The natural beauty of Grand Traverse County is either why most of us came here or stayed here. It's the driving force behind our quality of life. And it's the driving force behind our tourism and outdoors industries. 3.3 million people visit our area every year, and that supports thousands of jobs. We have to be vigilant about protecting our environment or we’ll lose what makes this place special.
Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline is a ticking timebomb. A 67-year-old pipeline running directly through our drinking water is intolerable. A leak would cause $4.8 billion worth of damage to our tourism economy. – the economic backbone of Grand Traverse County. We need to close it down as soon as possible.
Climate change is a direct threat to our way of life in northern Michigan. Our fruit growers are already seeing the effects of climate disruption. It’s cutting into the bottom line of the winter sports industry. We clearly need to be doing more to curb greenhouse gas emissions. I think state government should make encouraging development of renewables – including solar and wind energy – a priority. I also support greater incentives for electric cars. Michigan was the global automotive leader of the last century. To keep that role, we need to actively promote innovation in battery and charging technology.
We also need to reverse many of the negative policies enacted by the legislature. In Michigan, we have a statute requiring a board of polluters – including fossil fuel executives and lobbyists – to approve all new environmental rules. That's absurd.
Finally, I support new investment in our water infrastructure. This summer, beaches in Grand Traverse County were shut down three times because of sewage leaks. It's not just a problem here either. Statewide, we’re dumping six billion gallons of sewage into the Great Lakes every year. No one likes to think about sewage – but politicians have ignored this issue for too long, and now it's directly hurting our businesses and our public health.