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E-M:/ Valuable Habitat Hearing in Escanaba, Dec. 6



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Enviro-Mich message from "Dave Dempsey" <davemec@voyager.net>
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All Michigan citizens should be interested in this meeting and issue, which
has the potential to generate tens of millions of dollars to assist in the
restoration of Lake Michigan.

The problem is this:  the pro-polluter Administrations of Tommy Thompson in
Wisconsin and Engler in Michigan are trying to subvert efforts by the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service to force paper polluters to pay for their abuse of
Lake Michigan.

It is fortunate that in Michigan, Attorney General Jennifer Granholm has
joined forces with USFWS in efforts to win the restoration money.

-----Original Message-----
From: cwac@mail.execpc.com [mailto:cwac@mail.execpc.com]
Sent: Friday, December 01, 2000 7:25 AM
To: davemec@voyager.net
Subject: Valuable Habitat Hearing in Escanaba


YOUR presence could be worth more than $300,000,000
for protecting wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat in and near the
Upper Peninsula!

Please attend an important public hearing to be held next week
on a potential $176 to $333 million Compensation Fund to make up for
severe toxic PCB damages to the Fox River, Green Bay and Lake
Michigan:

Webnesday, Dec. 6 --- at the Civic Center, 225 N. 21st Street,
Escanaba, Michigan at 6:00 pm.   The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
will give a 1/2 hour presentation summarizing their 6-year effort on
this project.  They will then open to citizen comments and
questions.

The fund would attempt to compensate for past decades of PCB damages,
for present damages until the cleanup is done, and future damages
from PCBs which are too dispersed to clean up.  This fund is
separate, and in addition to, a comprehensive Fox River PCB sediment
cleanup plan to be proposed early next year.

The fund would be used for wetland habitat acquisition, preservation
and restoration, endangered species, stocking, spawning beds,
pollution prevention, improved recreation opportunities --- in the
areas impacted by Fox River PCBs, including nearshore areas of the
Upper Peninsula.   Some funds may be set aside to leverage matching
funds from private organizations, local governments and other
sources, so we could see even larger sums coming available for
valuable work.

The details of the compensation plan can be viewed online at:
http://www.fws.gov/r3pao/nrda/

BACKGROUND

>From 1954 to the 1980s, seven paper corporations dumped poorly
treated wastewater containing roughly 300,000 kgs of PCBs into the
Fox River, in Northeast Wisconsin.   NCR Corporation and Appleton
Paper Company made carbonless copy paper coated with PCBs on the back
(until 1972), and the other five recycled trimmings and wastepaper
including this carbonless paper for many years up to the present.
The state of Wisconsin documented much of the damage starting in
the 1970s, but the paper industry has dragged its feet for 25 years,
preventing cleanup actions.   As a result, roughly 80% of the PCBs
escaped the Fox River into Green Bay, and today up to 70% of all the
PCBs in Lake Michigan have come from the Fox River.

We expect a sediment cleanup plan will be proposed next year to
capture the PCBs still in the river, but this can't change the fact
that the public has suffered decades of contamination and will
continue to suffer over a wide area.

Major economic damages can be estimated as a result of fish-eating
advisories that impact the sport fishing and commercial fishing
industries, the tourism industry, subsistence fishers, duck hunters,
and others who depend on the waterways for their livelihood.  In
addition, the PCBs volatilize off the large surface area of the
river, bay and lake and become airborne, spreading contamination far
downwind, settling out in cold regions, and re-concentrating PCBs in
the foodchains of artic people and wildlife.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has documented links between PCBs
and tumors on walleye, and deformities and reproductive failure in
fish-eating birds.   Worldwide studies indicate that human
health effects from PCBs include potential learning disabilities and
reproductive abnormalities in children of fish-eating mothers, as
well as immune system damage and increased cancer risk in adults.

Scientists estimate that even with a river cleanup, the contamination
could continue to exceed health standards in the Bay area for 20 to
40 years.  (Without cleanup, it could take much more than 100 years.)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been joined by several
co-trustees --- the Michigan Attorney General, the National Oceanic &
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Oneida and Menominee Tribes of
Wisconsin, and the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians.

Unfortunately, the State of Wisconsin is causing trouble.  Instead
joining the others to create a unified government position --- which
would aide in getting good compensation settlements from the 7
companies, Gov. Thompson and the Wisconsin DNR are undermining this
compensation package by secretly settling separately with the
individual polluters, for relatively small funds.  The paper industry
is so powerful in Wisconsin that state and local governments have
been unwilling to get tough and enforce either a cleanup or
compensation.  It took the federal EPA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service to finally get action, but the state's side deals still hurt
because they increase the likelihood that the co-trustees will have
to go to court to settle the case.   (Wisconsin is endorsing the weak
economic damage estimates of industry consultants, which could also
undercut the federal case.)

Wisconsin argues that the Service's projected $176 to $333 million
is too much, but most citizen and technical commentors feel the
Service's numbers are too conservative, because they're based mostly
on damages to currently active sportfishers on the Fox River and
Green Bay only. (Damages to subsistence fishers, discouraged fishers,
duck hunters, commercial fishers, Lake Michigan users, drinking
water, swimming beaches, harbor/marina dredgers, property values, and
other economic factors were NOT included in the $176 to $333 million
figure.)

It's extremely important for the public to show support for the
stronger federal plan and to push for a much larger compensation
plan.  Please attend and support environmental justice!

If you can't attend, please send your comment letter by Dec. 15th
to:

Mr. David Allen
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
1015 Challenger Ct.
Green Bay, WI  54311





Rebecca Leighton Katers
Clean Water Action Council of N.E. Wisconsin
East Port Center
1270 Main Street, Suite 120
Green Bay, WI 54302
Phone:  920-437-7304
Fax:  920-437-7326
E-mail:  CleanWater@cwac.net
Homepage:  www.cwac.net



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