Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Michigan Greens Oppose HB 4540's New FOIA Loophole for Pipelines

The Green Party of Michigan notes the following:

Green Party of Michigan

**  News Release  **
**  ------------  **
    May 19, 2015

For More Information, Contact:
Candace Caveny, GPMI National Committee
    (313) 815-2025

John Anthony La Pietra, GPMI Media Committee

Michigan Greens Oppose HB 4540's
New FOIA Loophole for Pipelines
    The Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) announces its opposition to
Michigan House Bill 4540, which would open a loophole in the state's
Freedom of Information Act to keep public records on oil and gas
pipelines and plans secret from the public.

    The bill was introduced May 5 by Kurt Heise (R-020, Plymouth) and
assigned to the state House's Committee on Oversight and Ethics.
Committee chair Ed McBroom (R-108, Vulcan), who signed on as a
co-sponsor, has already scheduled the bill for two hearings -- the next
one Thursday morning.

    "Government of the people, by the people and for the people would
clearly be violated by the secrecy promoted by House Bill 4540," says
Green Party member, lawyer Sherry A. Wells of Ferndale.  "Grassroots
Democracy is one of the key values of the Green Party worldwide, as are
Ecology, Social Justice and Nonviolence.  This Bill violates them all."

    "The landslide defeat of Proposal 1 by a greater number of voters
than usually come out to non-presidential elections is a clear signal of
unhappiness with the legislators," notes Candace Caveny of Lapeer,
GPMI's 2014 candidate for lieutenant governor.  "Woe to those who are
ignoring this."

    Caveny adds that shots were nearly fired in Lapeer County over the
would-be ET Ranger pipeline when the public was not well notified.  “Any
attempt to block public notice of pipeline plans could well be
endangering the safety of multiple lives when pipeline surveyors appear.
  Legislators sponsoring this legislation might end up with blood on
their hands, and should think long and hard before proceeding."

    John Anthony La Pietra of Marshall was disappointed to find his
hometown's current House member David Maturen as a co-sponsor of HB
4540.  He wrote Maturen, "[T]he district you were elected to serve is
where Enbridge had its massive spill in 2010.  If you want to maintain
your claim to be a representative of the 63rd District, you need to
oppose this giveaway to Enbridge and its partners in pollution."

    Chris Wahmhoff of Kalamazoo, GPMI's co-meeting manager, agrees.
"This takes more local control away from local communities and puts it
in the hands of a state that does not have our interests in mind.  I
think it's important right now to be in the streets like people are
today, to be calling our legislators as people are today, and signing
petitions and sharing on social media as people are doing today."

    The text of HB 4540 and other official information can be found at
the bill's page on the Michigan Legislature Website:

    The House committee's homepage is

        GPMI's next statewide membership meeting is scheduled for
Saturday, June 6 in Grand Rapids.  For more information about GPMI, its
platform, 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

    GPMI was formed in 1987 to address environmental
issues in Michigan politics.  Greens are organized
in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Each
state Green Party sets its own goals and creates its
own structure, but US Greens agree on Ten Key Values:

    Ecological Wisdom
    Grassroots Democracy
    Social Justice
    Community Economics
    Respect for Diversity
    Personal/Global Responsibility
    Future Focus/Sustainability