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E-M:/ First the good news...
- Subject: E-M:/ First the good news...
- From: GreenPlanet <riccawu@MNSi.Net>
- Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 10:02:49 -0400
- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-To: GreenPlanet <riccawu@MNSi.Net>
Enviro-Mich message from GreenPlanet <riccawu@MNSi.Net>
News from the Great Lakes Mayors Conference.
Some good news and some bad coming out of the Great Lakes Mayor's Conference
in Toledo, Ohio this week.
First the Good News.
The City of Windsor's Mayor Mike Hurst is asking mayors from communities
around the Great Lakes and St.Lawrence, attending the Great Lakes Mayor's
conference in Toledo, to support him in asking federal governments to commit
more money to the lakes and their connecting channel waterways. In an
article in the Windsor Star Ellen van Wageningen reports that 80 Great Lakes
and St.Lawrence municipalities will be participating in a water quality
network that will be posted to the Internet by Environment Canada's
Biosphere Centre in Montreal.
The southwestern Ontario cities of Windsor and LaSalle are among the
municipalities that have agreed to submit monthly information about their
sewage treatment plant discharges into the Great Lakes. The new Internet
site is http://www.wul.qc.doe.ca/biospher.
Currently this site is suppposed to have preliminary information from
Canadian municipalities. Others including Windsor and LaSalle will be added
over the next six months. Hurst also said that federal governments must
take more of a lead role in cleanup such as the Detroit River where efforts
are lagging. Jim Blanchard former Governor of Michigan and US Ambassador to
Canada commented that
Mayor's have a problem with "things getting mandated on them without the
resources to do anything about it." He also claims that the Great Lakes are
cleaner than they have been for a long time and thats because of cooperation
between our two countries. (this could be a moot point if we don't progress
with the clean up work that needs to be done and then develop a strategy to
stop the continuing pollution).
Mayor Hurst also invited Mayor Archer of Detroit to co-host the 1998 Great
Lakes Mayors conference that is planned for Windsor in May.
The Bad News:
The City of Detroit has not agreed to take part in the water quality
network. No doubt their terrible record of discharges (and lost number or no
numbers or coverup) at the Detroit WWTP may cause them to hesitate to public
scrutiny. No doubt they may/will want to find some way to "doctor" or
"dispute" or "discount" the real numbers, as they have been trying to do
for the past 10 years, of remedial action planning (RAP) in the Detroit
For further information on the Detroit RAP and the IJC's status assessment ,
of this international waterway and area of concern, please refer to the
Citizens Environment Alliance, Downriver Citizens For A Safe Environment and
Creekside, document "Citizens Guide to the IJC Status Assessment of the
Detroit River AOC" that was posted to enviro-mich last week. Perhaps with a
little pressure from enviro-mich and other enviro-folks the City of Detroit
will see the light and participate. This is the only way we can really get
on with the job of cleaning up the Detroit River, that is, by everyone
being able to observe and comprehend the actual "real" numbers of substances
being discharged to the Detroit River by the largest municipal polluter in
the Great Lakes. The people can then decide how much needs to be done and
what has not been done. They won't need agencies such as MDEQ to "fudge"
things or "re-interpret" things for them.
The other bad news is that Mayor Archer and the Mayor of Gary Indiana (?)
both trashed the new EPA clean air proposals for ozone and particulate
matter. Mayor Archer seems to think that the new proposals will cost the
City of Detroit jobs and permanent damage to their respective economices.
As previously pointed out here on enviro-mich, Dingall, Levin, and others
are claiming, the "Big Three" auto makers in Detroit will lose jobs if the
public gets cleaner air, and the Mayor of Gary said that his city lost
10,000 steel jobs the last time the EPA brought in new clean air amendments.
Archer and other Mayors are asking for a moratorium of 4 years before
embarking on the new clean air proposals. Accordng to a spokesperson for
the MDEQ, Ken Silfven, (as reported by the AP Washington bureau) "no one has
demonstrated the (clean air) benefits are worth the financial and lifestyle
changes that will be imposed."
We would suggest that without lifestyle changes that the human species on
this planet may cease to exist...we could look like Mars in a cosmic moment.
Furthermore, according to the International Joint Commission (IJC)
International Air Quality Advisory Board Progress Report # 23, April 1997,
"the proposed primary standard (Ozone standard) is expected to have very
significant benefits in terms of public health and the economy, including
the reduction of significant breathing problems (those which involve a 20%
reduction in lung function) by 1.5 million cases; the reduction of needed
hospital admissions, missed school and work days; fewer instances of
restricted activities and emergency room visits for respiratory problems;
the reduction of childhood illnesses ranging from inflamed lungs to
irreversible lung damage; and the reduction of asthmatic episodes redquiring
medication or medical treatment in children. The proposed secondary
standard will greatly increase the protection of the environment, including
an expected savings of nearly one billion dollars in reduced agricultural
Further from the IJC report..." attainment of the standard is not required
before the year 2004, seven years after promulgation. Furthermore, areas
with severe pollution and limited control measures would have the ability to
gain a 5 year extension. In these cases the new standard (for ozone) would
not necessarily be attained until 12 years after its promulgation." So what
is the problem Mayor Archer?
Seems to us that Mayor Archer and other Great Lakes Mayors are being sold a
bill of bad goods from such groups as the Great Lakes Council of Industries
and the MDEQ and others. A concentrated campaign against this hyperbole
needs to be persistent and consistent. Canada usually follows on the heels
of new improved enviro-regs coming from the US. If the US governors and
mayoral dupes win and stop the new EPA air proposals we all lose. Canada to.
Here in the Great Lakes we are all part of one ecosystem and one bioregion.
People in Windsor get to breathe the air produced in Ohio, SE Michigan and
sometimes even Chicago. Windsor can, when the winds are right, send its
dirty air 40km downwind to towns such as Merlin and the City of Chatham.
It is not by accident that Engler and Harris the Premier of Ontario, seem to
talk out of the side of their mouths. Unfortunately with all the downsizing
these two jokers are doing they have muncipalities and its mayors in a
political and economic panic - downsizing means loss of services and
increased taxes, user fees and maybe losing the next election. We the
people need take time and act to save the health and environment of this
region for all future generations. We can and must stop the suicidal
unsustainable corporate agenda. Optimistically, thanks to the work of
enviro-mich network and all of you who keep us informed of the Michigan and
Great Lakes news and issues, we can continue to mount campaigns such as the
recent letter writing campaign to the EPA to support the new air proposals,
and utilize the media to promote it.
It is curious to us why no one at the Great Lakes Mayors conference
mentioned NAFTA. If Mayor Archer is concerned about jobs and the economy of
Detroit he needs to look no further than the NAFTA agreement that Bill
Clinton and the US Congress signed in November of 1993, and then Canada
followed like a lap dog later. Clinton and his administration have been
trying to paint a rosy picture of the benefits of NAFTA to the US economy in
the past three years. He talks of increased exports, low unemployment and
agressive competitive position. Chretien in Canada talks the same line.
But according to a news item from Washington (reported in the Southam
Newspapers in Canada) since NAFTA took effect in January of 1994, a pattern
of plant-closings and layoffs has been repeated in virtually every state and
nearly every province in Canada. The US Labor Department as of June had
certified 132,972 persons who have lost their jobs because of NAFTA, this
misses many who do not apply for benefits.
In Canada the real crime is the youth unemployment rate which has
skyrocketed to at least 15% and is much higher in some cities such as
Windsor where it is over 17% for youth between 15-24. For those without a
high school education it is more like 40%, and this was before funding was
cut to adult education courses.
Mayor Archer and his colleagues from other US Great Lakes Cities need to
look at the real facts and the real reasons why jobs are scarce and
economies are hurting and not blame the attempts at environmental progress
that needs to be made in protecting health and the economy in the Great
lakes region. Jobs can be produced by cleaning up the environment, real
jobs, good jobs, green jobs and jobs that can help to develop a sustainable
Lets all set our sites on stopping the attack on the new EPA proposals,
encourage the City of Detroit to participate in the new Internet water
network, and also get ready to host the Mayors of the Great Lakes cities in
Windsor and Detroit in 1998.
Keep in mind that this week in Kingston Ontario a conference is discussing
the role of the environment in causing breast cancer. Pollution it is said
may be responsible for up to 80% of the breast cancer cases. Someone needs
to brief Mayor Archer and other Great Lakes Mayors and governors as to the
current crisis in public health and the environment. Someone needs to tell
Mayor Archer and Governor Engler (and Premier Harris) what the
Environmental Information Center in the US reported last week that the Great
Lakes region ranks number one in the release of endocrine (hormone)
disrupting chemicals such as PCBs, number one in carcinogens such as benzene
and number two in reproductive toxins such as lead relative to other U.S.
regions. To make matters worse, with more than 70 percent of all reported
releases nationwide going into the air, the Great Lakes region has become a
major sink for toxins generated elsewhere. Someone also needs to tell
Mayor Archer and MDEQ that the state of Michigan ranked the highest of 20
(highly industialized) states reporting releases and transfers of
reproductive toxins in 1994.
Consequently, the issue of jobs vs the environment or no future is a false
one the real issue is jobs with the environment or no future.
Windsor & Area Social Justice and Ecological Network
PO Box 548, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, N9A 6M6
Voice 519-973-1116 fx 519-255-7361
ENVIRO-MICH: Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.
Postings to: firstname.lastname@example.org For info, send email to
email@example.com with a one-line message body of "info enviro-mich"