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E-M:/ Michigan 305b list released by EPA - "See No Evil, Speak No Evil"



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Enviro-Mich message from "Jeff Surfus" <jeffsurfus@msn.com>
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EPA Report Shows Michigan Lagging
"See-No-Evil" approach to water monitoring endangers citizens

June 28, 2000 - Michigan is woefully lagging in monitoring the state's water
bodies, according to a report released to Congress and the public today by
the U.S. EPA.  According to the report, only 40% of the state's rivers and
55% of the state's lakes have been monitored for contaminants, and much of
the data are outdated.

Clean Water Action and the Michigan Environmental Council said the report
illustrates the state's "see-no-evil" approach to environmental problems.

The biennial report, required by the Clean Water Act, shows the following:

 -- Michigan's data are outdated, incomplete or misleading. For example, the
data does not reflect the fact that all lakes in Michigan are under a
statewide fish consumption advisory due to air deposition of mercury,
primarily due to power plant and incinerator emissions.  Further, the report
states that only 107 miles of rivers have been impacted by urban runoff and
storm sewers, an incredibly low number given the massive problems associated
with Combined Sewer Overflows and nonpoint runoff due to urban sprawl.  In
addition, much of the assessment data is from as far back as 1988.

 --Even with the limited data, some of the numbers do indicate a significant
contamination problem that DEQ is in no hurry to address.  For example,
according to the report, priority organic chemicals contaminate 686 miles,
pathogens contaminate 418 miles, and metals contaminate 358 miles of
Michigan rivers.  For lakes, the top contaminants are metals, which
contaminate 42,067 acres; priority organic chemicals, which contaminate
31,482 acres; and pesticides, which contaminate 23,635 acres.  These numbers
represent significant increases in contamination over the previous reporting
period.

"This is another attempt by the Department of Environmental Quality, through
a required EPA report, to downplay the tremendous water quality problems
here in Michigan," says Jeff Surfus, project coordinator at Clean Water
Action.  "The people of this state continue to endure beach closings, fish
consumption advisories, and unregulated pollution from factory farms and
nonpoint sources.  Yet the DEQ paints a rosy picture based on incomplete
data."

"Cleaning up Michigan's waters means controlling mercury from coal-fired
power plants, protecting rivers from animal waste runoff, and requiring
industrial pollution prevention for toxic chemicals," says Dave Dempsey,
policy advisor to MEC.  "Instead, the Engler Administration has just worked
with the Legislature to enact laws that give power plants a break and take
away local control over factory farms.  The report is a greenwash."

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Note: Today the United States Environmental Protection Agency is releasing
its biennial report - the National Water Quality Inventory. All 50 states
collect and submit data to EPA on the quality of their waters, highlighting
the percentage of waters in each state that meet water quality standards.
For a copy of the report, which includes individual state summaries, go to:
http://www.epa.gov/305b.
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Jeff Surfus
Project Coordinator
Clean Water Action/Clean Water Fund





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