Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — Protect water resources
There is a fracking gas/oil rush in Michigan because our Department of Environmental Quality and Office of Oil, Gas and Minerals give away our fresh water for free and our state lands for pennies.
This is our public trust. And every time a well is fracked, some 20,000,000 gallons of clean, fresh, groundwater is taken from the earth, poisoned with toxic chemicals and removed forever from the hydrologic cycle of the Great Lakes.
Mushrooms, Kirtland warblers, fox, trout and the biodiversity of the forests are displaced, injured, damaged when millions of gallons of groundwater are taken. Our wetlands, headwater streams, ponds, rivers and lakes, and the Great Lakes themselves are diminished by this enormous diversion. The drilling, venting, flaring, piping and off-gassing of the gas industry load the atmosphere with CO2, causing more extreme climate change, Great Lakes warming, more evaporation of surface water and diminishing of our wondrous fresh water seas, our Great Lakes.
Some 95 percent of the fresh water of the United States lies in the Great Lakes Basin. We must fight to prevent the diversion, waste and squandering of our precious water resources for quick profits for oil and gas corporations.
If you live in Charlevoix and are registered to vote, please remember you can vote absentee. Or, on Tuesday, May 7, Gabe Campbell, Shirley Gibson and Jeff Porter are running for city council and need your vote. Not only will they stop the fireplace before it costs us more money and higher taxes, they will get Charlevoix back on track.
To vote an absentee ballot, please call the Charlevoix City Clerk at (231) 547-3250.
Moral, legal obligation
Colleges and universities are supposed to be dedicated to the free interchange of ideas. It is surprising, therefore, when a college tries to restrict free speech rights.
“Free speech zones” at a public college is a First Amendment issue, based on the idea that “free speech zones” means other areas of its campus have restricted speech. The First Amendment Center, which publishes every Monday in this paper to teach its readers, has written about this.
Public colleges have moral and legal obligations to assure students, teachers and members of public that free speech rights are enjoyed throughout the college, not just in designated “zones.”
Does this matter? In 2001 CMU tried to prevent students from displaying the U.S. flag, on the grounds that displaying the U.S. flag was objectionable to some on campus, and therefore was prohibited speech. Eventually, CMU stated they recognized that free speech prevailed on their campus.
It is time for the Northwestern Michigan College board to assure the general public that free speech rights are enjoyed by U.S. citizens everywhere on their campus, not just in zones they designate, and that this is their moral and legal obligation.