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Enviro-Mich message from "david zaber" <dzaber@gateway.net>


Dave Poulson's posting on the race between U.S. Representative Debbie
Stabenow and Susan Grimes Munsell in the 8th Congressional district of
Michigan is very important.  Ms. Munsell has been a consistent opponent of
sound environmental protections and like the discredited political hack,
Dick Chrysler ("If you liked the Corvair and the Ford Pinto, you'll love
the Dick Chrysler"), Ms. Munsell would continue to be shill for polluters,
land speculators and other anti-environment groups.  I have included a
short blurb on my personal experience with Ms. Grimes Munsell.

>From the Lansing suburbs to Pittsfield Township, residents living in the
Congressional District share a common concern: rampant growth. It is a
blessing and an issue that drives both candidates.

My experience with Ms. Munsell occurred during a 1995 hearing on Michigan
Republican's effort to pass "takings" legislation in Michigan.  "Takings"
is the shorthand for legislation designed to prevent any new efforts to
protect neighborhoods and the environment.  In essence, it would mandate
that taxpayers pay polluters not to pollute and other entities not to
destroy our natural resources.  For example, if a pornshop operater wanted
to locate their store next to a church or daycare center, and if local
zoning prohibited such actions, the local taxpayers would have to pay the
pornographer not to build their store.  Similarly, if someone wanted to
burn tires next to a senior citizen's center or a school, local taxpayers
would again have to pay the person not to build their facility.  The value
of the facility would be determined by either the courts or local
jurisdictions or by some other means (imagine the confusion and paperwork
alone!) and would be based on how much money the person could have made if
they did build the facility.  

Takings legislation had already been defeated in over thirty states when
the Michigan State Legislature took up a boilerplate bill passed in Arizona
but defeated by citizen's referendum.  (heck, they couldn't even write
their own bill).  Ms. Munsell was a supporter of takings legislation
despite the successful prohibitions on taking of private property by
government found in the U.S. Bill of Rights.

Well, prior to the House hearing on the Takings legislation, a bill to
prohibit MDNR from even studying the effects of low-head hydroelectric dams
on Michigan's globally-important rivers and streams was being debated. 
Readers should know that it was Ms. Grimes Munsell that was promoting the
bill in the committee.  Ms. Munsell had been taken in by the dam operators
and was paying them back for their support. After hearing about this bill
and hearing the blatent lies that were being told to the committee members
by the industry representatives, I had to comment on the deceit and
misrepresentation.  Those of us testifying were able to set the committee
straight on the disasterous effects of dams, even low head dams, on
Michigan's rivers and streams and point out the lies of the highly paid
industry reps.  

Ms. Grimes Munsell was clearly disturbed since she thought the bill would
sail through the committee.  The bill was tabled after testimony by many
good people who saw the problems in keeping an agency (now eviscerated by
Engler) from even doing studies of environmental impacts (what the public
doesn't know, can hurt them).  Thank God that Ms. Grimes Munsell lost her
battle to increase the protection of an environmentally damaging industry. 

Oh, I should point out that Rep. Tom Alley also grilled me on my
qualifications.  He shut his trap after I responded.  Tom Alley is an
environmental disaster and one that proves that democrats can be as bad as
anyone when it comes to environmental policy.  (he is a democrat).  He is
also a rude and pushy know-nothing who has supported some of the worst
anti-environmental policies ever to be presented in Michigan. 

The committee was also plagued by the presence of Rep. Carl Gnodtke (sp?),
a republican from the Berrien county area who rammed through legislation
weakening protections for Michigan's incredible freshwater sand dunes.  You
can see the effects of the destruction as you drive on I-94 in Berrien
County.  Look to the west near Grand Mere and Warren Dunes State Parks and
see the blight of the trashy development that ruins one of Michigan's most
beautiful views.  

David John Zaber

ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at

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