIVIST Vol. 26, Issue 1, "NEW NUCLEAR PROPOSALS IMPACT MICHIGAN AND THE GREAT LAKES," click for the link to the complete article: here.

Ed McArdle, Conservation Chair, submits this (PDF) fact sheet about nuclear power in Michigan.

Here is the Club's fact sheet, “The Basics of Nuclear Power:”

Beyond Nuclear This organization is a great source of information and might help in appreciating the Sierra Club endorsed presidential candidate Obama (whose policies oppose nuclear power to the extent of a few caveats), versus the unendorsed McCain (who is gung-ho for 40+ more of these unsustainable, expensive, nuclear accidents-waiting-to-happen, power plants.

Michael J. Keegan, Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes.

Don't Waste Michigan - DWM. "The MIDWEST"S YUCCA MOUNTAIN," The Canadian nuclear industry and government are proposing to bury all of Ontario's "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes (at the Deep Geological Repository in Kincardine, ON) 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) from the Lake Huron shoreline at the Bruce Nuclear Complex, just 50 miles east across Lake Huron from Michigan. Ontario has a whopping 20 nuclear reactors (by comparison, Illinois is the U.S. state with the most reactors, with "just" 12 operating reactors; Michigan has "just" 4 still-operating reactors, and 1 permanently shutdown reactor). That's a lot of radioactive waste targeted for burial on Canada's Lake Huron shoreline!"

Letter Opposing Construction to Deep Geological Repository in Kincardine, ON (Near "Bruce").

Great Lakes United, "With an energy crisis looming across the eastern seaboard, several jurisdictions are contemplating nuclear revival to meet demand. Great Lakes United points this discourse to the legacy of radioactive waste in storage facilities along the shores of the Great Lakes and to the enrichment and processing facilities that provide feedstock to a radioactive future. Nuclear fuel is mined in your neighbor's backyard and the waste is stored in yours. It’s not cheap. it’s not safe. it’s not good.

Great Lakes United is building a coalition of community groups from across the Great Lakes basin. We’d like to know your thoughts on a nuclear-free clean future, email us at:

Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Routine Radioactive Releases, Aging Reactors, Reactor Accidents; Tritium, Water and Reactors; Emergency Preparedness, Nuclear Security, Fire Protection, Mother Nature & Nukes, Counterfeit Parts, Price Anderson Act, Decommissioning, Licensed to Kill, and NIX/MOX (militarization, and plutonium proliferation).

Price-Anderson Act of 1957, United States (Encylopedia of Earth - Content, Credibility, Community)

Forget Nuclear, an article on nuclear's high costs and poor advantages by By Amory B. Lovins, Imran Sheikh, and Alex Markevich found on the Rocky Mountain Institute's website.

Uranium Mining

This [PDF] "Uranium Fact sheet" comes from IEER (Institute for Energy and Environmental Research)'s website where a great number of factsheets and a full, free PDF book can also be found: The book, "Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy" covers a great many subjects including a large section on some pros and cons of biofuels.

• • • • • • • • • •

Protection of Public Lands. The Sierra Club continues to work hard to protect southeast Michigan's wetlands and other sensitive habitats, such as Humbug Marsh.

Picture Michigan Tomorrow (PMT), Land Policy Institute 3rd Fl. Manly Miles Bldg., 1405 S. Harrison Rd., East Lansing, MI 48823 PH: 517.432.8800 Fax: 517.432.8769. This site gives us a way to visualize changes in land use into the future.

• • • • • • • • • •

Incinerators (by any other name... (including mass-burn, gasification, pyrolysis, plasma arc, refuse derived fuel and other incinerator technologies. [PDF] Learn more)

"Heating Up" Metro Times article from May 21-27, 2008 Issue; Incinerators - [Weblink] Here's the latest on the Detroit Incinerator. "When Detroit Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams spoke at a "stop the incinerator" rally last week, it was a little bit like walking into a lion's den and then poking the lion with a sharp stick.... "

[Weblink] "Fired up" (Metro Times) Detroit incinerator's long-simmering opposition
by Curt Guyette 4/30/2008 (Dirty business down in Motown)

[Google Search Link] Zero Waste
Sierra Club (PROPOSED Policy) Zero Waste – Cradle-to-Cradle Principles for the 21st Century. [PDF] Sierra Club (PROPOSED) Conservation Policies. Approved by the Sierra Club Board of Directors, February 23, 2008.

The National Sierra Club has a whole [Weblink] "Zero Waste" committee and website section (
And, among the great links from that page are:

[Weblink] Zero Waste - Don't Burn or Bury Garbage (

[PDF] Garbage is Not Renewable Energyand,

[PDF] Exclude Garbage from Renewable Energy Standards

Here's what you need to know to fight back:

Don't Trash Michigan (For more information, go to:
The Sierra Club endorses the "Don't Trash Michigan" campaign, a movement whose focus is to clean up Michigan by working to reduce the amount of trash that comes into the state from Canada and Michigan’s neighboring states. This group also works to improve recycling and end illegal dumping in Michigan communities.

[Weblink] The Story of Stuff Video (as seen in the SEMG General Membership Program 5-1-08). Watch the 20 minute video about the value of recycling, the life cycle of consumer products, and trash: . While you're there, check out the [Weblink] "Resources" Section; especially about [Weblink] "Another Way." And don't miss the [Weblink] "Recommended Reading" section, for example, there's lots of info about [Weblink] "Another Way, Taking Action, Solutions." “Zero Waste." We have the right, and duty, to speak out about community well being.

Bottled Water (just say no!)

Sent: Friday, May 16, 2008 7:12 PM, On Behalf Of Carl Pope

At the suggestion of a number of Sierra Club volunteer leaders, and in agreement with the Club's overall value of using resources efficiently and avoiding waste, bottled water should no longer to be offered at any Sierra Club event or be sold from any Sierra Club office vending machine. For additional information on the down side of using bottled water, please visit the following Sierra Club web site: (link)

Rochester Ecos
Eco Friendly Organic Lawn and Garden
After extensive research on how to do lawns organically (without artificial pesticides or fertilizers), I (Hal Newnan) discovered that:
Our lawns in South East Michigan are cold-grass types whose roots are only growing during 2 periods each year:

1) a) a short time (about a month in the Spring, about the 2nd Week in May, right after the Forsythia bloom (I have lots on the Northern edge of my property), and
1) b) from mid-September to the end of October. This second period is the better time to apply fertilizer if you are only going to do one application.

The "1) a)" period is a good time to put down an application of Corn Gluten because it inhibits the germination of broad leafed weeds (including crab grass, dandelions, and others that are considered unsightly). Corn Gluten also slowly releases nitrogen which is good for your lawn and okay for the environment.

A second application of Corn Gluten about 3 months later will discourage weeds for the whole year.

For the 1) b) application (the 3rd application), I recommend Fertrell Super N 4 - 2 - 4. It's another slow release (very good!) organic fertilizer; as it says on the package: "An organic plant food for all plants" (including vegetables, flowers, african violets, roses, shrubs, and bulbs of all kinds). "It encourages earthworms and feeds soil bacteria and the diverse micro-organisms that constitute a healthy soil flora."

Eco Friendly Organic Lawn and Garden Supplies
Where do you get this stuff at the best price? Many garden supply stores might carry similar products. I recommend (but the Sierra Club does NOT endorse):

1.) Uncle Luke's Garden Supplies
(248) 879-9147
6691 Livernois
Troy MI 48098-1540
Questions? I recommend asking Dale of Uncle Luke's

2) (this is a mail-order online store and more expensive)
Gardens Alive! (Indiana)
Contact Us. Our Customer Service team is here to help in anyway we can. Please drop our Customer Service department a note, or give us a call weekdays at (513)354-1483


SOCRRA Communities - Recycling

SOCRRA link:

In this website you can find the list of hazardous materials which they will take along with the phone number to make an appointment for drop off. You will need to show ID to verify that you are a resident of one of the listed cities participating in this recycling program.

(Thanks Linda!)


Most rain barrels are fairly expensive. However deals can be found; buyer beware. These barrels are made of food grade plastic. Please keep in mind that shipping costs might increase their price. Here are the links:

Craigslist -Metro Detroit ==> (Most are 55 gal, prices range from $65- $95)

You can also find some out of state sales in ebay ===> .
Our tour hosts, Anne & Peter, said that plastic barrels don't last very long (approximately 3 yrs). Wooden barrels are preferable. They got their gorgeous barrel at California Wine Grape Co. in Detroit ( and adapted it into a rain barrel. Peter said that wine barrels are very expensive, but this company also sells barrels that contained vanilla which are a lot cheaper.

Also, rain gardens don't necessarily have to be in a land depression. rain garden fact-sheet ( says the best rain garden location is "down-slope from building foundations and up-slope from storm drain infrastructure".
Last but not least... below is the link to the Rain Garden Tour pictures. I, Italia, took over 90 shots! If you would like to have any of these, e-mail me the photo description and I will send you the file.
Sierra Club - Rain Garden

About the set, there are 45 pictures | of the Rain Garden & Lawn Elimination
Tour - Birmingham, MI, 5/17/2008

Regards, Italia

Marathon Crude – The Bottom of the Barrel
By Ed McArdle, January 5, 2008:

In the debate over record high gas prices, some experts point to dwindling supplies unable to meet soaring demand while others stress lack of refinery capacity in the U.S. Marathon Oil located in southwest Detroit at Fort St. and Schaefer is Michigan’s only oil refinery. Download the complete essay here: MarathonOil.pdf.

Catalogs, thanks but NO THANKS....
From: anonymous
Subject: catalogs, thanks but no thanks....
Date: Monday, May 12, 2008, 3:11 AM
In the latest issue of AARP magazine (perhaps you are too young to receive it!!!)... They included a website for getting rid of the endless number of catalogs that come to our homes each day.
"every year these catalogs consume 3.6 million tons of paper and use 53 million trees"...they didn't even mention the poor mailperson!!!!! the website is:

Fairly easy to use, you can get rid of the worst offenders.... and by all means pass this on to those on your mailing list that you think may get more than their fair share.

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