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E-M:/ Capitol Coal Plant protest by Indigenous Youth

Forwarded for your interest -- put out by a Michigan activists

Press Release March 2, 2009  Washington DC  Capital Climate Action

 Ahjani Yepa-Sprague, 505-903-1192

Little River Band of Ottawa Indians / Jemez

           We are here today, as the future leaders of the First Nations to ask that the US Congress stop burning coal to provide energy to the Capital.  Coal Plants are responsible for CO2 emissions, a major green house gas and the cause of “Global Warming”.

 Tribal Peoples in Michigan, my Nation, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians are under threat from 8 proposed coal fired power plants, more than any in the United States

 Global Warming threatens to change our natural world beyond the memories of our peoples.  “This Capital Coal Plant needs to stop burning our way into the future”

 Emissions from Coal Fired Power Plants, Particulate Matter (PM 2.5 and 10.0) are especialy hard on our Elders and our children. It is our responsibility as Young Leaders to protect them.

 CO2 emissions from these coal plants are threatening our ways of life” Changing water levels causes interruptions in the natural cycle and invasive species threatens our tribal lifeways.

 The Air, Water and Mother Earth are sacred to our people, whatever we do to her, we do to ourselves.”

 Mercury from Coal Fired Power Plants, like this one, are of special concern to children and women of childbearing age like myself and many women who are here today at the Capital Coal Plant.  Mercury is a neuro toxin that harms the development of our children. The risk for women is the impact that mercury has on our babies in the womb.  Additionally, children who eat mercury-contaminated fish are at risk for decreased brain function.

 Tribal lifeways have had to be altered because of the existing Mercury in the lakes and streams in Michigan.  Further, no formal government to government consultation was conducted between the Federal Government, the State of Michigan and the Tribes.

 Every inland lake in Michigan is contaminated with Mercury.  Our children can no longer eat the fish This is the first generation in the history of our peoples that our children cannot eat fish given to us by the Creator to live and provide sustenance.

 The US Congress and the President need to understand that Tribal communities in Michigan and around the World are threatened by the pollution and harms caused by Coal Plants.

 The US Congress must stop burning Coal NOW

 Stop Coal NOW….

 In 2007 the Supreme Court ruled CO2 is a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.  Further, “ In a 5-to-4 decision, the court found that the Clean Air Act expressly authorizes the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, contrary to the agency's contention, and that if the agency still insists that it does not want to regulate those emissions, it must give better reasons than the "laundry list" of invalid considerations it has offered so Without the before mentioned consultation with the state and tribes the EPA’s Indian Policy, which has a federal trust responsibility to the tribes, is called into question.  Hiding under the auspices of newly appointed state regulations which were harbored and pushed through via non-disclosure and lack of proper consultation with the tribes, is a woefully inadequate recognition of all Tribes sovereignty. 

By Ahjani Yepa-Sprague: 505-903-1192, 911 North Ave, NE apt. C, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Grand Rapids Community College



Anne M. Woiwode, State Director

Sierra Club Michigan Chapter - 109 E. Grand River Avenue, Lansing, MI 48906  - 517-484-2372    anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org   http://michigan.sierraclub.org/index.shtml


Support the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter - contact Wendi Tilden at wendi.tilden@sierraclub.org


The bold steps that are needed to solve the climate crisis are exactly the same steps that ought to be taken in order to solve the economic crisis and the energy security crisis - Al Gore