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E-M:/ Update: Public Denied Access to Meeting of State Officials

Enviro-Mich message from James Clift <jamesmec@voyager.net>

Ken Cook, Executive Director of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) of
Washington, D.C. and Lana Pollack, President of the Michigan
Environmental Council, were denied access today to the meeting of state
regulators organized by Russ Harding, the Director of the Department of
Environmental Quality.

Harding planned to pull together a secret meeting with environmental
regulators and utility/industry representatives to talk about how to
weaken the Clean Air Act under a new EPA administration.  Once the press
got wind of the meeting, industry representatives cancelled their
participation and only three states sent representatives.

This disappearing act reminds me of cockroaches.  Once we shined the
light on this secret meeting, they scattered in every direction, stated
Lana Pollack, President of MEC.

MEC submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the department on
April 21, 2000 requesting information including the names of the parties
that participated in planning conference calls and the organizations
they represent.  The environmental groups are concerned that the state
is using public funds to conduct political meetings with an
anti-environmental agenda.

Demonstrators marched in front of the hotel with signs, chanting slogans
such as: "Backroom Deals, It's Not Fair - DEQ, We Want Clean Air!"

The marchers were being watched closely by airport security and MDEQ
Environmental Conservation Officers.  We just wish polluters in this
state were being watched as closely.

Many thanks to those who joined us today.

Prepared by:

James Clift, Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste. 2A
Lansing, MI 48912

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