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E-M:/ 2002 Lake St. Clair Gubernatorial Candidate Report Card

Clean Water Action              
                For Immediate Release:  July 25, 2002   
Contacts:       Cyndi Roper, 616.742.4084 / 314.393.7831 or Kathy Aterno, 586.783.8900

July 25, 2002  The Michigan arm of Clean Water Action (CWA) released its 2002 Lake St. Clair Gubernatorial Candidate Report Card today to respond to recent questions about gubernatorial candidate commitments to Lake St. Clair. This report card is the first such document produced to educate voters about candidate records on Lake St. Clair, and to elevate the profile of the lake at election time.

CWA’s Kathy Aterno, a Macomb County native and former member of the Macomb County Water Quality Board, explained that the group narrowed the scope of its report card to include actions taken by each candidate that could be directly linked to the cleanup and protection of Lake St. Clair. The information was derived from candidate voting records and other candidate actions. Aterno said that CWA strongly encourages candidates to submit additional information about their Lake St. Clair cleanup and protection activities. “Although we studied the candidates’ records, we look forward to getting any additional information from the gubernatorial candidates,” explained Aterno. “It is Clean Water Action’s expectation that this document  and similar future documents  can be used to push lawmakers into action so they will increasingly work to solve the lake’s problems,” said Aterno.

After reviewing candidate records, CWA determined that David Bonior’s
* actions over the past 30 years have benefited Lake St. Clair far more than the combined efforts of the other 4 gubernatorial candidates. “As a Macomb County native, David Bonior is deeply committed to cleaning up and protecting Lake St. Clair and this commitment has translated into action,” stated Cyndi Roper, CWA’s Michigan Director. “For example, he held public hearings to discover the causes of the 1994 beach closings in Lake St. Clair, and he succeeded at getting $7.8 million in federal money to correct sewage overflow problems in St. Clair Shores, Port Huron, and Mount Clemens. Bonior fought to protect St. John’s Marsh and to block funding for a ridiculous plan to pave the Clinton River. He led the successful charge to ban PCBs in Michigan, the first such ban in the U.S., and he worked hard to secure the federal dollars that were recently released to cleanup the PCB contamination in St. Clair Shores,” said Roper.

“We have recently observed confusion and outright distortion of candidate records on Lake St. Clair, so we chose to produce this report card to help set the record straight,” explained Roper. “No one person can solve the numerous problems challenging the health of this waterbody, but David Bonior has made tremendous contributions.”

She cautioned that political agendas seem to have gotten in the way of reporting the facts about candidate records. “We must ultimately set aside our differences and build a broad and diverse constituency in support of Lake St. Clair.”  Roper said Bonior has taken an important step to help make this happen by securing funding to convene the Lake St. ClairSt. Clair River Management Plan working groups, which involve roughly 150 stakeholders  including Clean Water Action -- and more than 100 technical participants.”

While a number of area citizens groups, local officials and residents have taken action to cleanup and protect “the forgotten lake,” Lake St. Clair still faces numerous challenges. As the drinking water source for roughly half of Michigan’s residents, Lake St. Clair is quite possibly Michigan’s most vital public health resource. Further, it is a gem for the area’s economy, and it provides extensive recreational opportunities for millions of boaters, anglers, beach-goers, and others each year.

The report  card is available on the Michigan section of CWA’s national website (<www.cleanwateraction.org>).


*Disclosure:  Clean Water Action’s state political committee, Michigan Clean Water Action Vote Environment, has endorsed David Bonior for Governor because of his three decades of outstanding environmental leadership  including his efforts to cleanup and protect Lake St. Clair.

Clean Water Action (CWA) is a national citizens’ organization working for clean, safe and affordable water, prevention of health-threatening pollution, creation of environmentally-safe jobs and businesses, and empowerment of people to make democracy work. CWA has more than 60,000 Michigan members who are served by three Michigan offices (Clinton Township, East Lansing, and Grand Rapids). CWA opened its Macomb County office in 1997 to serve its more than 30,000 area members and to provide local support to efforts around Lake St. Clair. In October 1999, MCWA designated Lake St. Clair as its first “Clean Water Action Zone.” Since that time, the group has worked from within the fabric of area communities  and statewide -- to focus support for action to cleanup and protect the lake.