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E-M:/ Senator Abraham votes for toxic waste rider

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 17:49:49 +0600
To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
From: alison.horton@sfsierra.sierraclub.org (by way of "Alison Horton,
Sierra Club-Michigan" <sierrami@voyager.net>)
Subject: Senator Abraham votes for toxic waste rider
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The below is a press release from the Sierra Club's Washington D.C. office
regarding Senator Abraham's vote on one of the many anti-environmental
riders currently attached to federal appropriations bills.  

     July 28, 1999                                         Allen Mattison,

     Allows Mines to Dump Unlimited Waste Across Public Lands
     WASHINGTON -- Last night Senator Spencer Abraham (R-MI) voted to help
     mining companies dump unlimited mountains of toxic waste on America's 
     public lands.  In a vote on funding for the Interior Department, Sen. 
     Abraham gave mining companies the go-ahead to dump toxic chemicals
     such as cyanide across an unlimited number of acres, ruining clean 
     drinking water for communities and habitat for wildlife.
     "America's families rely on our wildlands for clean drinking water and 
     treasure them as animal habitat -- unfortunately, Sen. Abraham
     doesn't show the same respect for America's public lands," said 
     Kathryn Hohmann, Director of Sierra Club's Environmental Quality 
     Program.  "Sen. Abraham is out of touch with Michiganians if he thinks
     they want to see America's grizzly bear and salmon habitats destroyed 
     and our streams and land laced with toxic waste." 
     In his vote last night, Sen. Abraham voted to uphold an
     anti-environmental "rider" slipped into the Interior Department 
     spending bill by Senator Larry Craig (R-ID).  That rider would allow 
     mining operations to dump their toxic tailings and other waste across 
     unlimited areas of public lands, in violation of current law, which 
     limits the size of waste dumps to 5 acres apiece.  The mining industry 
     produces more waste each year than all other industries and 
     municipalities combined.  This isn't just rock piles, but mountains of 
     tailings that contain chemicals such as cyanide and heavy metals such 
     as arsenic.  As water washes through these waste dumps, toxic 
     chemicals leach into the groundwater and streams.
     Last night, Sen. Abraham voted to kill an amendment sponsored by Sen.
     Patty Murray (D-WA).  Her amendment would strike Sen. Craig's mining 
     rider and uphold the current 5-acre limit on the size of mining waste 
     dumps.  The amendment was killed on a 55 to 41 vote.
     "In the past 30 years, our nation has made strides to clean up our 
     air, water and land.  It's deplorable that instead of building on our 
     environmental gains, Sen. Abraham has chosen to help the mining
     industry destroy the landscape, poison our drinking water and dump 
     toxic waste in prime animal habitat," Hohmann said.  "Michiganians want
     fair, open government, not a Congress where special interests get 
     riders slipped into bills to allow them to pollute to their hearts' 
     delight.  Michiganians believe in treating our land and water
     responsibly -- they don't want mining companies to lace it with 
     cyanide and arsenic."
     Riders -- important policy changes that are tacked onto must-pass 
     spending bills -- are a favorite way for Members of Congress to harm 
     the environment without being held accountable by casting an official 
     vote.  Because they allow Members of Congress to avoid accountability 
     for their actions, riders don't just damage the environment, they 
     subvert the democratic process. 
     # # #

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Alison Horton
Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
Lansing, Michigan
(517) 484-2372 (voice) * (517) 484-3108 (fax)
sierrami@voyager.net *  http://www.sierraclub.org/chapter/mi/

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