Update December 7th, 2014: we’ve just learned, thanks to this DeSmogBlog article, that Michigan’s “Burn Bill” HB 5205 has just been passed by the Michigan House of Representatives! Leave it to “Pure Michigan” to attempt to redefine “renewable energy” to allow for burning tires, and all manner of different wastes which should never be used to generate energy, let alone be recharacterized as “renewable” energy.
We took a stand against this disastrous and dubious bill last summer with the Backbone Campaign, see below. But, as you can tell, it wasn’t enough.
Update: check out this video of our flash mob at the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing!
Here are a few pics from our demonstration yesterday! More pics and video coming hopefully soon. In the meantime, check out this awesome article about the protest and the Backbone Campaign’s Great Lakes Basin Action Camp that helped make it possible! And if you’d like to support their continued proliferation of artful and creative protest tactics, consider supporting them financially!
Lansing, MI – Monday, May 19th, 12:30pm – Dozens of Michigan residents and activists performed a flash mob on the state capitol today to express their distaste with HB 5205, an Orwellian proposal from Representative Aric Nesbitt that would reclassify toxic waste as “renewable energy”. Activists danced and sung multiple rounds of “Restore Pure Michigan”, an adaptation of Lorde’s “Royals” in the rotunda of the capitol. They then marched out and continued with an outdoor theater mocking and drawing attention to Nesbitt’s wreckless disregard for Michigan’s well-being. Prominently displayed in the background was a sign reading “Pure Michigan? Stop Nesbitt’s Toxic Plan, www.burnbill5205.org” to demonstrate the abhorrence of Nesbitt’s toxic proposed legislation.
HB 5205, which activists call Nesbitt’s “Toxic Burn Bill”, threatens the clean air of all Michigan residents. Nesbitt’s proposal would severely broaden existing criteria as to what constitutes renewable energy. It would enable facilities to burn recyclables and petroleum coke, a controversial byproduct of refining tar sands, to generate fuel and receive tax incentives in return. By reclassifying waste products as renewable energy resources, HB 5205 would grant special favors to large polluters.
“Incentivizing waste incineration would be devastating to the health of Michigan residents,” said Jake McGraw, with the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands. “These facilities aren’t green, they emit toxins like dioxin, mercury and PCBs.”
Representative Nesbitt has drawn significant criticism for his attacks on Michigan’s environment. Last year he received an approval rating of 26% from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. Earlier this month governor Snyder received the same failing score from a Sierra Club evaluation.
HB 5205 is scheduled for a hearing in the Energy and Technology Committee on Tuesday, May 20th.
“This bill will undo over 20 years of environmental justice work in Michigan,” said Charity Hicks, an environmental justice advocate from Detroit.
The demonstration was held by the Backbone Campaign, an organization specializing in creative and artful protest tactics, in conjunction with organizers from the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands.
House Bill 5205 Is An Attack On Pure Michigan!
Under this bill sponsored by Rep. Nesbitt, corporate polluters would be allowed to burn various forms of municipal waste and be rewarded in turn with “renewable energy tax credits”. House Bill 5205 would change the definitions of “renewable” and “cleaner” energy to include fuel dubiously derived from:
- pet coke, a by-product of toxic tar sands
- industrial waste
- electronic waste
In short, this bill will let corporate polluters put our air, land and water at risk by burning our industrial and city waste, and in return they’ll be rewarded with our tax dollars! Crazy, isn’t it? Read about HB 5205 online here, or go to www.legislature.mi.gov
Members of the House are meeting Tuesday, May 20th at 8:30am in the Michigan Capitol Building. Let them know what you think about this bill in person! Or contact Nesbitt at (517) 373-0839, AricNesbitt@house.mi.gov, or call your own representative and urge them to vote HB 5205 down.