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UPEC Livestreams: Keeping you connected with the UP environment

Our series of livestreams, co-hosted by Board President Horst Schmidt and Vice President Evan Zimmermann, keeps you up-to-date with environmental issues facing the Upper Peninsula.

Please note: as of November 2021, you can view all archived recordings of the livestreams anytime on UPEC’s Facebook page. Earlier posts below link to UPEC’s YouTube channel, which is no longer being used for this purpose.


Updated: Sep 10, 2020

With Zena Huhta, Lake Superior Program Coordinator, Natural Resources Department, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Baraga County

Thursday, September 3, 2020, 7 pm EDT, livestreamed via Facebook and Zoom (links below)

“Let’s Talk” is the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition livestream program that looks at how we, the people, can build sustainable communities in the UP. In our September 3rd program we hosted Zena Huhta from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) in Baraga County to talk about beach clean up. It may seem like a mundane task, but Zena speaks about her job with pride, enthusiasm, and passion. We’ll discuss everything from the importance of collecting the high volume of trash—especially plastic—to testing water at beaches for E. coli bacteria to protect not only the county’s residents, but also its many visitors. Many people are not aware of the environmental role of tribes in the UP. In future programs, UPEC hopes to highlight environmental work of KBIC and other tribes, such as fish stocking, restoring waterfronts, and protecting air quality. Tribes have taken the lead on conservation, which benefits all residents of the UP. UPEC is proud to showcase these activities.

About Zena Huhta

A native of Baraga, Zena Huhta attended Northern Michigan University where she earned an associate degree in criminal justice, leading to a career in corrections at the Baraga Max prison. Finding a need for greater fulfillment, she became a certified personal trainer, working for the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College as their Fitness Center Coordinator. More schooling led to degrees in Liberal Studies and Business Administration from Ojibwa Community College. When the opportunity arose, she became Lake Superior Program Coordinator for the KBIC Natural Resources Department, which draws upon her love of the lake. Zena's small hobby farm provides peace and solitude along with her “ critters” and son. She says, “I love my life and that I am blessed to live where I do. We are gifted with so many amazing plants and animals.”

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With panelists Edward E. Timm, Skip Pruss, Ian Bund, and Bryan Newland, followed by an interactive conversation

It is becoming more clear every day there are large gaps in what we know about Line 5, the oil pipeline that traverses the Upper Peninsula and crosses the Straits of Mackinac. On Thursday, August 20, we rebroadcasted parts of a new video from the nonprofit group For Love of Water (FLOW) called “Securing a Brighter Future Without Line 5 or an Oil Tunnel.” Four speakers — an engineer, a lawyer and former state administrator, a venture capitalist, and a tribal chairman — talked about the many liabilities of Line 5 and its owner, the Canadian corporation Enbridge. The panelists are:

  • Dr. Edward E. Timm, PhD, PE, Retired Senior Scientist, Dow Chemical Company

  • Stanley “Skip” Pruss, former Director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth and former Chief Energy Officer for Michigan

  • Ian Bund, Senior Advisor, Plymouth Growth

  • Bryan Newland, Chairman of the Bay Mills Indian Community

We’ll then built on their presentations with more information and discussion. The more we get into the Line 5 issue, the more complications keep tumbling out. For Enbridge it is an effort to keep the pipeline open at any cost. For the people of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ontario, these are our waters, our lives.

More resources

• Slide show prepared by UPEC summarizing main points of panelists, plus actions you can take (PDF document)

Resources from FLOW’s “Securing a Brighter Future” webinar

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Mike Furmanski, the superintendent of Escanaba’s electric utility, explains the ins and outs of running the City of Escanaba’s utility, and the different types of utilities—investor owned, cooperatives, municipal—and the bulk power transmission system in Michigan, called MISO, plus other networks that allow us to receive seamless electrical service to our homes.

The second part of this episode of The Energy Show is “Bone of Contention: Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac.” Your UPEC hosts, Horst Schmidt and Evan Zimmermann, wind through the current legal wrangles between the State of Michigan and Enbridge, the pipeline owner.

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