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E-M:/ State Chooses to Protect Polluters not Public Health



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Enviro-Mich message from James Clift <jamesmec@voyager.net>
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July 12, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

James Clift, (517) 487-9539


State Should Reconsider its Decision to Protect Polluters Instead of
Public Health


The Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) calls on Governor John Engler
and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Director, Russ
Harding to reconsider their decision to continue to use taxpayer dollars
to protect polluting industries in Michigan.  The state announced
yesterday that it would appeal a federal Circuit Court decision that
upheld the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program designed to
improve air quality in Michigan.

“The main beneficiary of this lawsuit is utility plants that still rely
on obsolete pollution control equipment for their facilities,” said
James Clift, Policy Director at MEC.    “These plants are the number one
emitters of toxic chemicals in Michigan.”  The program being challenged
protects Michigan residents with asthma and other respiratory diseases
that are aggravated by ground level ozone and smog.

According to the MDEQ’s own data, Michigan experienced over 30 days last
summer when our air was deemed unhealthy to breathe.  In 1997, unhealthy
smog days were estimated to cause over 100,000 asthma attacks, and sent
over 900 people to the hospital with respiratory illness related
problems. (Abt Associates).

The EPA program being challenged calls for a reduction in the emission
of nitrogen oxides (NOx) that lead to the formation of ozone and smog.
In 1997, utility plants in Michigan emitted 178,799 tons of NOx.  New
coal plants using modern pollution control equipment would emit 124,049
tons less NOx than Michigan’s facilities to generate the same amount of
electricity.

“It is time that the state stop wasting taxpayer money shilling for
these polluters, and focus its attention on protecting Michigan’s
residents with asthma and respiratory problems”, said James Clift.


Prepared by:

James Clift, Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste. 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
www.MECprotects.org
(517) 487-9539






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