The Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the first group to officially campaign to protect the 37-year-old Michigan Environmental Protection Act from a potentially devastating Michigan Supreme Court ruling due later this year. According to the NMEAC release:
An attorney for Nestle argued on January 11 before the Supreme Court that Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation “has no standing over what happens on [Nestle's] leased land. It’s of no concern to nearby land owners if ‘organisms in the wetlands live or die,’ or if a rare flower is endangered.” But MCWC is not fighting for just “any” wetland or rare flower, but for an important area at the headwaters of a stream that flows to Lake Michigan.
The people of the state said they wanted all citizens to be able to go to court to protect the environment and the Legislature listened when it passed MEPA in 1970. Decades of reluctance by government agencies to take action against powerful polluters, and growing public concern about serious air and water pollution, helped craft this important law, which deputizes all citizens to guard Michigan’s environment.
NMEAC has voiced concern that prior rulings and public statements by members suggest that the Michigan Supreme Court could agree with Nestle’s position and rewind Michigan’s legal code to require that citizens prove that they are directly affected by a particular pollution problem to get access to the courts to stop it. NMEAC holds that all Michigan citizens are automatically affected by what happens to our air, water, and other natural resources and should be able to stand up for them in court and is asking citizens and organizations to write letters to the editor and seek other creative ways to ensure that the Supreme Court knows citizens care.
If you have any ideas for creative ways to send a message to the court, post a comment here. We at Absolute Michigan feel that Michigan’s environment is worth protecting on moral, aesthetic and economic grounds.