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E-M:/ Pandering for the Environment

Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org

It looks like the Governor's folks are keeping up their lists of constituents
who write to urge him to do right by the environment.  Regardless of whether
the Gov ever listens to what it is these folks say in their letters to him,
you can bet they are on the list to receive the "see what Gov. Engler is doing
for you in the environment" letters, particularly at the beginning of the
election season. A February 9 letter extolls the virtues of the proposed bond
issue.  The letter goes beyond what the bond issue would do and moves into
the standard spiel about how downright wonderful this Gov. has been for
Michigan's environment:  

"Michigan's air and water are cleaner now than when monitoring first began."
Too bad the Gov has been so bent on cutting support for enforcement and
monitoring that could assure that those trends, the result of laws and efforts
during the 20 years prior to tenure, would continue.

"We've seen the successful return of bald eagle and wolf populations, ..."
Under the Gov's leadership the state ESA list is now 6 years out of date (a
proposed new list may have hearings in April), and funding for identification
and protection of T&E species has been hanging on by its fingernails, having
been zeroed out by the Gov in 1991.  The only bright spots have been the
determination of some in the DNR to turn this process around, but their
success depends on not having their feet cut out from under them every single

"...reduced toxins in fish,..." Maybe he meant to say about toxins in fish
that the state has reduced the ability of Michigan citizens to know about
toxins in fish.

"...and increased acreages of forests and wetlands."  The increased forest
land is the result primarily of old farm fields that have been untilled
beginning to turn back into woods -- while the state forest system has been
driven into the ground by insufficient funding, lack of attention to resources
other than those that can be cut, shot or sold, and the Jobs Commission has
taken a show on the road to encourage other timber industries to move to
Michigan to take advantage of our "unused trees."  With regard to wetlands,
because of the Gov's acquiesence on the Nordhouse Dunes litigation, Russ
Harding now admits that the state may need to turn back the wetlands
protection program we so proudly gained authority over as a result of the
unbelievably bad court scene regarding takings laws.

As has been stated before, the bond issue, despite being late and weak, is a
fine idea.  My question is how long can an announced candidate for Governor
use state funds to sell this kind of distortions to the public about what a
fine fellow he is on the environment?

Anne Woiwode

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