More than 75 Michigan communities formally oppose Canadian nuclear waste dump

LANSING—In support of efforts in Lansing by state Sens. Phil Pavlov and Mike Green to halt construction of a permanent Canadian nuclear waste repository on the shores of Lake Huron, 76 Michigan communities, along with local government agencies in Canada and other U.S. states, have passed official resolutions opposing the Canadian proposal.

Members of Michigan’s congressional delegation also have joined the fight, recently offering identical U.S. House and Senate resolutions urging the Obama administration to oppose the Canadian plan.

“I applaud the dozens of local governments in Michigan that have supported our efforts to stop this dangerous proposal,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “Local communities are overwhelmingly opposed to this proposed facility, and for good reason. Ontario Power Generation’s plan to permanently bury radioactive waste less than a mile from Lake Huron presents a critical threat to the health of the entire Great Lakes region.”

In June, the Michigan Senate unanimously approved measures designed to halt construction of the Lake Huron facility while strengthening Michigan’s protection of natural resources against radioactive waste.

One measure was Senate Resolution 151, sponsored by Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, which calls on President Obama, the U.S. secretary of state and Congress to formally request a binding decision from the International Joint Commission, the official organization appointed to prevent and resolve disputes over the use of the Great Lakes. SR 150 (Green) urges the Great Lakes Commission to study the impacts of the facility and take a formal position on it.

“These resolutions were mailed to the president, secretary of state and other officials in June,” Green said. “Since then, we’ve seen encouraging developments with members of Michigan’s congressional delegation also joining the fight and urging action from the Obama administration. The Great Lakes are the world’s largest supply of fresh water and must be protected.”

In September, Pavlov addressed the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s Deep Geologic Repository Joint Review Panel, the decision-making body for this proposal. Citing official Canadian opposition to a similar U.S. plan in the 1980s, Pavlov asked the panel to adhere to the standard their own government set for nuclear waste storage.

Although the joint review panel since closed their public comment period on Oct. 19, residents and local governments can still make their voices heard by visiting www.ProtectLakeHuron.com and signing the petition, Pavlov said.

Governor signs landmark drugged driving measures to better protect state motorists

LANSING—Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed into law landmark legislation to help keep drugged drivers off Michigan streets by ensuring immediate jail time for repeat offenders and better communication between law enforcement agencies.

State Sen. Phil Pavlov and Rep. Dan Lauwers introduced the legislation in response to the tragic deaths of Russell Ward and Koby Raymo, both of Avoca, who were killed in a head-on collision with a repeat drugged driver. Members of the Ward and Raymo families attended the bill-signing ceremony, along with St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon and St. Clair County Prosecuting Attorney Michael D. Wendling.

Public Acts 315 and 316 of 2014 place a conditional bond on drivers who are arrested for operating under the influence of drugs, put the bond into the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) and require drugged motorists to be given a permit license similar to a drunken driving offense.

“Nothing we do will bring back these two young men, but these new laws can prevent a similar tragedy for other families,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “Our hearts go out to the Raymo and Ward families and to all victims of drugged drivers.”

Michigan had the 12th highest rate of drugged drivers in the country from 2006-2009, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“Drugged drivers can destroy lives and profoundly impact families, and that somber fact was never more evident as the Ward and Raymo families watched Governor Snyder sign the reform measures into law,” said Lauwers, R-Brockway Township. “Michigan motorists who make the reckless and irresponsible decision to use illicit drugs and get behind the wheel will now face the same consequences as drunken drivers and be taken off the streets sooner. I’d like these measures to be referred to as the Russell and Koby laws to honor these two young men, whose lives were cut way too short at the hands of a drugged driver.”

On July 20, 2013, Ward and Raymo were killed in a head-on collision in St. Clair County when a pickup driven by Lisa Bergman crossed the center line. Bergman’s blood later tested positive for controlled substances. She had been pulled over six times since 2008 for operating under the influence of drugs, and at the time of the accident she had two pending cases.

Police officers who had previously stopped Bergman didn’t realize she had multiple offenses because they were not in the LEIN system.

“We are grateful and commend Rep. Lauwers and Sen. Pavlov for taking a leadership role on this important legislation,” said Sheriff Donnellon. “Police officers who are working on the front lines every day will greatly appreciate the ability to quickly learn whether a suspected drugged driver has similar offenses. We’re being given additional tools to prevent tragedies in the future, which helps us become even more effective public servants.”

Wendling said: “These new laws are a big step forward in helping law enforcement better protect the public. It is my hope we will continue to work on this issue and incorporate additional tools for our first responders to combat drugged driving as they become available.”

Pavlov responds to news of Asian carp eDNA in Kalamazoo River

LANSING—State Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, responded on Wednesday to Tuesday’s announcement by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that Asian carp eDNA has been discovered in the Kalamazoo River.

“The discovery of Asian carp eDNA in the Kalamazoo River highlights the urgency of the need to protect our waterways,” said Pavlov, author of Senate Bill 797, part of an eight-bill package that addresses continued threats posed by the illegal introduction, possession, use, transfer or sale of prohibited aquatic invasive species. “In Michigan we have been stressing how critical this situation is. Now it is up to President Obama and the federal authorities to do their part.”

Earlier this year, Pavlov and other lawmakers introduced SBs 795 – 802 to increase the fines for the illegal possession of aquatic invasive species; allow for the seizure of all equipment used in the introduction, possession and sale of these species; allow for the suspension of related commercial licenses; and suspend the responsible party’s right to fish and hunt in Michigan.

The DNR has reported that the invasive species bighead and silver carp are spreading to lakes, rivers and streams in the Mississippi River basin and the Great Lakes region. They are not yet established here but are well-suited to the climate of the region.

“Aquatic invasive species pose a devastating threat to the health of our Great Lakes,” Pavlov said. “This in turn could seriously affect the economy of the region and the lives of millions of Michiganders and others. We must take steps to prevent this from happening.”

Michigan law currently bans the possession of a select list of aquatic invasive species and expressly prohibits the possession, sale, transport or transfer of those prohibited species. However, there recently has been an increase in the trafficking of these species.

Pavlov’s bill and most of the others in the package have been sent to the Michigan House, where they await action in the House Committee on Natural Resources.

Pavlov hosts reading contest ‘student senators’ at state Capitol

LANSING—Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, on Wednesday hosted the winners of his 2014 Be a Senator For a Day summer reading contest at the Michigan Capitol.

Twelve students from Lapeer and St. Clair counties traveled to Lansing with their parents to participate in a mock swearing-in ceremony and committee hearing and a guided Capitol tour.

After taking their “oaths of office” in the Senate chamber and a guided tour of Michigan’s historic, 134-year-old Capitol, the “junior senators” vigorously debated the merits of a hypothetical bill to require uniforms in Michigan’s public schools in a mock committee hearing chaired by Pavlov.

“Reading is one of the best skills we can encourage to help children achieve their fullest potential and enrich their lives with all the joys and experiences that books can bring,” Pavlov said. “Our libraries do a wonderful job with this program, and I’m grateful to partner with them in this endeavor.”

The summer reading contest was held throughout the summer and was open to all first- through fifth-grade students in Lapeer and St. Clair counties who completed their local public library’s summer reading program.

Pavlov’s office received more than 300 entries for the competition and randomly selected winners from each participating library.

The 2014 contest winners are:
•    Mia Bommarito, fourth grade, Pine River Elementary
•    Zackary Dickenson, fourth grade, Landmark Academy
•    Andrew Ellul, third grade, Fair Haven Elementary
•    Madelyn Fowler, fourth grade, Yale Elementary
•    Lauren Fowler, second grade, Yale Elementary
•    Sophia Garcia, fourth grade, home school
•    Emma Kent, fourth grade, Borland Elementary
•    Charles Renard, third grade, home school
•    David Russell, second grade, home school
•    Emily Vermeesch, fifth grade, Capac Elementary
•    Roman Ward, third grade, home school
•    Emma Wilson, fifth grade, Gearing Elementary
•    Austin Wilson, third grade, Palms Elementary

Note: For a print-quality version of this or other Pavlov photos, click the image or click the Photowire link in the Media Center tab, above.

Reminder: Green and Pavlov to host Bay City town hall on protecting Lake Huron from nuclear waste

LANSING—State Sens. Mike Green, R-Mayville, and Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, are inviting Bay and Thumb area residents in the 31st and 25th Senate districts to a public town hall on Monday, Oct. 6 in Bay City to discuss legislative and other efforts to protect Lake Huron from a proposed Canadian nuclear waste dump.

Who:
Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville;
Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township; and
Anyone interested in the topic.

What:
A public town hall meeting to inform residents about a Canadian nuclear waste dump proposal and plans by Michigan lawmakers to stop it.

Canadian officials propose to bury 7 million cubic feet of radioactive waste less than a mile from the shore of Lake Huron, directly across the lake from residents of the Bay and Thumb regions.

Green and Pavlov are leading an effort in Lansing to halt construction of the dump. Their legislation has passed the Michigan Senate unanimously and awaits action in the House of Representatives. More
than 70 communities throughout the region have recently passed resolutions in support of the measures.

When:
Monday, Oct. 6
6:30 to 8 p.m.

Where:
Pere Marquette Depot
1904 Room
1000 Adams St.
Bay City, MI 48708

For more information, contact Green’s office at 1-517-373-1777.

Pavlov reminds residents of Monday deadline to register to vote

LANSING—Sen. Phil Pavlov on Thursday reminded area residents that the deadline to register to vote for the November general election is quickly approaching.

“This Monday, October 6 is the deadline for registering to vote, and I encourage all citizens to make sure they are registered,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “Free elections are foundational to our freedom and our nation’s success. We should not take our constitutional right to vote for granted.”

If you do not know if you’re registered to vote, visit the Michigan Voter Information Center at: www.michigan.gov/vote. The site enables you to check your voter registration status and learn how to register. It also includes links to useful information like how you can vote absentee.

Residents who are not registered to vote can pick up a form from their local clerk, a secretary of state branch or find it online at: www.michigan.gov/sos. Click on “Elections in Michigan.”

For more information, residents in Lapeer County may contact the county clerk’s office at 810-667-0356 or by email at tspencer@lapeercounty.org. St. Clair County residents may contact the county clerk’s office at 810-985-2200.

Pavlov welcomes executive director of Operation Transformation to Senate

LANSING—State Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, on Wednesday welcomed to the Michigan Capitol the Rev. Dr. Thomas J. Seppo (left), executive director of Operation Transformation in Port Huron. Seppo delivered the daily invocation before the start of the Senate session.

Note: For a print-quality version of this and other Pavlov photos, click the image or click the Photowire link in the Media Center tab, above.