The Flint water crisis is one of the main reasons why I decided to run for office in 2016. I was outraged by the criminal negligence of elected officials, who exposed nearly 100,000 residents to lead, killed 12 people and left thousands more with permanent health issues. Growing up, I did not have running water in my home and we had to walk to water sources and carry water back to our house, but at least it didn’t poison us. At the rate we are going with environmental policies my grandchildren will not have much of a future.
Green New Deal Pledge
The climate crisis is an extenstial threat to our way of life. As a scientist and chemist, I know firsthand how important it is to protect our environment. I am a proud champion of the Green New Deal Pledge. The Green New Deal is a set of nine bills that represent some of the strongest pieces of climate and environmental justice legislation to date. These bills will provide funding for infrastructure, schools, cities and farmers to move toward net zero emissions, all while keeping our skilled trade workers employed. They would address environmental racism, end government subsidies for oil companies and stop new fossil fuel leasing on public lands and waters.
Access to Clean water
Access to clean drinking water is a basic human right. Since 2014, more than 140,000 Detroiters have had their water shut off due to inability to pay their water bills. At the same time Nestle is able to extract millions of gallons of water from the Great Lakes daily, for a mere $200 per year and sell it at massive profits- often back to Michiganders. To address this issue, I will sponsor legislation that creates a water affordability plan.
Every day that Line 5 stays in operation puts our Great Lakes at risk. It is not a matter of if Line 5 will leak, it is a matter of when it will. Which is why I voted to shut it down completely. Line 5 is a 68-year-old pipeline that runs under the Mackinac Straits. It carries 23 million gallons of oil daily from Western Canada, through Wisconsin and Michigan to Sarnia, Ontario. Between 5-10% of the Oil actually goes to Michigan. U of M scientists call it the worst possible placement for pipelines in the Great Lakes, which is why I voted for Line 5 to be decommissioned immediately.
The Great Lakes account for 22% of the world’s freshwater supply and 85% of freshwater in the US. A spill in the Mackinac Straits will pollute our drinking water, kill wildlife in and around the Great Lakes and destroy our summer tourism industry.
Southwest Detroit, specifically the 48217 zip code where nearly 90% of the population is people of color, is the most polluted area in Michigan. There are more than two dozen pollutant-producing facilities in the area, anyone who has driven through this area knows the smell. Residents and doctors suspect that exposure to air pollution is causing cancer, yet there is no funding for research. I believe we need to start with securing research funding, then use the results of that research to force companies to reduce pollution levels and pay for health damages they have created.
Investing in green infrastructure & banning new polluters
We have very little time left to mitigate the effects of climate change and need aggressive policies to do so. The UAW Local 58 is leading the way for green energy in Detroit with its Net Zero Energy hall. Net Zero Energy means creating enough energy through green alternatives such as solar power and geothermal energy, to meet energy needs without contributing to carbon emissions. I will work to secure funding for existing businesses to make similar updates and sponsor legislation that requires any new construction to meet stringent emissions standards.