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Posted on Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 1:38 p.m.

Michigan League of Conservation Voters challenges Snyder and Bernero to answer eight questions on the environment

By Ryan J. Stanton

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters today sent a pair of open letters to Rick Snyder and Virg Bernero, challenging both candidates to answer an identical set of questions on environmental issues the LCV says have yet to be answered in the gubernatorial race.

Snyder, a Republican businessman from Ann Arbor, and Bernero, the Democratic mayor of Lansing, both were endorsed by the LCV in their respective primary races.


Rick Snyder, left, and Virg Bernero are being asked by the Michigan League of Conservation Voters to answer eight questions about environmental issues.

The LCV, which has offices in Ann Arbor, so far has chosen not to endorse either Snyder or Bernero in the general election.

“We were happy to see both of our endorsed candidates make it out of their primary fights, but we will continue to hold them accountable to the commitments they are making to Michigan’s sustainable future,” Lisa Wozniak, the LCV's executive director, said in a statement today.

“We are not seeking to attack either of these campaigns with these questions," Wozniak added. "We are simply asking them to go on the record on these important issues. Whether they answer our letter directly, or respond question by question as our members and allies show up with them at town halls, we look forward to hearing their responses.”

The questions are based on a series of tracked positions the LCV released before the primary in a piece called “Charting the Governor’s Race." The questions also take into account more recent information logged on the LCV's Candidate Tracker.

  • Click here to read the open letter to Snyder.
  • Click here to read the open letter to Bernero.
  • Click here to view the LCV's "Eight Final Questions" flier.

Ryan Werder, the LCV's political director, said in a statement today that Michigan voters deserve to know what they are voting for on Nov. 2.

The eight questions touch on the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard, a moratorium on coal plants, wind power, comprehensive water protection, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment budget, funding for state parks, concentrated animal feeding operations or CAFOs, and sulfide mining in Michigan.

"We will be providing fliers with these questions on them to our members and other concerned citizens to bring to the candidates’ open forums," Werder said. "Michigan LCV will then update our Candidate Tracker to reflect the answers as they come in. Of course, if it is easier for the candidates to just answer them in an open letter back to us, we will be very happy to post that up, as well, with our thanks.” The LCV is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that seeks to promote an environmental agenda by electing, educating and holding officials accountable for their votes and actions. Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Wed, Oct 6, 2010 : 11:06 p.m.

Ok Michiganface & David Briegel What does Virg have to offer? What do you have against Snyder (other than he's a "rich" republican? And how are either one of your comments relative to the story? I for one, would like to hear what both candidates have to say on this issue, but more importantly, on the issue of job growth. As in the private sector. How do they propose to encourage business here in Michigan?

michigan face

Wed, Oct 6, 2010 : 4:02 p.m.

Virg is our only hope - don't listen to the slanted media coverage - Rick is the LAST thing Michigan needs right now. Don't be brainwashed into believing this election has already been decided - far from it! There are too many sensible, responsible and educated voters here in Michigan - Let us make our voices heard Nov. 2nd. Until then, take a good hard look at what is at stake and vote!


Wed, Oct 6, 2010 : 9:19 a.m.

EPA? Who needs the EPA anymore, vote Republican.


Wed, Oct 6, 2010 : 8:49 a.m.

@ Ignatz, you have personal experience with conditions under Stalin's regime? Didn't think so. He (Stalin)might have been an evil dictator, but the public projects that he ushered in changed and often improved the lives of ordinary Russians tenfold to what had been previously experienced under Czar Nikolaus. Just saying...


Wed, Oct 6, 2010 : 8:23 a.m.

@TopCat: You would have loved the USSR during one of Stalin's Five Year Programs. They wanted cheap cheap energy, too.


Wed, Oct 6, 2010 : 8:20 a.m.

Wind energy requires a steady, constant flow of air for it to be efficient and cost worthy. The nearest condition we have in this state is SE of Cadillac, which happens to be the highest point in the lower peninsula. Probably the best area is in the Mackinaw Straits area, but you would have to put those huge wind generators in the water, and I'm not sure folks would go for that. Another problem is that you have to put the wind farms where the wind is, and that isn't necessarily anywhere near where the end user is. You can locate a nuclear power plant pretty much anywhere you want, so long as there is a water source for cooling. Well, it will be interesting to see the responses from both candidates. Also, with hundreds of thousands of residents having left the state, and with large manufactuing plants either idle or scaled back, I'm wondering what the current energy load is compared with ten years ago.


Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 9:50 p.m.

I see an agenda here in the questions. I would love to see both candidates answer them and for AA.COM to post the results here. The same for other question sets. Wind power by itself can not power Michigan given the current technology. The wind pattern is wrong to provide steady power. We need a portfolio solution including lots of ideas. Right now the portfolio of workable renewable technologies is too thin. Better than supporting a state standard would be supporting a state research initiative on all forms of renewable power. Right now the best choice for reliable power is in the UP - lots and lots of trees. They make good boiler fuel. But not what people really want.

David Briegel

Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 7:32 p.m.

Vote Rick, Leave No Billionaire Behind! Let the rest Eat Cake!! Cut taxes for the billionaires. That really works!!!!!! Why should Rick have to answer questions when he has already been annointed Gov?? All we have to do is look at his Lt Gov nominee. He is mini Rick! That is all you need to know about Republican Rick!!! Move to China where Rick and his clowns sent your job!! But only if you want to work for slave wages. The "Christian value" of the Republican Party!

E. Manuel Goldstein

Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 3:03 p.m.

What are the gubernatorial candidates' positions on drilling for oil in the Great Lakes? What are their positions on hydro-fracturing (hydro-frakking) - a drilling method for extracting methane? What are their opinions on how best to not repeat the million gallon Enbridge oil spill into Michigan waterways?

Top Cat

Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 2:32 p.m.

Clean energy and wind energy are expensive energy. Following the LCV's agenda would be a great jobs growth opportunity for the Southern States and China. We need real energy to power our industry and keep up warm. Pipe dreams and wishful thinking won't do it.

michigan face

Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 2:20 p.m.

Great - Rick Snyder doesn't have a chance - unless he continues to sidestep real questions and avoid giving real answers. Yeah- he's running alright - for himself! Money, money, money - MONEY!


Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 2:20 p.m.

If you think the rich deserve more tax breaks, vote Republican!


Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 1:49 p.m.

Virg get real you are so out of it you have no chance.

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 1:01 p.m.

For those who prefer not to download a PDF, here are the eight questions: 1. If elected, would you work to strengthen the Renewable Portfolio Standard and the energy efficiency goal and, if so, what specific steps would you propose? 2. Would you support a strategy of a responsible transition to clean energy production in lieu of the construction of new coal-fired powered plants in Michigan? What is your long-term strategy for Michigans energy future? 3. If elected, how would you navigate the future of wind energy in our state from its manufacturing roots to its implementation in energy production both on- and off-shore? 4. If elected, will you support legislation that clarifies Michigans law to include all Michigan waters both surface and groundwater in the public trust? 5. Based on your earlier statements on protecting the Great Lakes and preserving Pure Michigan, how do you plan on improving MDNREs current lack of resources given the difficult budget constraints? 6. If elected, would you work to find room in the budget for preserving our state parks and, if so, how do you plan to ensure their long-term availability to tourists and Michiganders beyond a single budget cycle? 7. If elected, how do you intend to address the different standards under which CAFOs and small farmers operate? 8. What is your position on sulfide mining in Michigan?