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E-M:/ Make Polluters Pay

Enviro-Mich message from pirgim1@juno.com (Brian M Imus)

Read and respond quickly. It's important to show support for a
strengthened, not weakened toxics cleanup law when Congress goes back
into session in January.

November 23, 1997

Dear Friends,

I’m writing to ask for your endorsement of our campaign to Make Polluters
Pay, an effort to defend the federal Toxics Superfund law.

Hundreds of toxic waste dumpsites are poisoning the soil, water, and air
in neighborhoods throughout Michigan and the nation.  They are the legacy
of decades of irresponsible use and disposal of toxic chemicals by
polluters.  The chemicals found in these sites are known to cause cancer,
birth defects, and numerous other illnesses in humans, and to kill birds,
fish, and all other forms of life.

For decades, polluters have tried to avoid cleaning up these dumpsites
and to force taxpayers to pay to deal with their mess instead.  Now,
they’re on the verge of convincing Congress to let them off the hook and
force taxpayers to pay billions of dollars to clean up the dumpsites…or
let the dumps continue to leak into our air, water, and soil.

Our campaign to Make Polluters Pay is designed to make polluters like
Exxon, General Electric, and Monsanto – not taxpayers – pay to clean up
those dumpsites.  In particular, we’re working to prevent the polluters
from rolling back the national Toxics Superfund law.  We’re also working
to make sure those dumpsites get cleaned up thoroughly and that citizens
get the information they need to prevent the creation of new toxic dumps
in their community.

There are more than 80,000 hazardous waste sites spread across the U.S. 
Twelve hundred of them have been identified as Superfund sites.  The EPA
estimates that an additional 1,400+ should be added to this list of worst
sites.  Here in Michigan there are ….

The federal Superfund law was passed in 1980 in response to the public
outrage generated by the poisoning of scores of communities like Love
Canal in New York, Times Beach in Missouri, and Shepardsville, KY ( The
“valley of the drums”).  In some of these hot spots, schools, parks, and
homes literally sat on top of or adjacent to some of the worst dumpsites.
 Not surprisingly, drinking water supplies were tainted, many people got
sick and a few children tragically died.

The core principle of the Superfund program is that polluters need to pay
for the mess they have created.  In addition to providing funding for the
cleanups (and ensuring that taxpayers don’t get stuck footing the bill),
the polluter-pays principle creates a powerful disincentive for companies
to continue irresponsibly disposing their wastes.

We need to clean up all our known toxic sites and systematically find the
others.  We need to strengthen, not weaken the federal Superfund to
assure that:
	* Polluters, not taxpayers pay for the clean up of hazardous
waste sites.
	* Sites are cleaned up completely, safely, and permanently
	* We must prevent future pollution by expanding the public’s
right to know about 	chemical use and disposal in our communities.
	* Citizens need a greater role in the cleanups of their
	* We must repeal the exemption from liability currently enjoyed
by the oil 		companies.

Unfortunately, instead of working to strengthen the Superfund and to
improve public health, polluters and their insurers are working with
members of Congress to rollback the current Superfund program.  Their
prime target:  the polluter-pays principle.  In addition, proposals that
have circulated in the U.S. Congress over the past few years would
rollback cleanup standards and shut citizens out of the cleanup process.

The 105th Congress is moving quickly to undo the Superfund.  In early
days of 1997 Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) introduced a bill (S. 8) that
would force taxpayers to pay for toxic waste cleanups rather than the
responsible polluters.

On the House side, Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) is promising to
introduce a similar bill within the next few weeks.

Senator Levin has not yet taken a position on the polluter-pays
principle.  I’m hoping that with support from you/groups like yours,
we’ll be able to get him to oppose S. 8 and instead support S. 769, which
would increase communities’ right to know about toxics in their

Please take a minute to fill out the attached form and send it back to us
at PIRGIM----
or contact us if you have questions. You can e-mail your response to
pirgim1@juno.com or  feel free to get in touch with me at (313) 662-6597.
Thank you for your time and help. 

Brian Imus
PIRGIM field organizer


Please check off as many activities as you are able to get involved in,
and e-mail back 
	e-mail: pirgim1@juno.com
	or fax to: (313)662-8393

____ Add my organization’s/my name to the Polluter Pays coalition letter
(the letter that will include all groups and individuals responding to
this request) to Michigan’s delegation to Congress in Defense of the
Superfund program. 
Name of organization:

In addition to adding your name to the endorsement list please let us
know if there are additional activities you can participate:

____ I/we will write a letter to key Representatives and Senators.
____ I/we will make phone calls to key Representatives and Senators.
____ I/we will attend a district meeting with key Representatives and
____ I/we will attend a news conference.
____ I/we will submit letters to editors of local newspapers.
____ I/we will collect signatures on postcards to key Representatives and
____ I/we will include an article on the Superfund program in my/our next
____ Other ___________________________________________________________

Name: ________________________________________________________________

Title: _________________________________________________________________

Organization: __________________________________________________________

Street: ________________________________________________________________

City: ________________________________ 

Zip: _________________   E-mail:

Phone: ________________________________  Fax: ___________________________

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