Susan Wheadon's Profile

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Mother/grandmother/ concerned about what is happening to our environment. Interested in social justice and policies that are best for the common good.

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  • signed up on Join 2018-12-13 20:08:44 -0500

    Join Us

    Join the Michigan Environmental Council email list to be the first to know about breaking news, upcoming events, and developments in Lansing as together, we work to protect the health of Michigan's people and environment.

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  • endorsed 2018-08-07 12:22:24 -0400

    Vote for Water Pledge

    Add your name to the list of those taking action to protect Michigan's water at the upcoming election.

    What makes the Great Lakes Michigan's most valuable natural resource? You could list facts about this all day long, such as how the lakes provide 40 million people with drinking water and 1.5 million jobs. But to a Michigander, you can’t sum up what the Great Lakes are worth with statistics. We know these lakes are priceless. So when you cast your vote in the upcoming August 7 primary, remember to Vote for Water.

    Who we choose to elect has a direct impact on the waters of Michigan. Our Great Lakes and inland waterways are currently facing a multitude of serious threats that need to be addressed. We urge you to keep these in mind during this election cycle:

    1. Algae Blooms - At their best, algae blooms foul our waters and make them a sickly green color, but at their worst, algae blooms can contain toxic cyanobacteria which contaminates our drinking water and closes beaches.
    2. Drinking Water Contamination - Michigan’s drinking water is threatened by pollution. In 2017, 71 water systems had higher lead levels than Flint and there are 35 sites and counting that have been identified with PFAS contamination.
    3. Aging Septic Systems - There are over 100,000 septic systems leaking over 30 million gallons of raw sewage into our groundwater every day. This waste pollutes our rivers, streams, and lakes and is loaded with pathogens like E. coli that threaten the health of Michigan residents.
    4. Line 5 - Every day, 23 million gallons of oil flow through a 65-year-old pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. A recent study found that a spill from this pipeline could pollute up to 400 miles of Great Lakes shoreline and would cost the state nearly $1.9 billion to clean up.
    5. Plastics - 22 million pounds of plastic enter the Great Lakes every year, and once it’s in our water, it never goes away. Instead, it breaks down into “microplastics” that get into our drinking water supply.
    6. Invasive Species – More than 180 invasive and non-native species have entered the Great Lakes, wreaking havoc on their ecosystem. These intruders, like the parasitic sea lamprey, outcompete native species, degrade habitats and disrupt food-webs which ultimately affects Michigan’s fishing, agriculture and tourism industries.

    This list could go on, but you get the point. The waters of Michigan are being attacked on multiple fronts. One of the greatest ways you can help protect them is by voting in the August 7 primary with these issues in mind. Pledge to Vote for Water now - and share this page with your friends and family with #VoteForWater.

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  • @susanpankhurst tweeted link to Algae Blooms Petition. 2018-07-17 22:05:26 -0400
    Sign the petition: Hold Governor Snyder and the State Legislature Accountable for Protecting our Waters #DontForgetAboutErie https://www.environmentalcouncil.org/algae_blooms?recruiter_id=5787

    Stop Toxic Algae Blooms

    To Governor Snyder and the State Legislature:

    To stop toxic algae blooms, state leaders need to create comprehensive policies that protect our waterways from nutrient dumping. These annual blooms pose a serious public health threat to the residents of Michigan, damage local businesses dependent on tourism, and harm important ecosystems. Michigan has been plagued by these algae blooms for over a decade and enough is enough, restrictions must be placed on those polluting our waters. 

    For every summer over the past decade, the western basin of Lake Erie has been plagued by toxic algae blooms that threaten drinking water sources, pose a risk to human and animal health, and damage the tourism economy of the region. Despite state and federal agencies pouring millions of dollars into this issue, we have seen minimal improvements. On July 12, 2018, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their final forecast of the season predicting what we and the lake are in for this summer.

    Based on their findings, NOAA and their research partners expect to see another harmful algal bloom of toxic cyanobacteria this summer in Lake Erie. NOAA predicts this bloom will be smaller than the one in 2017, but larger than the one seen in 2016.

    The cause of these blooms in western Lake Erie is not a mystery and the solutions aren’t either. An overabundance of nitrogen and phosphorus, primarily from agricultural lands, feeds these explosive and, at times, toxic blooms. Michigan has largely relied upon farmers voluntarily adopting better practices to mitigate the amount of pollution entering western Lake Erie but this strategy clearly is not enough.

    Take action today: sign our petition to call for stronger protection for Lake Erie against toxic algal blooms

    While agricultural runoff remains the main source of pollution into Lake Erie, it is not the sole contributor. Some of the nutrient loading comes from point source pollution, such as wastewater treatment plants or factories. However, unlike the agricultural sector, Michigan required these industries to cut their pollution. The state also banned the use of phosphorus in fertilizer on homeowner’s lawns. While this is a step in the right direction, until we seriously address runoff from agricultural lands, harmful and toxic algal blooms will continue to make news in Lake Erie.

    The Great Lakes play a central role in the state’s economy, ecological health, and charm, but these natural gems are currently being threatened by excess nutrient runoff. It is easy to want to protect beautiful Lake Michigan or impressive Lake Superior, but we at the Michigan Environmental Council want to challenge our supporters to not forget about Lake Erie. 

    We hope to demonstrate that it is not hopeless for Lake Erie; the problem IS solvable. But we need your support to make these policy solutions a reality. Sign our petition today to ensure that state leaders are held accountable for protecting Lake Erie. And share the petition with your network to get the word out and push for swift action to save the lake.

    See our three-part plan to break the cycle of algae blooms here:

    Part One: Digging Deeper: How can healthy soil lead to clean water?

    Part Two: Plugging the Leak: Help us keep raw sewage out of our waters

    Part Three: Cultivating a better Future: How Michigan farmers can help prevent algae blooms

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