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E-M:/ state of the state, state of reality



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Enviro-Mich message from Dave Dempsey <davemec@voyager.net>
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In his State of the State message last night, Governor Engler said:

"Michigan's air, land and water are cleaner today than at any time since
record-keeping began more than a generation ago."

It is true that thanks to laws passed in the 1970s and 1980s, and the
commitment of many dedicated citizens and DNR/DEQ employees, Michigan's
environment is much cleaner than it was in the 1960s.  But the Governor
cannot support his claim.  Here are facts and figures about Michigan's
environment, all drawn from DEQ and EPA sources:

*  Michigan generates the fourth highest amount of hazardous waste among
the states, more than 13 million tons in 1995.

*  Total production-related toxic waste generated by Michigan industry rose
from 724,817,636 pounds in 1995 to 800,127,407 pounds in 1996, a 10.3%
increase in waste.  The U.S. EPA projeced that by the end of 1998, this
total would grow to 1,160,698,742 pounds, a three-year jump of 61% in toxic
waste generated.

*  Michigan now imports from other states and Canada over 12% of the
garbage buried in Michigan landfills, more than 3.5 billion pounds in 1995.
 Toronto has now added to the total with another 30 truckloads of garbage a
day. 

*  In the summer of 1998, Michigan exceeded the new federal Clean Air Act
smog standard on 123 occasions, compared with only 91 in 1997.

*  Nationwide, urban sites showed a 9% reduction in ozone pollution,
whereas suburban sites showed a 6% decline and rural sites only a 4%
decrease between 1986 and 1995.  But in Michigan, urban and suburban sites
showed 11% and 7% increases, respectively.  Rural sites showed a 30% increase.

*  Due to public health fish consumption advisories, none of Michigan's
3,250 Great Lakes shore miles meet designated uses.

*  No significant increases or decreases in average fish contaminant
concentrations have been noted by DEQ since 1990.

*  Because of the statewide public health fish consumption advisory for
mercury, none of Michigan's 11,000 inland lakes fully support all
designated uses. 

*  Approximately 20% of the inland lake acres monitored in Michigan (97,000
acres) do not support designated uses such as swimming and fish for human
consumption, or have nuisance conditions.  

*  There are 43,820 acres of inland lakes in Michigan that have levels of
bioaccumulative toxic substances in fish high enough to warrant
site-specific fish consumption advisories.

*  The number of lake acres that are too polluted, or "in nonattainment of
designated uses" because of elevated mercury, chlordane, and other organic
compounds has risen from 25,036 acres in 1996 to 43,820 in 1998.  DEQ
attributes this to increased monitoring efforts.

*  Of Michigan rivers monitored in 1997, 566 of 2,695 miles (21%) were too
polluted to support designated uses.  This means they were not suitable for
swimming or fishing in most cases.  For the last five years, the total not
supporting designated uses is 1,704 river miles of 20,575 monitored (8.2%).



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

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