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E-M:/ Senator Questions State Committment to Air Quality

Enviro-Mich message from "Conan Smith" <conanmec@voyager.net>


(LANSING) - State Senator Alma Wheeler Smith (D-Salem Twp.) today questioned
whether the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is truly committed to
the clean air policies that serve the best interests of Michigan residents.

The DEQ is considering appealing a recent court decision that upholds a
federal regulation which requires 19 states, including Michigan, to reduce
nitrogen oxide emissions within the next three years.  The intent of the
regulation is to reduce smog-related illnesses, including bronchitis and
childhood asthma.  The DEQ says that the level of reduction required by the
federal guidelines is too high.

“Just three weeks ago, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
(DEQ) asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish standards
for Mercury emissions because it's more than a Michigan problem.  This week,
they are protesting the EPA national standards for nitrogen oxide emissions
because it's not so much a Michigan problem,” said Smith.  “This
schizophrenic approach to policy suggests that the DEQ uses the EPA as a
foil to cause delay in the state taking regulatory action to reduce Michigan
citizens exposure to pollution that compromises our health,” Smith added.

Smith recently called for the state to regulate mercury emissions from power
plants but was rejected by the Engler administration, even after the DEQ
director admitted that the current mercury emission levels could harm

“We can have policies in Michigan that contribute to a strong economy and a
sustainable, healthy environment,” said Smith.  “Policies that promote clean
air will improve the quality of life and make Michigan and its communities
more attractive and more profitable.  I call on the administration to clean
up their act and clean up our state,” Smith concluded.


Conan Smith
Land Programs Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI  48912
p. (517) 487-9539
f. (517) 487-9541
"I ain't no Senator's son . . ."  (well, uh . . .)

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