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E-M:/ Appoinments to the EPA - Harding

Enviro-Mich message from James Clift <jamesmec@voyager.net>

Below is a letter that was sent by twelve Michigan environmental groups
to President-Elect George W. Bush urging him not to appoint Russ Harding
to any key policy position within the EPA.

December 20, 2000

President Ė Elect George W. Bush
Bush-Cheney Presidential Transition Team
1616 Anderson Rd.
McLean, VA 22102

Re: Appointments to the EPA

Dear Governor Bush,

         A report by the Associated Press last weekend indicated that
you are considering the appointment of Russell Harding, the director of
Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality, to a key policy position
within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This appointment would
be a serious mistake. It would signal an anti-environmental extremism
that is bound to damage your Administration's success in administering
the nationís public health and environmental programs.

         The organizations signing below have attempted unsuccessfully
to work with Mr. Harding in his current job. Regrettably, Mr. Harding
has chosen not to acknowledge the will of the vast majority of the
Michigan public that existing environmental laws be fairly and
consistently enforced in order to protect the air, water, and public
health.  Instead, Mr. Harding has intervened in dozens of cases to
benefit industrial polluters at the expense of affected communities. At
his direction, Michigan has launched 10 lawsuits against the EPA itself,
challenging health-based air quality standards designed to protect the
health of children and the elderly.

Recently, a dozen Michigan organizations compiled a report, "Dereliction
of Duty," which details cases in which Mr. Harding acted on behalf of
polluters and in defiance of the public interest. A copy of the report
is enclosed.  We urge you and your staff to consider it carefully.

         Mr. Harding has a reputation of being far from the mainstream
of environmental policy. He has consistently shut the public out of the
decision-making process and demonstrated a complete inability to craft
compromise solutions that address the concerns of the regulated
community and protection of the environment.  He seeks to return the
state to an era of "voluntary environmental protection." That was the
situation in place before 1970, one in which skies were choked with soot
and smog and rivers caught fire.  He will no doubt attempt to do the
same if he is selected to a policy position within the U.S. EPA.

The undersigned organizations believe that an appointment of Russell
Harding will set in motion a disastrous backsliding of environmental
protections from which our nation has so greatly benefited.  For the
sake of the nationís environment and public health, we urge you to
remove Mr. Harding from your list of potential candidates.  If his name
is submitted for a post at the EPA, the Michigan environmental community
will undertake an extensive national education effort regarding his
tenure in Michigan.

Thank you for your consideration of our views.


Alison Horton                              Lana Pollack
Sierra Club, Mackinac Chapter   Michigan Environmental Council
109 E. Grand River                     119 Pere Marquette, Ste. 2A
Lansing, MI  48906                     Lansing, MI 48912

Hans Voss                                  Terry Miller
Michigan Land Use Institute        Lone Tree Council
P.O. Box 228                             4649 David Court.
Benzonia, MI 49616                   Bay City, MI 48706

Don Inman and Virginia Pierce    Kathy Aterno
Natural Resource Stewards        Clean Water Action
248 Hawthorne ranch Road        35482 Groesbeck
Prudenville, MI 48651                Clinton Township, MI 48035

Libby Harris                                Jane Mackey
East Michigan Environmental       Friends of the Detroit River
Action Council                            P.O. Box 399
21220 W. 14 Mile Rd.                Melvindale, MI  48122
Bloomfield Hills, MI  48301

John Witucki                                Kim Winchell
Citizens for Alternatives to            Michigan Interfaith Coalition
Chemical Contamination               Creation
904 E. Florence                           10514 Webster Rd
Bay City, MI 48707                     Freeland, MI  48623.

Lisa Wosniak                               Mike Garfield
League of Conservation                Ecology Center
Voters Education                          117 N. Division
Fund, Great Lakes Office              Ann Arbor, MI 48104
208 1/2 South Fourth Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Submitted by:

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

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