Midland Coal Plant Stopped

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Over the past two years, we’ve reported on plans to build several new coal-fired power plants in Michigan. However, these plans have been the target of strong opposition from grassroots activists across the state.

We’re happy to hear that one of the plants–proposed for Midland, Michigan–will no longer be built. Mid-Michigan Energy, a subsidiary of LS Power, halted plans to pursue the plant citing regulatory and economic uncertainty. In recent months, the EPA has indicated that it will likely begin to regulate carbon emissions, while Governor Jennifer Granholm has ordered all companies planning to build coal-fired power plants to head back to the drawing boards to see if alternative power sources could meet the state’s needs.

Activists with the Midland group Midland Cares welcomed the news and said that it is an opportunity to pursue alternative energy sources. In response to the news, the statewide coalition Clean Energy Now said that it was due to the work of grassroots activists who educated, organized, and applied pressure on government leaders and Mid-Michigan Energy that the coal plant was not built.

Earlier this year, another planned coal plant in Marquette, Michigan was rejected by the EPA.

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KKK Member Elected as Republican Precinct Delegate Removed

Randy Gray–a member of the Ku Klux Klan who has been actively involved with the group in Michigan for several years–has been removed following his election as a Precinct Delegate in August. The Midland County GOP issued a statement saying that Gray’s views were out-of-touch with the Party’s values.

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Randy Gray–a Ku Klux Klan member who was elected as a Republican Precinct Delegate in Midland County–has been removed from his post.

The Midland County GOP removed Gray via a resolution before the Midland GOP convention last month. When Gray came to the convention, he was turned away at the door and handed a copy of the following resolution detailing his outster:

“A RESOLUTION REMOVING RANDY GRAY FROM THE MIDLAND COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY

WHEREAS the platform of the Republican National Committee states that: “From the time of Lincoln, equality of individuals has been a cornerstone of the Republican Party. Our commitment to equal opportunity extends from landmark school-choice legislation for the students of Washington D.C. to historic appointments at the highest levels of government. We consider discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, creed, disability, or national origin to be immoral, and we will strongly enforce anti-discrimination statutes. We ask all to join us in rejecting the forces of hatred and bigotry and in denouncing all who practice or promote racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, or religious intolerance

WHEREAS the Midland County Party fully supports this platform, adopting it as its own.

WHEREAS the actions of Mr. Gray are in direct conflict with the basic tenants of this platform, and therefore the ideals and beliefs of the Republican Party, and are strongly condemned by this organization.

And WHEREAS now is time for our country to come together to solve the many important issues that face our nation and our party.

IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED, on this day, November 20th, 2008, the executive committee of the Midland County Republican Party, hereby removes and no longer recognizes Randy Gray as a Precinct Delegate, or in any way a member of the Midland Republican Party.”

The Midland County Republican Party’s legal council has assured them that Gray’s removal was legal, but Gray intends to seek legal recourse according to media reports.

Gray–who has been active with the Ku Klux Klan since 2002–was previously ousted from Republican Ron Paul’s campaign once his affiliation with the Klan became known.

MediaMouse.org broke the story of Gray’s election as precinct delegate back in September. However, the story received little attention beyond an article published by the Michigan Messenger. In that article, Midland County Republican Chair Diane Bristol said of Gray, “If, in fact, he’s associated with the KKK, [then] yes, it troubles me.” However, an article in the Saginaw News seems to indicate that it was Gray’s decision to protest Obama’s election in Klan robes that led to his expulsion, not his affiliation with the Klan.

Ku Klux Klan Member Elected as Republican Precinct Delegate in Midland

Randy Gray–a Ku Klux Klan member who has spoken at a variety of racist events and who has worked on the Ron Paul campaign–has been elected as a Republican Precinct Delegate in Midland, Michigan.

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Randy Gray, a racist activist from Michigan and a member of the Knight’s Party of the Ku Klux Klan, has been elected as a Republican Precinct Delegate in the city of Midland, Michigan. According election results from the August 5 primary election in Midland, Gray was one of three candidates elected in a race in which three positions had to be filled.

According to Randy Gray, all he had to do was put his name on the ballot; there was no need for campaigning. Indeed, according to a document distributed by the Michigan Republican Party about Precinct Delegates, the process is pretty simple. Candidates declare their candidacy with their County, City, or Township Clerk and following a review of their “Affidavit of Identity,” their name appears on the ballot. Once they are elected, the parties are notified. The only qualifications are that the person is at least 18 years old and lives in the precinct.

The Michigan Republican Party defines the position as:

“A Precinct Delegate is an elected representative to the local political party from the precinct. Every precinct has at least one Republican Delegate, and some have more. The local party determines the number of delegates based on the number of Republican votes in that precinct in the previous election.”

The same document says that precinct delegates have the primary responsibility of attending all County Conventions during their two-year term. Additionally, there are often other duties such as distributing yard signs, literature drops, get-out-the-vote phone calling, and absentee voter programs.

While it is unlikely that anyone in the Republican Party knows of Gray’s affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan, a simple Internet search shows a post on the white supremacist website Stormfront.org in which Gray announces his victory. Additional searches quickly turn up a local newspaper article in which he admits to being a member of the Klan.

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Aside from his work with the Knight’s Party of the Ku Klux Klan, Gray has been active in other white supremacist causes. He has spoken at a national Ku Klux Klan gathering and at a racist rally held in the summer of 2007 in Kalamazoo with other white supremacists. Gray has actively used public access television to promote white supremacist messages. In Midland, he has aired the show “This is the Klan” on public access, as well as the program “Yahweh’s Truth” which is hosted by the Michigan-based Christian Identity pastor James Wickstrom. Christian Identity is a religion that is practiced by a significant portion of the racist right. Gray also runs a white supremacist website called WNN News.

Previously, Randy Gray worked on the campaign of third party presidential candidate Ron Paul. Gray was removed as a coordinator after it became public knowledge that Gray was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Gray is purported to be shown below in his Klan robes in a grainy photo from a racist website that is critical of the Knight’s Party of the Ku Klux Klan:

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While it would be wrong to conclude that simply because Gray was able to get elected as a Republican Precinct Delegate that the Republicans are sympathetic to his racist views, Gray’s election is important because he is a racist. It is important to be aware of such individuals–however much they may seem to be on the fringe–as they often make inroads when people are not paying attention, as seen in Gray’s election and in his earlier role as a coordinator for the Ron Paul campaign.

Largest Dioxin “Hot Spot” Ever Recorded Found in Midland

Only a few weeks after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has found potential clean-air and hazardous waste violations at Dow Chemical’s Midland, Michigan facility, federal scientists have announced that they have found a new toxic “hot spot” in the Saginaw River. The “hot spot”–a result of a concentration of dioxin released into the river by Dow Chemical–is twenty times higher than any previously recorded by the EPA. According to media reports, the “hot spot” has a concentration of 1.6 million parts per trillion, fifty times higher than the previously largest “hot spot” found in the Saginaw River. In Michigan, any contamination greater than 1,000 parts per trillion requires “corrective action.”

The Michigan Department of Community Health has issued a fish consumption advisory for the entire Saginaw River because of the discovery. Dow Chemical has said that “we don’t believe there’s any imminent or significant human health or environmental threat.” Despite Dow’s claims, it is currently cleaning up three “hot spots” on the Tittabawassee River due to health effects associated with dioxin. EPA studies have shown that dioxin damages livers, weakens immune systems, and affects reproduction In Michigan, residents living on the Tittabawassee River have been found to have 28% higher median levels of dioxin-like chemicals in their bodies.

EPA Alleges Clean Air and Hazardous Waste Violations at Dow’s Michigan Facility

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Friday that it has found potential clean-air and hazardous waste violations at Dow Chemical’s Midland, Michigan facility. The EPA has issued a “finding of violation” under the Clean Air Act and a “notice of violation” under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The EPA alleges that Dow Chemical violated the Clean Air Act by “failing to follow regulations aimed at detecting and repairing leaks, as well as failing to conduct a required stack test” and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by violating provisions for managing hazardous waste. According the EPA, these violations may have:

“…increased public exposure to organic hazardous air pollutant emissions including, but not limited to, ethyl chloride, toluene, ethylene, perchloroethylene, methanol and hydrogen chloride. Hazardous air pollutants may cause serious health effects including birth defects and cancer and may also cause harmful environmental and ecological effects. These pollutants are also volatile organic compounds and are major precursors of ground-level ozone (smog).”

The preliminary notice allows Dow Chemical a thirty-day window during which it can meet with the EPA to discuss resolving the allegations. The EPA can also choose to issue a compliance order, assess a fine, or file a lawsuit against the company. Thus far, Dow Chemical has downplayed the violations, suggesting that they are “paperwork” errors.