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E-M:/ mec proposes water protection plan

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


For Immediate Release	Contact:  Dave Dempsey, 517-487-9539
Friday, December 11, 1998			


	The Michigan Environmental Council today proposed a plan to spend the $90
million in additional clean water funding that was approved by voters as
part of Proposal C in November.
	The MEC plan would help clean up Lake St. Clair by targeting stormwater
runoff and illicit pollution discharges, implement a plan to protect Lake
Superior, pay for the closure of up to 50,000 improperly abandoned wells,
and make the first significant state investment in protection of the
state's 11,000 inland lakes.
	MEC will present the plan at a meeting Monday in Lansing sponsored by the
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.  Representatives of
environmental, local government, business, and other organizations have
been invited to suggest ways of spending the Clean Water Fund.
	The money was added to the bond proposal at the insistence of MEC and
other environmental groups over the opposition of the Engler
Administration.  The Administration agreed to the $90 million on the
condition that none of the money be spent to correct combined sewer
overflows.  The Legislature will ultimately appropriate the $90 million.
	"This plan protects the waters Michigan citizens care about," said MEC in
a statement.  "It closes the gaps created by lack of investment in Lake St.
Clair, Lake Superior, and our inland lakes in the past.  It will lead to
safer drinking water, better swimming and fishing, and a model for the
world - a toxics freeze for the world's greatest Lake, Lake Superior."
	The MEC plan, developed in partnership with member groups Clean Water
Action, Clinton River Watershed Council, East Michigan Environmental Action
Council, Michigan Chapter of the North American Lake Management Society,
and Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, proposes the following:
 $15 million to fix the state's tattered water quality monitoring program.
 The Auditor General has reported that monitoring deteriorated to the point
where it is impossible to know whether statewide water quality is improving
or deterioriating.
 $5 million for special investigations to find the source of pollution
problems such as high fecal coliform counts that have plagued Lake St.
Clair and other water bodies.
 $25 million for development and implementation of stormwater pollution
prevention plans by local units of government.
 $5 million to replace failing septic tanks, which have contributed to
Lake St. Clair's woes.
 $20 million to protect Michigan's inland lakes through biological
controls, eutrophication abatement, land management (such as planning and
zoning, shoreland management, buffer/filter strips, and other types of
watershed management), and in-lake controls.
 $10 million in matching funds to plug improperly abandoned wells, which
can serve as a direct conduit of contaminants to groundwater.  Highest
priority would be given to plugging those in municipal drinking water
wellhead protection areas.
 $5 million to protect aquatic habitats through pollution prevention
measures addressing road crossings, streambank sedimentation, and other
sources of runoff that degrade fisheries and valuable aquatic resources.
 $5 million to implement the state's 1991 promise to implement a "toxics
freeze" in Lake Superior, establishing a world model of how to control and
reduce toxic pollution.  The money would be made available to expanding
businesses or growing municipalities to implement clean processes or switch
from toxic to nontoxic materials, reducing the dumping of toxic chemicals
to the world's greatest lake.  The money would also support voluntary
pollution prevention projects.

Dave Dempsey
Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
http: www.mienv.org

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