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E-M:/ weenies

Enviro-Mich message from Citizens Environment Alliance <cea@mnsi.net>

Happy Earth Day!  Here is the Citizens Environment Alliance official list
of weenie nominees for 2001.

1. BASF Corporation, Riverview Michigan
2.  Ken Schmidt, General Manager of the Essex Region Conservation Authority
3.  Mayor and Council of the Town of Essex
4.  The City of Windsor and the County of Essex 
5.  Don Hearn, Windsor Industrialist
6.  Mike Harris, Premier of Ontario
7.  Russ Harding, Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental
8.  Spencer Abraham, U.S. Secretary of Energy 
9.	David Cree, President and CEO of the Windsor Port Authority
10.	  Tom Wilson, Windsor City Councillor
11.	  The Big Three Automakers (GM, Ford, and Chrysler)
12.  Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada

“Although each nominee is a weenie, only one will be receive the not so
coveted weenie award,” said CEA President Shawn Hupka.

Join us at 8pm on Thursday, April 26, 2001 at the Press Club of Windsor, 63
Riverside Drive East, to select the biggest weenie around.


1.	BASF Corporation, Riverview Michigan

BASF-Riverview is a disposal site that has been found to be leaking dioxin,
mercury and PCBs into the Detroit River.  The discharges were well above
state of Michigan safety standards, for example one test found dioxin in
groundwater at the site at a level more than 3000 times above the state
safety standard. The discharges are continuing, however BASF proposes to do
nothing about these discharges for at least another 18 months.

The Riverview site is likely one of the leading sources of mercury and
dioxin contamination of the Detroit River.  These discharges violate the
provision of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement for the virtual
elimination of persistent toxic substances in the Great Lakes Basin.
Furthermore, the Riverview discharges pose substantial risks to the
recovery of the heavily polluted Detroit River Area of Concern as well as
the health of wildlife and humans living in its ecosystem.

2.	Ken Schmidt, General Manager of the Essex Region Conservation Authority

Essex County’s wetlands and woodlots continue to be threatened under
Schmidt’s tutelage.  While ERCA’s staff biologist  was busy updating the
Authority’s web page, local residents helped to identify Marshfield Woods a
provincially significant wetland, and eventually forced an investigation of
a possible breach of the Conservation Authority Act by landowner Don Hearn.
 If Schmidt were actually concerned about his responsibilities, Marshfield
Woods would have been protected years ago when the provincial law governing
significant wetlands was first enacted, well before Hearn bought the
property.  In true weenie fashion, however, ERCA has been casting itself as
the great protector of Marshfield; a revision that denies that they
initially favoured a compromise with the developer.

Sadly, ERCA continues to alienate and dismiss any public role in issues of
environmental stewardship.  Some other lowlights of the past year include:
~ defending their policy of planting non-native trees with public money,
despite vocal public opposition expressed through the Detroit River
Canadian Cleanup Committee;
~ permitting the dumping of contaminated Detroit River sludge in Ojibway
Shores (see #9);

~ spending public funds promoting Heritage River Designation for the
Detroit River, with a new Detroit River Council that promises to exclude
public participation.  Their Heritage River Management Strategy is a
pathetic example of wasted time and resources from an organization that
claims that "oversights" such as Marshfield Woods happen because they are
just too busy.

Schmidt is truly a weenie.

3.	Mayor and Council of the Town of Essex

Joan Flood received more nominations (email or otherwise) than all other
weenies combined.  We’ve decided that she must share the nomination with
her fellow councillors.

Marshfield Woods is the largest privately owned forest in Essex County.
Developer Don Hearn, who purchased almost two thirds of MW in 1998, always
made clear his intentions to build a golf course there. The future of
Marshfield Woods became embroiled by the actions of the municipal
government in Essex. This council, initially refusing to consider any
application to rezone Marshfield without a development design, tried to
assume the role of impartial mediator between the developer (The Hearn
Group) and conservation-minded residents and organizations opposed to the
golf course development. This role was to be played out through the Ontario
Municipal Board (OMB) when the developer first sought rezoning through the
OMB in late 1999. During this time, however, the Hearn Group was already
carving its "championship" golf course while the Town of Essex looked the
other way or insisted that Hearn was actually a farmer, carrying out normal
agricultural activities (eg. carving fairways in  forest).

Then, in June of 2000, the Hearn Group withdrew its appeal from the O.M.B.
after the swampy
Marshfield Woods was identified a provincially significant wetland. It was
expected that once this unique identification was bestowed, the
municipality would follow the provincial guidelines that obligate
municipalities to prohibit development in significant wetlands.

Yet Essex Town Council's pro-development position couldn't be deterred. At
a July 4, 2000 meeting,
council voted unanimously to delay any protective measures for Marshfield
Woods; the Hearn Group
continued cutting trees in this sensitive area.

Shortly after this meeting, Mayor Flood verbally assaulted a representative
from the Ministry of Natural Resources when he tried to explain that the
Town of Essex had an obligation to protect Marshfield Woods.  No one was
going to tell Essex what to do! 
By August, only two months after withdrawing their OMB application, the
Hearn Group made a second re-zoning application. This time, it was filed
with the Town of Essex. Town Council sprang to action. In November 2000,
unmoved by numerous letters, presentations, and an appeal from the Ministry
of Natural Resources requesting no further development in Marshfield Woods,
council voted unanimously to approve the Hearn golf course proposal.

Now that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs has rejected this rezoning,
because it violates provincial policy, Mayor Flood wants to use her Tory
connections to “find middle ground.”  The golf course must be built
because, “what is important to us is keeping the trees,” she told the
Windsor Star recently.  This whole saga would be comical if a rare
Carolinian forest that is also a provincially significant wetland didn’t
hang in the balance.

4.	The City of Windsor and the County of Essex 

In May 2000 the City of Windsor and the County of Essex passed Air Quality
Action Plan; a better title would have been “Air Quality Inaction Plan.”
When the Citizens Environment Alliance issued a highly critical and well
researched report card in October 2000, both the City and the County
ignored its recommendations.  Until the business-as-usual mentality is
overcome, nothing meaningful will be accomplished.  Lowlights include...

~ The County of Essex still gives in-kind and monetary support to the NAFTA
Superhighway Coalition, a coalition that advocates federal, provincial and
private funding for another bridge and the doubling of Highway 401 (ie.
more diesel spewing trucks through Windsor Essex County);
~ The City of Windsor increased the fare for Transit Windsor riders;
~ County Council voted in favor of delaying the adoption of an official
plan in August of 2000; a main issue of contention - protecting
environmentally significant areas.
~ The City of Windsor approved a riverfront plan that includes more asphalt
parking spots and a transient marina in Windsor’s downtown;
~ The City and the County fumbled a federal agreement for air quality
research, losing $20,000 in potential funding for research and public
outreach in our area.

Lastly, rather than address legitimate complaints from St. Luke Road
residents or requests for an air quality study from residents of Woodlawn
Avenue, the City of Windsor chose to spend public money on a study
seemingly designed to prove continuing business-as-usual road paving on
high smog days is good for the environment.  The study was tendered and
conducted without input from the air quality committee even though it
targeted a key provision of the approved air quality action plan.

“We’ve been complaining about dust and garbage (from the Hearn Industrial
Warehouse) for years”, St. Luke Road resident Chris Hagell stated recently.
 “Nobody at the City seems to care.”

City and County residents deserve better representation on air quality issues.

5.	Don Hearn, Windsor Industrialist

Winner of the weenie in 2000 Don Hearn is back as a serious weenie
contender in 2001.  Hearn announced his intentions to build a golf course
on his 194 acres of Marshfield Woods in 1998 to the shock of
environmentalists, conservationists and many area residents. That fall,
after the public demanded Colchester South council defer any decision to
the soon-to-be-elected Essex Town Council, Hearn then appealed to the
Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) for approval.

Since purchasing his portion of Marshfield Woods, Hearn has relentlessly
demonstrated his contempt for the public due process, and Ontario law.  In
the spring of 2000 local residents, using their own funds, commissioned a
study that conclusively identified Marshfield Woods as a provincially
significant wetland.  Although Hearn withdrew his application at the OMB,
he continues to “develop” his legacy, despite the wetland designation that
prohibited such development.  Hearn continues to ignore and violate laws
including the Drainage Act and the Conservation Authorities Act.

This time, Hearn’s 2001 nomination extends to his Windsor warehouse
operation.  The City of Windsor is finally investigating complaints from
local residents living adjacent to the Hearn warehouse at Seminole Street
and Walker Road.  “It’s hell living here,” said local resident Chris Hagell
about the dust, noise and garbage that blows into his garden and pollutes
his street as a result of Hearn’s operations.

Hearn certainly deserves another weenie.

6.	Mike Harris, Premier of Ontario

Walkerton!  need we say more?

7.	Russ Harding, Director, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)

Under the watch of MDEQ head Russ Harding, Michigan has suffered:

~ The near tripling of hazardous waste imports into Michigan since the
early 1990s;
~ A 17% increase in toxic emissions from utilities in Michigan from 1998
to 1999;
~ A 71% failure rate among developers required by law to create new
wetlands to offset wetlands they destroy;
~ A four-fold increase since 1998 in the number of monitored polluted
lake and stream acres designated as too polluted for designated uses;
~ A near doubling of the number of monitored lake acres contaminated by
high levels of mercury since 1998, and
~ Numerous federal court challenges to USEPA standards demanding that
Michigan polluters adhere to tougher federal laws. 

“Russell Harding demonstrated his contempt for the people of Michigan when
he told the Romulus City Council the DEQ was going to license a hazardous
waste injection well before his staff had even reviewed the company’s
application,” stated a resident of Romulus recently.

Harding was recently asked by The News Herald Weekly Newspaper to respond
to such criticisms and he stated, “It's very important to listen to the
public, …<but> We'll actually go to hearings and people will say, "We want
to vote." Well, fine, but this is not a democracy.”

What a weenie!

8.	Spencer Abraham, U.S. Secretary of Energy 

Former United States Senator from Michigan (defeated by Debbie Stabenow
last fall) Spencer Abraham is also a really big weenie. In their 1999
environmental scorecard, which rated U.S. legislators on a scale of zero to
100, the League of Conservation Voters gave Abraham a zero, and for good
reason. In 1999 he opposed efforts to implement the goal of resuming
research on automobile fuel-efficiency standards, he has consistently
opposed clean water programs and supported laws weakening the chemical
industry’s toxic-emission reporting requirements. Worst of all, he has long
been a proponent of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil
drilling.  Last November, Michigan environmentalists were dancing on what
they thought was Abraham’s political grave, but like a bad nightmare,
Abraham is back, as George W. Bush’s Secretary of the Department of Energy.

Since his appointment Abraham has been busy making the U.S. an even easier
place for the fossil fuel industries to do business; renewable energy and
sustainability remain foreign concepts.  If Spence takes the Weenie in
2001, he will have to share it with his boss George W. who, in a few short
months, has already managed to seriously undermine the Kyoto Protocol (the
international climate change agreement), withdraw new drinking water
standards designed to protect the U.S. public from arsenic pollution, and
“devolve” environmental responsibilities under the guise of “states rights”.

9.	David Cree, President and CEO of the Windsor Port Authority

In February, 2000 the Windsor Port Authority [formerly the Windsor Harbour
Commission] dredged its Riverside Marina and dumped the contaminated
sediment some 20 km west in Ojibway Shores. This property, the last natural
area along the Detroit River, was used as a dumping ground after land was
cleared and shrubs and trees were uprooted for this purpose. No thought was
given to the environmental sensitivity of the area nor to the hundreds of
residents who often use it recreationally.  At public meetings hosted by
the Port Authority in the spring of 2000, angry residents demanded a
cleanup at Ojibway Shores and its preservation as an environmentally
significant area in the Windsor  Essex County area.  David Cree, in weenie
fashion, ignored the demands of the public and insisted that the Port
Authority had done nothing wrong in dumping contaminated sediment in a
natural area.  He further asserted that the Port Authority mandate binds
him to eventually destroy the Ojibway Shores property to accommodate
possible future industrial development.
David Cree deserves the weenie

10.	Tom Wilson, Windsor City Councillor

Although Councillor Wilson is also included in nomination #4, he is also a
weenie in his own right.  As chair of the Essex Windsor Solid Waste
Authority and the Essex Region Conservation Authority Wilson has been in a
position to make positive contributions to our local environment; instead,
he has used these positions to do the opposite.  As chair of the EWSWA he
promoted the importation of Toronto trash and the issuance of a one-million
dollar bond to secure the bid.  When public opposition to garbage imports
to Windsor and Essex County grew the EWSWA hired a public relations firm to
put a positive spin on hogtown’s trash.  Through it all, Wilson was
steadfast in his position until other EWSWA member municipalities lined up
to oppose garbage imports and later, when it was obvious that the Essex
regional landfill was not going to be selected by the City of Toronto
Wilson seemed to change his mind.
Wearing his hat as the chair of the Conservation Authority, Wilson stood at
Ojibway Shores, Windsor’s last piece of natural shoreline on the Detroit
River, and publicly announced that the destruction of Ojibway Shores would
be good for Windsor because it would create jobs.  Wilson has also hinted
that he is interested in “negotiating” a deal on Marshfield Woods with the
Town of Essex, as though provincial wetland designation is something that
can be negotiated.  Rather than pushing the Conservation Authority to
address its mandate Wilson has favoured pursuing meaningless PR schemes
like the designation of the Detroit River as a Canadian Heritage River.  In
an area with less than 4% tree cover we deserve a better Conservation
Authority chairperson.
In typical weenie behaviour, Wilson represented the City on the Windsor
Essex County Air Quality Committee for over two years, but never attended a
meeting.  Finally, his opposition to a ban on pesticide spraying in City
Parks and his zeal to develop hydrologically sensitive areas in east
Riverside make Wilson a real contender for the Weenie.

11.	The Big Three Automakers (GM, Ford, and Chrysler)

Despite commitments made in 1995, the Big Three continue to use mercury in
their vehicles.  Automobiles are one of the largest sources of mercury
emissions in North America.  Despite practical, inexpensive alternatives
and industry commitments to phase out its use, mercury continues to be
widely used in new automobiles.  Mercury in automobiles contaminates the
scrap steel recycling and recovery system.  Vehicles contain mercury
primarily in switches in hood and trunk lighting and anti-lock braking
systems.  Mercury is highly toxic to humans and wildlife and it is a
priority pollutant in the Detroit River Area of Concern.  

The Citizens Environment Alliance, along with 50 other environmental and
public health organizations have supported an action plan developed by the
Clean Car Campaign for eliminating mercury hazards caused by automobiles.
The action plan calls on automakers to immediately eliminate the use of
mercury switches in new cars and trucks, label component parts and vehicles
that contain mercury, and take responsibility for the removal and safe
collection of mercury in the existing fleet of vehicles currently on the road.

12.	Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada

Chretien has shown little interest in environmental issues during his seven
and a half years of Prime Minister of Canada; the past twelve months were
no different.  With David Anderson as his Minister of Environment, the
Federal Government has:

a) failed to address the serious deficiencies in the outdated Pest Control
Products Act;
b) introduced Endangered Species legislation that doesn’t even protect
endangered species on federal land and gives cabinet final authority on
drafting the endangered species list;
c) worked with the United States to undermine the Kyoto protocol on climate
d) continued the trend of spending public money to promote dirty fossil
fuels and nuclear energy, rather than renewable alternatives, and
e) begun negotiating a continental energy deal with the U.S. aimed at
expanding oil and gas production which will increase air pollution and
accelerate climate change.

The Canadian Government has further threatened the ecological well-being of
the entire hemisphere in negotiations to establish the Free Trade Agreement
of the Americas (FTAA).  By insisting that NAFTA’s Chapter 11 provisions
are extended to the FTAA, Canada is working to undermine the precautionary
principle here and abroad.

Lastly, the federal commitment to Windsor air quality research and
remediation and to the Detroit River cleanup is insufficient and shameful
considering the Deputy Prime Minister’s riding is right here in the motor

Chretien and the Liberals deserve the weenie.

Join us at the Press Club of Windsor

Citizens Environment Alliance of southwestern Ontario and southeast Michigan
P.O. Box 548, Windsor, Ontario,  N9A 6M6, Canada
phone: (519) 973-1116 -- fax: (519) 973-8360


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