[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ Perspective on State of the State and Engler Anti-Environment Position



-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Enviro-Mich message from asagady@sojourn.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

As we hear of an election year "conversion" of John Engler on 
the environmental issue, let us not forget the hostile/anti-environment
posture of our fat-boy draft dodging guv from his speech as 
a "darling" of the Washington DC based Competitive Enterprise
Institute.....   Read this to know the true John Engler, which I'm reposting
for the benefit of those who have joined the list in the last year....

George Weeks, political columnist for the Detroit News, has been
trying to "rehabilitate" Engler's environmental record.   I'm convinced
that Engler wants to be President; but he can't do it without having
some kind of raproachment on the environmental issue.    Given Engler's
record, Michigan enviros should deny him this or otherwise potentially face an
Engler White House in 2000 or 2004.... not a good way to face the 
new millenia!!

For the younger folks out there, Warren T Brookes is a deceased former
Detroit News opinion columnist who had a direct line to anti-environmental
PR from all of the Washington trade associations and who relentlessly
ridiculed and 
criticized all manner of environmental protection and conservation efforts in 
his columns.

=======


                        Warren T. Brookes Fellowship Memorial Dinner
                             Remarks by Governor John Engler
                                   Tuesday, November 19,1996


   As you may know, Joe Olson, before he took the post of Insurance
Commissioner in my administration, was Chair of the Board of Directors
at the Mackinac Center -- a Michigan-based think tank that we call the CEI 
of the midwest. 

   Actually, if Warren Brookes were alive today, I am certain he would be
thrilled 
at the degree to which idea-generating organizations like CEI, the Cato
Institute 
and the Heritage Foundation are leading the debate in Washington. 

   Certainly, he would be proud -- extremely proud -- of the scholars who have 
so ably filled the Warren Brookes   Fellowship in Environmental Journalism. 
Beginning with Ron Bailey, and continuing with Michael Fumento, Michelle  
Malkin and James Bovard, these Warren Brookes fellows have represented 
the epitome of excellent scholarship,  thoughtful analysis and outstanding
writing. 

   Indeed, every time I pick up a newspaper like the Wall Street Journal and 
see a column by a scholar such as Jim   Bovard, I think of Warren and know 
that he lives on -- not just through the CEI fellows but through all of us. 

   We share his belief in the power of free markets. We share his skepticism of 
bureaucratic science -- BS as Warren used to call it. And we share his 
lifelong commitment to the principle that people make better decisions -- 
for their businesses,  for their families and for the world they live in -- 
better decisions than government ever could. 

   Warren Brookes was an honest broker in the marketplace of ideas 
and information. And while we miss his voice twice-a-week in the paper, 
we certainly continue to benefit every day from the power of his ideas and 
the diversity of his intellect. 

   I wish that Warren would have been alive to see Republicans take 
control of Congress. What I wish even more would have been to see 
the fun Warren would have had skewering the Clinton administration - 
on issues ranging from his pre-election land grab in Utah to the 
225,000 pages of rules that have been added to the federal register 
over the past   four years. 

   Considering the withering criticism Warren had for a previous 
administration, we can only imagine what he would have said about 
the current president. Recall this example of what Warren said about the 
1990 debate over the Clean Air Act:

        ". . . in the current environmental debate on Capitol Hill, the
collective 
hole in the White House and  legislative heads may be larger and more 
permanent than the one that shows up every fall in the ozone layer        
over the Antarctic -- and more dangerous to our economic and ecological
health." 

   Just imagine what Warren might have written about the Clinton-Gore 
mantra -- "protect Medicare, Medicaid, education  and the environment." 
Or what he would have said about a vice president who has a portrait of 
Rachel Carson hanging in his office. 

   Remember, this is the same vice president, who is his 1992 book, 
Earth in the Balance, said that the automobile was a mortal threat to our 
national security. In addition, I bet that Warren would have been the first 
to point out that the  president's so-called bridge to the 21st century is 
a toll bridge. 

   In a world where too many people get their news from Oprah Winfrey 
and Geraldo Rivera, we need more journalists  like Warren Brooks. And 
fortunately, more journalists -- like John Stossel, last year's speaker at this 
dinner -- are rising to the challenge. 

   Just yesterday, for example, two op-eds in the Wall Street Journal, 
one by Julian Simon, the other by David Rothbard and Craig Rucker, 
debunked for the the umpteenth time -- the myths about a population 
explosion and fear of famine currently being propagated at the U.N. 
Food Summit in Rome. 

   We learn from their able scholarship that people worldwide are better 
fed living longer and healthier lives. More  importantly, we learned that 
continuously improving farming methods are more than capable of feeding 
a growing world  population. 

   As the father of triplet daughters, I had been concemed that I had 
unwittingly contributed to an impending worldwide  disaster. I was 
especially concerned because my little Maggie does not like to 
share her food. Let me tell -- no one is   going to take apple juice away 
from Maggie. 

   Seriously, there is no doubt that when it comes to environmental 
joumalism, those who follow in Warren's footsteps are  outnumbered 
by those who don't. But we have an ally on our side that usually wins 
in the end -- the truth. And I have   developed a method of getting back
 at the fearmongers, especially liberal fearmongers 

   I'll say to them, "Did you know that one in four liberals is at risk of 
developing cancer and that one in five liberals will die from it?" 
Of course, I don't tell them that conservatives -- indeed all Americans 
-- face the same risk of cancer. 

   I should note, however, that Warren wrote about much more than 
environmental issues. Often, he wrote about a subject dear to my hear 
-- taxes, and the economic benefits of cutting them. For example, he 
wrote in his column in June 1991: 

        "One of the genius strokes of the U.S. Constitution is that it 
provides the one thing most governmental  systems lack, namely 
competition within government itself. The federalist system still allows 
states to pursue varying tax, fiscal and regulatory policies that strongly 
influence their economic activity. This means states  automatically 
become 'laboratories' for economic policy. Unfortunately, liberal think 
tanks have all but  ignored this fertile field for research -- and with 
good reason: There is a virtually unblemished record of
strong economic performance in low-tax states, and vice-versa. 

   As usual, Warren was right. And Michigan's success story proves it. 

   Just a few months after I became Michigan's governor, I invited 
Warren, Tom Bray and several other friends over for dinner. At the 
time, Michigan's economy was mired in recession. Unemployment 
was approaching ten percent. 

   The state budget was nearly $2 billion in the red and the deficit 
was growing. At the same time, taxes -- especially property taxes 
-- were skyrocketing and welfare was becoming a way of life for 
more and more families. A tent city of  protestor had camped out 
on the lawn of the State Capitol. 

   Twenty-one tax cuts later, Michigan is a far different place. Twenty-one 
tax cuts have put more than $6.5 billion back into the wallets and 
purses of Michigan taxpayers. I'm talking about the biggest property 
tax cut in history, cutting income taxes, raising exemptions, eliminating 
inheritance taxes and most taxes on pensions. We're even phasing 
out Michigan's capital gains tax. 

   The result has been an economic turnaround that is the envy of 
America. Our unemployment rate has been below five  percent 
every month this year. In fact, we are headed for the lowest 
unemployment rate since 1969. 

   That's not the only good news. Since 1991, Michigan employers 
have created more than 500,000 new jobs. Over the same period, 
personal income in Michigan has climbed more than 25 percent -- 
the fastest growth rate in the nation. 

   Since 1994, more than 100,000 families have left the welfare 
rolls and achieved independence. Michigan's budget has been 
balanced five years in a row and our state's Rainy Day Fund 
is at an historic high of more than $1 billion. 

   And I should note that we have accomplished all of this, not 
inspired by Washington, but in spite of Washington . . . 

   . . . in spite of the biggest tax increase in history 

   . . . in spite of two vetoes of welfare reform 

   . . . and in spite of an EPA that has increasingly overstepped 
its bounds and usurped the lawmaking responsibilities of Congress 
and stepped on the state's ability to implement environmental reform. 

   Indeed, I am reminded of a story that NYU law professor 
David Schoenbrod tells in his book, Power Without Responsibility, 
about the battles between Franklin Roosevelt and the Supreme 
Court concerning the limits of federal  power. 

   Schoenbrod -- who is also a scholar at the Manhattan and Cato 
Institutes -- cites a case in which the Supreme Court struck down 
several provisions of FDR's National Industrial Recovery Act -- 
legislation creating a federal agency to  write and enforce 
its own laws dictating wages, prices and production schedules. 
At the time, Justice Louis Brandies told  a top Roosevelt aide: 

        "This is the end of this business of centralization, and I want 
you to go back and tell the president that we are not going to let 
this government centralize everything. It's come to an end. As for 
your young men, you call them together and tell them to get out 
of Washington -- tell them to go home to the states. That is where  
they must do their work." 

   My friends, we have been doing the work in Michigan. As governor 
of a state with more than 3,000 miles of coastline on the nation's 
most precious fresh water resources -- the Great Lakes -- I know 
that the quality of our natural resources directly affect the lives an 
livelihoods of all our citizens. 

   I believe strongly that a healthy environment and a healthy economy 
are mutually sustainable. You cannot have one without the other. On
 a microeconomic level, I also believe that good environmental policy 
is good business. However,  the unfortunate reality id that government 
policies designed to protect or to clean up the environment that do not  
recognize this basic principle of mutual sustainability are usually 
counterproductive. 

   For example, consider the federal Superfund program. Rather 
than directing limited resources to achieve the most cost effective 
reduction in health risk to the public, Superfund has spawned endless 
lawsuits and legal wrangling, much-delayed and ever more costly 
cleanups, and contaminated sites that remain unused, undeveloped 
and a threat to  public health. Indeed, I am told that as much as 80 
percent of the funding for this program goes to pay lawyers. 
Maybe  we ought to rename Superfund the "Superlawyer Fund." 

   I am especially concerned about the program's explicit failure 
to rehabilitate urban "brownfield" sites and to make them available 
for redevelopment. In a scientific survey of Michigan's environmental; 
problems. The inability to reuse such urban sites in favor of suburban 
and rural "Greenfield" was identified as our state's top concern. 

   The current CERCLA liability scheme of strict, joint and several 
and retroactive liability is part of the problem. While the system 
is labeled "polluter's pay," in reality it is "deep pockets pay." As 
a result, redevelopment efforts are stymied as cleanup costs skyrocket 
and liability disputes escalate. 

   Until last year, Michigan's cleanup rules had mirrored the 
federal CERCLA liability scheme and the lack of results, especially 
in our inner cities, was all too evident. With tlie support of a wide 
geographical range of city mayors, in June 1995, I signed legislation 
that replaced strict liability for owners and operators with a liability 
standard based on causation. 

   This approach retains the concept that the polluters should pay by 
still holding the parties that caused the problem liable for cleaning it up. 
We also enacted a blanket exemption from liability for existing contaminated 
culpable purchasers and occupants of contaminated property. 

   In addition, we have strengthened and expanded liability protections 
available to lenders who foreclose on contaminated property. I strongly 
encourage identical liability protections be included in Superfund in 
each of theses areas. Such reforms are vital to state and city efforts 
to encourage reuse of contaminated property. 

   Further encouragement can be provided by cleanup standards based 
on land use. Recent reforms in Michigan allow us to  use containment
 remedies and land use controls in lieu of performing costly remediations.
 Combined with a single risk  level and specific soil and groundwater 
cleanup criteria, we can develop remedial action plans for sites of 
environmental  contamination far more quickly than Records of
 Decision can be developed under Superfund. 

   Our new cleanup standards allow us to use our limited resources to get 
the best protection for our citizens. Indeed, we  estimate that these reforms 
will reduce the cost of cleaning a site by up to 50 percent while still 
providing fully protective  remedies. 

   The results so far have been impressive. A study of our reforms that was 
released earlier this year showed an increase in   investment by the private 
sector of more than $220 million and the creation of more than 2,300 jobs 
in redevelopment  projects. 

   In contract, on the federal level, under the current Superfund law we have 
the worst of all possible worlds: Burdensome cleanup rules and 
considerable duplication between the federal and state government 
serve to waste money, delay cleanup projects and deny accountability 
to the public. 

   Superfund is only one example of a federal environmental policy 
that is counterproductive, costly, and cumbersome to the states. I wish 
I had time to discuss all my concerns with management of the EPA, but 
let me just briefly highlight a few. 

   First, the Clinton administration has proposed stricter clean air 
standards that threaten to put virtually every major metropolitan area 
in Michigan and America into noncompliance. The result would be 
severe restrictions on economic growth in those areas, especially 
the very same inner cities that desperately need growth and new jobs. 

   Second, the EPA has launched an all-out assault on states that have 
enacted environmental audit laws that encourage companies to 
perform such audits and promptly report and correct violations. In fact, 
the EPA has punished such states by interfering in the state delegation 
of federal programs like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and 
other  environmental statutes. 

   Heavyhanded, autocratic, and unelected bureaucrats at the EPA 
are telling the states that we are guilty until proven innocent. Even 
worse, we most likely face similar punishments for implementing 
emissions trading programs and wetlands mitigation banks. To 
the EPA, no good deed by the states goes unpunished. 

   Third, bowing to pressure from environmental extremists, 
the EPA recently took unprecedented steps to stall a solution 
mining project in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, delaying the project 
for at least 18 months and costing at least 100 jobs. 

   The reversal of EPA policy came as a shock to the mining 
compacy, the workers and state officials, for the EPA had been 
working closely with them for two years and had previously 
approved the project. 

   The irony is that an idle copper mine threatens nearby 
Lake Superior. An active solution mine would permanently 
protect the lake. The end result of the EPA's meddling? Jobs 
lost and a Great Lake threatened. 

   Fourth, a recently leaked memo from the EPA reveals a secret 
Clinton plan to raise the federal gas tax by 50 cents,  increase CAFE 
standards and tighten auto emission restrictions -- all without the approval 
of Congress. I would call this secret plan a disaster for Michigan -- 
the nation's number one auto-producing state! 

   Using an obscure section of legislation enacted in the early 1960's, 
the author of this memo claims the president has the authority to
administratively 
enact such measures based on national security concerns. That tells me 
we need more CEI  fellows standing careful watch over an administration 
that accepts environmental extremism as gospel and rejects common 
sense cost-benefit analysis as heresy. 

   That's why they punished the president for his 1.7 million acre land 
grab in Utah by defeating that state's only Democratic Congressman, 
Bill Orton. That's why they re-elected a Republican Congress for the 
first time in 70 years. That's why states from Maine to Montana 
rejected extremist ballot measures. 

   In Michigan, for example, by a two to one margin, voters rejected a 
measure sponsored by animal rights activists that would have virtually 
eliminated bear hunting. 

   In our democracy, that is our saving grace -- the vote of the people. 
And that is the best reflection of Warren Brookes'  legacy -- a voting 
public that is better informed on issues from the environment to the economy. 

   The voters don't make the right choice every time, but with the wise
 balance of power devised by our founding fathers, I   believe that 
America is back on track to developing an environmental policy 
based on sound science, relative risk, and free market principles. 

   We won't get there overnight, but we will get there. That's our 
promise to Warren Brookes and his legacy to us. 

   Thank you very much. 



                About CEI | Public Policy
.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alex J. Sagady & Associates        Email:  asagady@sojourn.com
Environmental Consulting and Database Systems
PO Box 39  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039  
(517) 332-6971 (voice); (517) 332-8987 (fax)



==============================================================
ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"
==============================================================