A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT
“Every person in Michigan deserves a safe and clean environment, from the air we breathe to the water we drink to the places we live, work, and play. We must aggressively advance toward viable renewable energy options for and by our citizens, while ensuring that hardworking Michiganders don't miss paychecks.”
We have been blessed here in Michigan with so many beautiful lakes, rivers, and forests. We have almost one-quarter of the world’s freshwater right here with the Great Lakes. One of the greatest joys of living here is sharing Mother Earth’s natural wonders with my children.
But we’re at a critical time for our environment. “Pure Michigan” can’t just be a tourism slogan.
We’re facing threats from climate change, corporate polluters, and special interest pressure on Michigan to sell off public lands. We need strong, long-term environmental policies so that our children, grandchildren, and generations to come inherit a pure Michigan.
Protecting our water, soil, air, and farmland is also crucial for Michigan’s economy. We must protect our natural resources, especially the Great Lakes. Invasive species, pollution, and federal funding cuts could decimate the lakes — and thousands of jobs that depend on them.
I support green jobs. Investments in alternative energy like wind and solar power, green construction, and advanced battery manufacturing provide high-skilled, high-paying jobs in Michigan. We also need to invest more in the “Blue Economy,” as Brookings Institute Fellow John Austin has written. Almost 1 million jobs are connected to water-based economic activity and it produces $60 billion a year.
We must explore viable immediate options for energy for our residents, while ensuring that the hardworking laborers of Michigan can take care of their families without missing paychecks. I believe that Michigan must pursue clean energy technology in order to have a sustainable economy and environment in the long-term.
Michigan ranks #18 overall in “greenest states” by WalletHub. But we drop to #41 for eco-friendly behaviors, defined as government policies on green buildings, electric vehicles, mass transportation, water consumption and management, and clean energy production.
I know we can do better.
As your State Senator, I will always work to protect our clean water, clean air, and open spaces. I will support clean energy, green construction, and streamlined public transportation.
I believe that if we don’t protect and preserve our environment, we are breaking a promise to our children and future generations.
1. Clean air. I believe that breathing and enjoying clean air is an inalienable right and that we must keep our air pristine for current and future generations. Our former congressman, John Dingell, did us proud by authoring the federal Clean Air Act. But big polluters are still harming Michigan today, as thousands of children get asthma and other respiratory diseases. Too many politicians are afraid to take on big corporations. Environmental standards have been weakened and we’re all paying the price. In the State Senate, I will stand up for people and fight to increase fines and penalties on big polluters.
2. Great Lakes and water. I believe that pure, clean Michigan water is a gift and must be preserved. Our economy and our quality of life both depend on the Great Lakes. As an engineer, I am absolutely determined that every precaution must be made to ensure that safety and the environment are protected. Everyone has the right to safe and clean water. We have seen how devastating it is when politicians fail to preserve this right in Flint, where so many children were poisoned by the water they drank. We can never allow this to happen in Michigan again.
3. Clean energy and the Blue Economy. We must invest in our future with clean energy, water-based industries, electric vehicles, green construction, and efficient mass public transportation. This is a win-win. We protect our environment and create high-paying jobs in emerging industries. I support the “30 for 30” ballot proposal that requires utilities to produce 30% of their electricity from renewable resources by 2030.
4. Parks and open spaces. We must preserve beautiful open spaces, state and local parks, and natural spaces across our state. We’ve seen special interests go after our national parks and monuments, like Bears Ears in Utah. Some politicians in Michigan want to sell off our public lands to the highest bidder. These lands should be enjoyed by everyone. I will fight to preserve them.
5. Expand the ‘bottle bill.’ Michigan was an environmental leader when we passed the “bottle bill” in 1976 giving a 10¢ refund on cans and bottles for soft drinks, beer, and wine. It’s made a huge difference in keeping our roads and waterways clean. But it’s been more than 40 years. We’ve never raised the refund rate. And there’s been an explosion in bottle water, juice and other alcoholic beverages, which are exempt from the law. I will introduce legislation expanding the “bottle bill” to bring it in line with Michigan’s 21st century needs.