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E-M:/ Beach Report Release

Enviro-Mich message from Brad Wilson <metrodetroit@cleanwater.org>

	Thursday, August 3rd, 2000

	Brad Wilson, Clean Water Action 					(810) 792-8375 
	Robin Spencer, Public Interest Research Group in Michigan 		(734) 662-6597
	Tanya Cabala, Lake Michigan Federation 				(231) 722-5116
	William J. Callahan, State Representative 				(810) 779-3226



Memorial Beach, St. Clair Shores, MI - Even with conditions that reduce the amount of sewage flowing into Michigan beaches, kids were not allowed to swim at the state's beaches for 147 days last year.  Testing the Waters 2000: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches shows that in 1999 there were 147 days of beach closings across Michigan.  To highlight the need for better protections and pollution prevention in Michigan, Clean Water Action (CWA), Public Interest Research Group in Michigan (PIRGIM), and Lake Michigan Federation (LMF) joined today in releasing the Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) tenth annual vacation beach quality guide.

Currently, Michigan does not have health standards which require closing beaches and no mandatory testing or public notification requirements.  This fact leaves families to wonder whether the beaches in Michigan are being monitored and if they will be notified if contamination is found in time to protect their kids.  CWA, PIRGIM, LMF and NRDC support the passage of beach legislation that will ensure national and state consistent and protective health standards for beach water in conjunction and comprehensive monitoring and public notification programs.

In addition, Michigan Governor John Engler has done very little to promote the cleanup of polluted waterbodies and to prevent contaminants from reaching our lakes and rivers.  With Michigan's large number of beaching closings and advisories, it's time the Engler Administration took action to prevent and clean up water pollution.

"We need strong regulations and vigorous enforcement to keep raw sewage out of our lakes and rivers," said Brad Wilson, Michigan Program Director of Clean Water Action.   "Anyone that tells us our only choice is dumping raw sewage into our basements or our beaches doesn't have the taxpayer's nor the environment's best interest in mind.  To eliminate beach closures we need to invest in programs that prevent pollution from flowing into our beaches, not just to monitor them.  We already know there is a problem.  It's far cheaper to do that than it is to clean up pollution later," continued Wilson.

"While it is a good start that the EPA and Michigan are reporting beach pollution, it is still not always safe to go for a swim," said Robin Spencer, Campaign Coordinator for PIRGIM.  "Our ultimate goal is to ensure that we can enjoy clean beaches.  Until it happens, PIRGIM will continue working to prevent beach pollution," Spencer continued.
"The water we allow to go into our lakes and streams needs to be cleaner than the receiving waters, or we are losing ground," said State Representative, William J. Callahan, a resident of St. Clair Shores.
"People aren't able to enjoy their day at the beach because bacteria contamination is emerging as an enormous lakewide problem " said Tanya Cabala, of the Lake Michigan Federation.

NRDC's annual beach report alerts vacationers about water quality problems.  The prospect of declining tourism, in turn, creates incentive for states and local beaches to adopt better practices.  NRDC notes that effective monitoring and public notification problems at the nation's beaches are an important first step in stemming beach water pollution.
"The good news is we're seeing a more comprehensive picture of beach water quality than ever before," said Sarah Chasis, an NRDC senior attorney and project director of the beach report.  "In 1999, conversely, most of our coastal areas suffered from drought, so there were somewhat fewer closings and advisories.  But there's no reason to celebrate.  There were still more than 6,000 closings and advisories in 1999, and the 10-year trend is steady-the number is going up."

-Clean Water Action, founded 28 years ago, is a national citizens' organization working for clean and safe water, prevention of health-threatening pollution, creation of environmentally safe jobs and businesses, and empowerment of people to make democracy work.  Clean Water Action and its nearly 100,000 members in Michigan organize strong grassroots groups, coalitions, and campaigns to protect our environment, health, economic well-being and community quality of life.  More information on CWA is available through its website at 

-PIRGIM is one of the state's leading environmental and consumer watchdog groups with 10,000 members across Michigan.  More information on PIRGIM is available at 

- the Lake Michigan Federation, founded in 1970 with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois and an office in Muskegon, Michigan, works to protect fish and wildlife habitat, reduce toxic pollution, and conserve land and water resources.

-The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organizations of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment.  Founded in 1970, NRDC had more than 400,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco.  More information on NRDC is available through its website at: 

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Brad Wilson
Michigan Program Director
Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund
35482 Groesbeck
Clinton Township, MI 48035

(Voice) (810) 792-8375
(Fax)    (810) 792-8043
Email: metrodetroit@cleanwater.org
http://www.cleanwateraction.org          http://www.cleanwaterfund.org

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