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Responses from Distict 2 Candidates

Name: Karl Sime
What office are you running for? Ingham County Commissioner Dist. 2
Campaign phone number: (517) 525-5995
Campaign email:
Campaign website:
Campaign social media: Facebook:  Karl Sime for County Commissioner

1. The best available climate science shows we need to drastically reduce emissions by 2030. Ingham County policy and action should align with the goals set by Federal, State and local governments. What is your timeline for Ingham County's transition to renewable energy? How would you support efforts to implement community solar and to increase the use of geothermal and wind energy?

The best way to drive this transition is by example.  County offices will be all electric in 2 years.  At least one public charging station powered by solar will be built in 2 years as well.  My district comprised of mostly rural areas and many farms.  Recent environmental regulations did not fully address community solar and wind.  Changes in this area will be made to allow retiring farmers to opt for wind and/or solar conversion.  Local factories in my district like Dart and Gestamp will have their environmental policies reviewed and any shortcomings will require correction.


2. Transportation is one of the largest sectors for carbon emissions. This has the immediate effect of creating poor air quality. As Ingham County grows, we must look for ways to make transportation more affordable and less polluting. Expanded public transit, EV infrastructure, and improved bike/walk safety are all critical parts of the solution. What policies and initiatives do you support to make Ingham County less car-dependent and more walkable, bikeable, and with improved access to public transportation? What funding would you put in place to implement these initiatives?
IWill look towards the European model for public transportation.  Present American public transportation systems are very undeveloped, inefficient, and unreliable.  Would fund research into this area to see where the most cost effective measures can be implemented first.   Residents of rural areas have to drive long distances to obtain the things they need.  They also tend to drive large trucks which are very inefficient way to shop for groceries or go to the hardware store for supplies.  I envision a centralized delivery service, again focusing on electric/small profile vehicles to make these deliveries.  

3. Climate change disproportionately impacts frontline communities, especially low-income and Black, Indigenous & People of Color (BIPOC) communities. What actions do you support to address these imbalances?

Zoning practices often allow the most polluting industries to establish plants near low income neighborhoods.  The real solution is to more tightly control stationary sources with the same level of stringency that mobile sources have been subject to for many decades.  Too many times government agencies have caved into the lobbyists for relief from emission controls.  This will change if I'm elected as commissioner.

4. There is unequivocal data that the health of underrepresented communities are disproportionately affected by environmental factors such as air pollution, PFAS poisoning, flooding, and climate change. What can Ingham County do to address the health impacts of environmental contamination?

One of the reasons underrepresented communities have more environmentally related health problems is they are simply not informed or educated about the health impacts of pollutants or they do not know where to get help or express concern about local emissions of toxic chemicals.  There will be programs to educate the unrepresented to become advocates of the environment and to be able to take action against companies that may be emitting pollutants in their neighborhoods.


5. Federal funds are often directed to benefit Low Income Disadvantaged Communities (LIDAC) and can help achieve climate justice goals. Accessing this funding on behalf of Ingham County will help those in Ingham County who need that support and will bring equity to energy costs, transportation, food accessibility, and human health. Where would you like to see Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and other Federal investments made in regards to affordable clean energy? What can be done to ensure the process of obtaining rebates and tax credits is easy to access for those who are seeking the assistance?

Educating and informing the public is the best starting point.  Often citizens are not even aware there are resources available.  Many of the disadvantaged communities are in areas with poor internet connectivity so they are not able to search and sign up for these resources.   Investing a portion of these funds to bring the disadvantaged up to the same levels of communication as the remainder of the community will be a big first step.  Not only would they be able to find resources but would also be able to be more informed about how to save energy and reduce their carbon footprint.  For example, many of the disadvantaged live in homes that have very poor insulation and excessive air leaks but they might not be aware of how much extra this costs a month or that simple repairs can pay for themselves in a very short period of time.  Being connected with the internet would provide them with these resources.  


6. How we handle waste plays an important part of reducing emissions. How will you support waste reduction efforts, such as improved participation in recycling, removing organic waste from the waste stream and promoting composting, and a single-use plastics ban?

I will work very hard to require recycling but in a way that minimizes impact on citizens.  Have heard of many complaints about failed recycling programs, citizens not being informed about how to do this correctly and efficiently, or placing undue burden on citizens.  This in turn impacts voting behavior towards investments in clean air and clean energy.  Many people would  even volunteer for this but many local waste services do not have any provision to pick up recyclables.  The first step will be a voluntary program of citizens, but a mandate for waste services to provide a means for recycling.  The low hanging fruit will be 1) cardboard recycling program, 2) phasing out the plastic grocery bags, and 3) establish composting centers

7. What do you see as the biggest roadblocks to addressing climate change through local policy? If elected, how would you collaborate with elected officials at all levels of government, businesses, individuals, and other community stakeholders to address these roadblocks?

The two biggest roadblocks are climate change deniers holding office and lobbyists essentially paying for permission to pollute or waste resources.  Another challenge is convincing the general public that addressing climate change and pollution is vital to the survival of the planet.  I believe that large scale information and resource sharing from EPA, DEQ, DOE, Universities, and business that are taking action to reduce their environmental impact are the key to accelerating the development of unified countermeasures to reverse the excessive warming and poisoning of the environment   The county commission will seek out and welcome experts in these areas and involve the public in open discussion about proposals for effective environmental solutions.


8. Conventional norms of development and landscaping are definitively linked to plummeting populations of pollinator species such as birds, bats, and bees. What actions can Ingham County take to conserve and restore biodiverse habitats? What steps can Ingham County take to make such considerations the standard for land use?

Any county buildings with landscaping will then be required to support any or all of these creatures.  County landscapers or yard maintenance crews will not allowed to use any chemicals or practices that harm these species.  There will be programs to make the public more aware of the options for their own landscaping.  The county will work with rural areas and farmers to increase the numbers of beehives, bird sanctuaries, and bat houses in strategic locations, public and/or private.  Countywide bans on chemicals that are known to harm bees will be proposed.

9. Private homes, businesses, and agricultural operations often use chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that run off into water, causing great harm to aquatic wildlife and, left unchecked, can cause mass die-offs. What responsibility do Ingham County officials have towards water and wildlife?

County officials are fully responsible towards water and wildlife, including the ban of chemicals that do the most harm, and requiring farming practices that provide the largest level of protection.  Will work with MSU ag department and other agencies that are dedicated to the development of farming and landscaping practices that minimize the harm to wildlife and their habitats.  One example of many is the use of parasitic wasps that attack only the pests that harm crops.

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