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E-M:/ MEC comments on State of the State proposal



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Enviro-Mich message from davemec@voyager.net (dave dempsey)
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IMMEDIATE RELEASE                       CONTACT:  LANA POLLACK
JANUARY 29, 1998                             517-487-9539

ENVIRONMENTAL BOND PROPOSAL GOOD START BUT NEEDS CHANGESTO PROTECT
TAXPAYERS, LAND AND WATER

"Governor Engler's election year proposal for a $500 million environmental
bond is an overdue change from the policies of his two terms, but Michigan
taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the whole bill," Lana Pollack, President
of the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) said today.

The need for massive taxpayer funding was created in 1995 by the Governor
when he signed changes to Michigan's Polluter Pay law cutting off virtually
all the millions of cleanup dollars that polluters had been paying to
redress the damage they caused and prepare brownfields for redevelopment.

The Governor's plan is also deficient in not addressing one of the
underlying causes of urban abandonment and decay -- rapid urban sprawl
which is being subsidized by building new roads sewers and schools at the
cost of repairing existing infrastructure.

The Engler proposal to borrow $400 million for cleanup and eventual
redevelopment of old industrial sites called brownfields is an important
step in bringing hope and job opportunities to older cities but it is
flawed in three ways which Michigan environmentalists are calling on the
Governor and Legislature to correct:

*Require polluters to pay their fair share before going to taxpayers.

  *Target money saved by collecting from the polluters for better
protection of rivers and the Great Lakes and repairing our State Parks
infrastructure. Helping communities correct the dumping of raw sewage and
cleaning up toxic hotspots in the Lakes will require more than the limited
funding the Governor proposes.

* Incorporate measures to stop taxpayer subsidies of unchecked suburban
sprawl as other states are doing while helping fund protection of valuable
farmland and open space.

"Governor Engler could learn from New Jersey's Republican Governor
Christine Todd Whitman and Maryland's Democratic Governor Parris
Glendening. They're big thinkers and understand that renewing blighted
urban neighborhoods requires polluter accountability, and is linked to
blocking unchecked suburban sprawl by protecting valuable farmland and open
spaces," Pollack said.


Dave Dempsey
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI  48912
(517) 487-9539
(517) 487-9541 (fax)
davemec@voyager.net
www.sojourn.com/mec



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