Events

Friday, February 26, 2021 at 11:30 AM
Zoom Webinar

Capitol Connection | Driving Electric Vehicles’ Success

Michigan has long been the state that moves people. The Motor City gave the world cars. Albion gave it iron. Alpena, cement. 

Now, Michigan is on the cusp of being an innovative leader in moving people once again. It can be the foreground for the electric vehicle industry, which would zap new life into our workforce, our economy and our work toward a clean energy future.

Pumping the brakes on the burgeoning industry are our current laws, which make it tough for electric vehicle businesses to set up shop and charging stations to crop up.

Charlotte Jameson, MEC energy program director, and Cory Connelly, vice president of policy for the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, talk to MEC President/CEO Conan Smith about the good and the bad when it comes to electric vehicle policy and law and what they are pushing for.

The Capitol Connection webinar series is generously sponsored by Steve and Judy Dobson.


Friday, March 05, 2021 at 11:30 AM
Zoom Webinar

Capitol Connection | Bettering Our Bottle Return System

In 1976, Michigan voters passed “The Bottle Bill,” effectively making Michigan the lead state for recycling. Many of us see the impact of the policy weekly when we pass – or enter – the bottle return systems in grocery stores. Select bottles go in, in-store credits come out. And in the process, our land and water stays clean and our recycling industry and workforce stays strong.

Two bills introduced last Legislative session would have expanded our bottle return system and, in tandem, our recycling industry. They would have added all bottles save for waxy kinds like milk jugs to the list of returnable items. 

With gains being made in the pandemic, Sean Hammond, MEC policy director, is advocating to get one of these bills introduced again. Join him and MEC President/CEO Conan Smith as they discuss why an update is needed and what it means for bottle buyers like ourselves, for our economy and for our environment.

The Capitol Connection webinar series is generously sponsored by Steve and Judy Dobson.


Friday, March 12, 2021 at 11:30 AM
Zoom Webinar

Capitol Connection | After Nestle: Recs From Michigan's Water Use Council

Last fall, the state declined to take up a court case against Nestle. The food and beverage company was deemed to be legally drawing thousands of gallons of water a day from Michigan for next to nothing. 

A month later, Michigan’s Water Use Advisory Council has released its recommendations on how Michigan law should require water to be withdrawn.. 

Included in the Council are Tom Zimnicki – MEC program director for groundwater, surface water and agriculture – and Bryan Burroughs – executive director of Michigan Trout Unlimited and member group representative on MEC’s board.

Join Tom, Bryan and MEC President/CEO Conan Smith as they discuss what the Council is, how it works and its plans for more sustainable and equitable water withdrawals.

The Capitol Connection webinar series is generously sponsored by Steve and Judy Dobson.


Friday, March 26, 2021 at 11:30 AM
Zoom Webinar

Capitol Connection | Paradigm Shift: Merging Clinical Health & Environment

The clinical health sector is experiencing and adapting to a paradigm shift. Health professionals are collectively considering the environment around their patients as a possible cause for sickness – and a solution. The factories we work in, the roads we drive on, the water we drink from and the homes are being recognized as valid determinants of wellbeing.

MEC environmental health director Tina Reynolds should know. She has worked to change the narrative with her allies for years in workgroups, commissions, councils and boards where physicians, nurses and other healthcare leaders are present, if not make up a majority.

Our public and personal health does not always improve because of Legislators and executive directors alone. Sometimes good change comes from within the healthcare sector, those that use it and those, like Tina, that work with it.

Join Tina MEC President/CEO Conan Smith and they discuss how MEC and other environmental and healthcare leaders are shaping good public health policy with the environment in mind.



The Capitol Connection webinar series is generously sponsored by Steve and Judy Dobson.

 


Friday, April 02, 2021 at 11:30 AM
Zoom Webinar

Capitol Connection | Vigilance & Storytelling w/ MLive’s Garret Ellison

Whether you realize it or not, you know Garret Ellison. That’s because he’s a top environmental journalist for Michigan and, arguably, the nation. 

During his 13 years at MLive, Ellison has reported on the discovery of PFAS in west Michigan's drinking water; the hazards of the Line 5 oil pipeline for the Great Lakes; and Nestle’s plan to pump exorbitant amounts of public water for pennies. His work garnered him Michigan Journalist of the Year and a national public notice reporting prize.

But Ellison’s work is more than watchdogging corporate ne’er do wells. He also helps people make sense of rules and regulations, science and studies. He takes complex regional and statewide issues and makes them easy to understand. He brings out the personal, intimate, sometimes intrusive ways environmental injustice harms us and nature helps us.

Join Ellison and MEC President/CEO Conan Smith as they discuss the most personal, pertinent environmental news stories today and the importance of storytelling to create lasting change. 



The Capitol Connection webinar series is generously sponsored by Steve and Judy Dobson.


Friday, April 09, 2021 at 11:30 AM
Zoom Webinar

Capitol Connection | Fighting for Lead-Free Homes

Each year, hundreds of Michigan children are poisoned by lead. Thousands more have elevated lead levels in them. Both groups may struggle to learn, see slowed development, have damaged organs and lose their appetite and energy.

While water pipes are the most infamous culprits of lead poisoning, lead is most prevalent in the walls that have enclosed us ever more often in this pandemic. Nearly 80% of Michigan homes were built before 1978, the year lead paint was banned. Many still have lead paint in them.

Fortunately, there are solutions, and a diverse, statewide coalition of nonprofits, advocates and parents are fighting to see them realized in legislation. They are the Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Homes, and Tina Reynolds, MEC’s environmental health program director, is their director. In just a few weeks, the Alliance will (virtually) take to the Capitol for their 10th annual Lead Education Day, where they’ll inform their elected officials of lead threats and commonsense solutions.

Join Tina and MEC President/CEO Conan Smith as they discuss the policies Michigan can implement to keep our homes and bodies lead free and how you can urge your legislator to act.



The Capitol Connection webinar series is generously sponsored by Steve and Judy Dobson.


Friday, May 07, 2021 at 11:30 AM
Zoom Webinar

Capitol Connection | Beers, Cherries, Green Biz

Businesses have had a rocky relationship with the environment. At best. Corporations were notorious for setting rivers aflame with their pollutants and razing wildlife. Now, they continue to be the world’s largest polluters, waste generators and Superfund site creators. 

But this past decade has yielded something remarkable. Businesses are becoming models of sustainability. They are cutting their emissions and waste while investing in their communities and the natural world around them.

The most stalwart business leaders make up the Great Lakes Business Network, which protects the Great Lakes and the millions that live and vacation in its basin by advocating for clean energy, against Line 5 and against manure pollution. 

Chief among its advocates are Larry Bell and Bob Sutherland. Bell is the president of the Comstock Park-headquartered Bell’s Brewery, which makes clean, efficient use of its water, heat energy and waste. Sutherland is the president of Cherry Republic, a cherry-centric company headquartered in Glen Arbor that has given $2.5 million over its 30 years in support of clean energy, farms, recreation and youth development. Both also invest in their local communities and farmers.

Join Bell, Sutherland and MEC President/CEO Conan Smith as they discuss the role the Great Lakes Business Council and its members play in making Michigan’s natural resources and communities more resilient and how business can catalyze bold, swift, positive change.



The Capitol Connection webinar series is generously sponsored by Steve and Judy Dobson.