From staff reports
On the afternoon of Thursday, October 16, Glen Arbor resident and business owner Chris Sack posted photos on his Facebook page that showed the basement of his home on M-109, west of Glen Arbor, flooding with water. This autumn has been a rainy one, following a wet summer that rose lake levels to their highest point in decades. Nearly seven inches of rain had already fallen by mid-October, compared to two inches that are typical for that timespan.
“I live in the heart of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Climate Change is causing increased volumes of rain and has caused our water table to come up to at least a 50-year high,” wrote Sack. “I am currently cleaning up after a storm and Climate Change-related flood that constantly re-floods our basement the moment I remove the water. This is happening to many homes around Glen Arbor/Sleeping Bear Dunes.”
Scientists at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore predict that Climate Change will affect our region through an increased frequency of heavy rain events. Biologist Lukas Bell-Dereske spent the previous two summers simulating heavy rain events in our National Lakeshore with irrigation systems, and found that the torrents of water wash away beach grass and negatively affect biomass production
But Sack’s frustration over his flooded basement fell on deaf ears. Later that evening, at the Township Hall in Glen Arbor, State Representative Ray Franz (Republican) concluded a townhall forum by calling Climate Change “a hoax”.
When debate moderator Peter Payette of Interlochen Public Radio pointed out that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had been awarded the Nobel Prize for its work, the two-term incumbent retorted that concern about Climate Change is a first step toward global governance. “I think the title of the organization says it all,” opined Franz. “It’s the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”
Franz also co-sponsored a bill to repeal a state mandate that requires energy companies to generate at least 10 percent of their power from sources that don’t produce greenhouse gases, like wind and solar. The mandate otherwise enjoys bipartisan support in Lansing.
At the debate Thursday in Glen Arbor, Franz’s Democratic opponent, Tom Stobie, called Climate Change a serious problem and said that he would support increasing the mandate to 25 percent over the next decade. “We cannot rely on fossil fuel forever and so we need to be pointed in that direction,” Stobie said. (Read the Glen Arbor Sun interview with Stobie).
Since being elected during the Tea Party wave election in 2010, Franz has drawn criticism for his vote to cut funding for the Pure Michigan campaign, which enables the local tourism industry, his support for drilling for oil under the Great Lakes, his effort to privatize food service for school cafeterias, his opposition to wind energy, and his opposition to teachers’ unions.