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E-M:/ Groups Call on Engler to Craft a Workable Smog Reduction Plan

Enviro-Mich message from David Wright <wrightd@voyager.net>

Public health and environmental advocates to Governor John Engler:

"Put the health of Michigan families before coal and utility interests."

Groups call on Engler to end legal and political maneuvering and craft a
workable smog reduction plan for Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE  RELEASE -- February 15, 1999

LANSING, MI--In a letter released today, a broad-based coalition of
Michigan health and environmental advocates are calling on Governor Engler
to stop his shortsighted protection of the utility industry.  The groups
contend that by crafting an incomplete state ozone smog transport rule and
by bringing a lawsuit to block EPA efforts to reduce ozone smog and it's
transport, Governor John Engler and Russ Harding, Director of the
Department of Environmental Quality, are ignoring the health and well-being
of their own state's citizens.  Transport is not only an issue for
northeast states, as they contend, but every west Michigan citizen knows
that pollution from Chicago, Gary and Milwaukee blows across the lake and
into their lives, every day.  In response, 19 state conservation,
environmental, public health, and public interest organizations have signed
onto the letter, telling Governor Engler  "The time has come for
leadership, not lawsuits." (See attached letter)

Governor Engler and Director Harding would like Michiganís citizens to
believe that the new ozone smog transport rule unfairly assesses Michigan's
contribution to ozone smog transport, and that it will only benefit states
in the northeast.  In fact, Michigan has a lot of clean air to gain from
this rule.  Instead of writing a rule that will address Michigan's share of
ozone smog transport, the Governor and Director Harding are only offering
to reduce Michigan's pollution by about half the amount required.  In
addition, Michigan is suing EPA to block this new rule, which would allow
downwind states to keep polluting western Michigan.  In Michigan, it
appears that coal and utility interests come first.

While Governor Engler would have us believe Michigan's air quality is
improving, in fact smog pollution is getting worse.  According to David
Wright, Policy Specialist with the Michigan Environmental Council,
"Michigan's air is getting dirtier, not cleaner as claimed by the Governor.
During the summer of 1998, Michigan exceeded the smog air quality standard
on at least 123 occasions, compared to 91 times the previous summer -- a
35% increase in dirty air."

The new smog transport rule includes flexibility and provides Michigan with
options to address our share of smog transport, while ensuring reductions
in the amount of pollution entering Michigan.  "If our Governor and DEQ
director were interested in using their leadership to help Michigan, they
could be crafting a workable rule reducing smog.  Instead, they file
lawsuits," stated Brian Imus, Campaign Director, PIRGIM.  "I am eagerly
waiting for the day when they provide us with the leadership our state
deserves and stop all the lawsuits."

"Almost 10 percent of Michigan's population has respiratory illnesses that
may be further aggravated by air pollution," according to Elliot Levinsohn
of the American Lung Association of Michigan.  "These individuals deserve
to be protected from harmful pollutants that can cause suffering and, in
extreme cases, death.  We call on the Governor to put these families first
when developing an air quality rule, instead of the coal and utility

Contact:	David Wright, Michigan Environmental Council 734 665-3123


February 15, 1999

Governor John Engler
George W. Romney Building
111 South Capitol Avenue
Lansing, Michigan 48933

Dear Governor Engler,

	Michigan's air quality is deteriorating instead of improving.  In 1998,
Michigan exceeded federal ozone smog safeguards on 123 occasions compared
with 91 exceedances in 1997.  This is a 35% increase in dirty air in one
year.   Much of this pollution, and these exceedances themselves, can be
attributed to air pollution being transported into Michigan from downwind
states like Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.  

	Nearly one million Michigan residents have a respiratory illness that is
exacerbated by air pollution.  These individuals deserve to breathe air
that is free of ozone smog and other harmful pollutants that cause
suffering and, in extreme cases, death.  The Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) set this new smog standard in order to address these important
health concerns.  

	Based on information from the Michigan Air Quality Division, most of
western Michigan, from the Indiana border up to the Leelanau peninsula,
will be out of compliance with the new ozone smog standard.  The new EPA
rule on ozone smog transport was developed to address regional transport of
air pollution.  If your administration implements this rule, it will result
in significant reductions in transported air pollution into Michigan from
our downwind neighbors and significant improvements in public health.  

	However, ignoring public health concerns, your administration immediately
filed a lawsuit attempting to block the EPA from enforcing this new rule.
In addition, you are ignoring the requirements of the new EPA rule as you
develop Michigan's new public health safeguards.  These actions will not
produce the air pollution reductions needed to protect Michigan's
environment and public health.  The undersigned organizations are
interested in working with you and your administration to craft a
reasonable rule that meets Michigan's environmental and public health needs.

	We believe that with leadership, Michigan can develop a plan that meets
the EPA requirements.  The undersigned organizations are calling on you:

to stop filing lawsuits to block important environmental and public health
regulations; and,
to immediately provide the necessary leadership to craft an ozone smog
transport plan that meets EPA requirements and reduces pollution transport
into Michigan.

	The time has come for leadership, not lawsuits.

Elliot Levinsohn
Air Quality Specialist
American Lung Association of Michigan

Kathryn Savoie, Ph.D
Environmental Program Director
Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)

John Witucki
Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination

Elizabeth Harris
Executive Director
East Michigan Environmental Action Council

Charles Griffith
Ecology Center of Ann Arbor

Joel Hoffman
Environmental Action at University of Michigan

John Hummer
Friends of the Jordan River Watershed

Bill Townsend
Friends of Reeds and Fisk Lakes Watershed

Lisa Wozniak 
Great Lakes Regional Director
League of Conservation Voters Education Fund

Flora J. McRae, President
Terry Gill, Natural Resources Director
League of Women Voters of Michigan

Michael Boyce
Environmental Action Committee Chairperson
Baker Sanctuary Resident Manager
Michigan Audubon Society

Dave Dempsey
Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council

Virginia Pierce
Michigan Resource Stewards

Vicki Levengood
National Environmental Trust / Michigan

Robert E. Marshall
Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council

Brian Imus
Campaign Director

Nancy Krupiarz
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
Michigan Field Office

Alison Horton
Sierra Club, Mackinac Chapter

Tom Leonard
Executive Director
West Michigan Environmental Action Council
David Wright
Policy Specialist
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, Michigan 48912
(517) 487-9539 phone  (517) 487-9541 fax

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