Thursday, January 08, 2015

Michigan Greens Urge Snyder to Reject “Anti-Biodiversity” SB 78

The Green Party of Michigan notes the following:

Ecological Wisdom      *  Social Justice
Grassroots Democracy  *  Non-Violence

Green Party of Michigan

**  News Release  **
**  ------------  **
    January 6, 2015

For More Information, Contact:
Fred Vitale, GPMI Chair
    (313) 580-4905

Linda Cree, GPMI Platform Committee

Michigan Greens Urge Snyder to Reject
“Anti-Biodiversity” SB 78
    The Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) joins over 130 Michigan
scientists in strongly opposing “anti-biodiversity bill” SB 78.

    The bill, introduced by Senator Tom Casperson of Escanaba, passed
both houses of the state legislature in the lame-duck session.  Governor
Snyder has until next Friday to sign the bill into law or not.  GPMI
urges him not to sign, and asks all Michigan citizens to call his office
at 517-335-7858 and say the same.

    “The problem with SB 78,” says GPMI chair Fred Vitale of Detroit,
“is that it would prevent the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) from
effectively protecting our state’s wildlife and natural ecosystems.  SB
78 would change provisions in Michigan’s Natural Resources and
Environmental Protection Act in order to prohibit DNR from managing any
of our public land to promote biological diversity.  Yet that kind of
management is exactly what is needed from DNR today!”

    Linda Cree of Skandia, a member of GPMI's Platform Committee and a
representative to the national Green Party, agrees.  “SB 78 would
compromise DNR’s abiliity to fulfill its responsibilities to all of
Michigan’s citizens.  DNR works with various interests, from landowners
to multi-national corporations to sportsmen and environmentalists, and
the most important job they perform is to assure protection and proper
management of our natural resources.  This includes taking a long-range
view and keeping future generations in mind.  How can they do their job
if they’re denied the important tool of managing for biodiversity?”

    Tom Mair, a Green Party candidate for County Commissioner in
Traverse City, points out:  "The UN has recognized the critical need to
protect biodiversity, and has declared 2011-2020 as the Decade on
Biodiversity.  Governments are being encouraged to develop strategies
for protecting biodiversity.  How ironic that our legislature would pass
a bill that will have the opposite effect.  Governments are supposed to
protect biodiversity, not stop recognizing it."

    Adds Aimee Cree Dunn, a GPMI State Central Committee member and an
instructor of Native and environmental history at Northern Michigan
University:  “Any knowledgeable hunter, fisher, or hiker knows we can’t
have healthy wildlife populations without biodiversity.  SB 78 was
proposed and passed by legislators who are either ignorant of what it
takes to maintain the land's health, or are working for corporate
interests against the best interests of the people.  History shows that
such measures to boost profits for corporations impoverish the land and
the quality of life of the people who live, hunt, fish, and recreate there.”

    Ellis Boal, GPMI's candidate in the First Congressional District,
says, “The corporate pressures on our public lands are tremendous.  Our
DNR is not meant to be a mere lackey for timber, mining, fracking, and
other business interests.  It needs to have the ability to set aside
some lands for the purpose of maintaining critical species diversity,
even when under heavy pressure from corporations.  By undermining DNR’s
power to do this, SB 78 would work against the public good.”

    Linda Cree concludes, “Approving SB 78 would be a disaster.  As the
133 Ph.D. scientists from Michigan universities say, conserving
biodiversity is 'crucial for maintaining healthy, sustainable
ecosystems.'  Our forests are already reeling from tree deaths due to
the damaged ozone layer, acid rain, invasive pests, and diseases.  The
best defense for our trees is to return their ecosystems to peak health.
  It’s urgent that we restore, maintain, and protect biodiversity, and
allow DNR to manage for it.”

    The scientists' letter is at:

    For more information about the Green Party of Michigan and its
values, visit:

    You can also “like” the Green Party of Michigan US Facebook page
and follow GPMI's Twitter feed @MIGreenParty.

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Green Party of Michigan  *  PO Box 504; Warren, MI  48090-0504  *
313-815-2025  *