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E-M:/ national pollution prevention week

Enviro-Mich message from Dave Dempsey <davemec@voyager.net>

Friday, September 18, 1998		517-487-9539


	While Governor Engler has declared Sept. 21-27 Pollution Prevention Week,
the U.S. EPA estimates that toxic waste generated in Michigan is still
climbing sharply.  EPA estimated earlier this year that total
production-related toxic waste generated in Michigan will hit a record high
of 1.1 billion pounds this year, a 61% jump from 1995 levels.

	To help reverse this trend, lawmakers and the Michigan Environmental
Council today urged voters to support $20 million in pollution prevention
funding they fought to have included in Proposal C, the environmental bond
proposal on the November ballot.  Despite the Governor's declaration of
Pollution Prevention Week, his Administration opposed all funding for
pollution prevention in Proposal C until its position was overcome by House
and Senate members and the environmentalists.

	Pollution prevention reduces or eliminates waste at the source of
generation, rather than controlling it at the end of a pipe or smokestack,
through such changes as use of non-toxic materials and increased efficiency
in industrial processes.  It will become increasingly critical to a clean
Michigan;  the U.S. EPA estimates that toxic waste generated in Michigan
will jump from 724,817,636 pounds in 1995 to 1,160,698,742 pounds in 1998.

	"It's one thing to talk about pollution prevention," said Lana Pollack,
Michigan Environmental Council President, "and another to do something
about it. We need more than sweet talk to get hard-pressed small businesses
to accept new pollution prevention practices. They need technical and
financial help. That's one reason why we're supporting Proposal C."

	"As proposed by the Engler administration and originally passed by the
Senate, the Clean Michigan Initiative was purely an economic development
proposal," state Senator Alma Wheeler Smith (D-Salem Twp.) said.   "The
Legislature had to fight tooth and nail with the administration to craft a
proposal that deserves the support of the public," Smith continued.

	Smith voted against the original bond legislation but was instrumental in
crafting the pollution prevention component, included in Proposal C, that
is both friendly to business and effective environmental public policy.
Her amendments to one of the bills in the bond package would establish a
low-interest loan program for small businesses to help them implement
pollution prevention measures.

	"I'm pleased Proposal C will contain $20 million for pollution
prevention," said Rep. David Anthony (D-Escanaba), who authored the House
floor amendment that added the money.  "Businesses will benefit and the
environment will benefit if we work to reduce toxic pollution.  We can't
keep funding expensive cleanup programs.  Instead, we have to stop
pollution at the source."

	The $20 million for pollution prevention in Proposal C has been described
by a waste industry newsletter as possibly the biggest pollution prevention
program in the country. The money would:

	*  Establish a $5 million low-interest revolving loan fund for small
businesses to help implement pollution prevention measures. 

	*  Provide $10 million for a state fund that will help small and
medium-sized businesses get pollution prevention audits identifying ways
they can reduce the use or release of toxic materials into the environment.

	*  Provide an additional $5 million for pollution prevention programs to
be determined later.  MEC supports use of some of these funds for a State
Energy Bank which would help school districts, local governments and state
agencies identify energy efficiency opportunities which would reduce
electric demand and resulting air pollution from coal-burning power plants
while lowering utility bills funded by taxpayers in public buildings.

	Sen. Smith's amendments to the environmental bond legislation also require
DEQ to evaluate the effectiveness of toxic material use reporting laws at
the federal level and in other states, and make recommendations by next
July on whether Michigan should implement these to foster pollution

	Pollack also noted that MEC overcame Administration opposition to win
$150,000 in 1999 appropriations for the DEQ to establish a pollution
right-to-know program. The program will enable citizens to determine
environmental pollution conditions in their own communities and work
directly with neighboring businesses to prevent pollution.  In 1997, the
Governor vetoed a similar appropriation.

Dave Dempsey
Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI 48912

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