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E-M:/ Clean Water Ad Campaign

For Immediate Release
February 23, 2004

For more information:
James Clift, Michigan Environmental Council (517) 487-9539
Tom Leonard, Western Michigan Environmental Council (616) 451-3051
Cyndi Roper Office 616-742-4084 

Clean Water Ad Campaign Takes to the Air
Groups Push for Legislative Promises to be Kept
Monday, Feb. 23, Lansing –The battle to protect the Great Lakes has taken
to the air.  Environmental groups concerned about the gutting of clean water
legislation have launched an advocacy campaign via radio to shore up grass
roots support.  The ad consist of a couple discussing the red tape that legislative
leaders have wrapped around the Department of Environmental Quality’s Water
Division, making it harder for them to do their job protecting Michigan’s waterways. 
Listeners are urged to call State Senator Ken Sikkema and express their
support for Michigan’s “Clean Water Bill.”
“To get to the goal of clean water, we thought it best to shed some light
on the lawmakers," said James Clift of the Michigan Environmental
Council.  “These ads bring the crucial issue of Great Lakes protection to
the forefront.”
The ad campaign follows last week's delivery of a letter to Sen. Sikkema
signed by 40 groups from across Michigan.  Endorsed by a variety of
community, religious and environmental organizations, the letter asks
Sikkema to fulfill his promise of passing the “Clean Water Bill” with
“no strings attached.”
SB 252 is the official name of the bill designed to shift the burden of clean
water protection from the taxpayers to the polluters.  It would also generate
more funds to make the water protection program more effective.  But just
before the bill passed, Republican lawmakers tacked on a stultifying and
unprecedented level of bureaucracy.  Every DEQ rule change and new
program would have to be approved by the legislature.
“We hope those who hear the ad realize the DEQ Water Protection folks
already have a huge job to do,” said David Holtz of Clean Water Action.
"To add yet another hurdle to effective protection of the Great Lakes is
unimaginable.  Either we trust these professionals to do their job or we don’t.”

Many have said that, as it stands, SB 252 effectively gives the legislature
power over the DEQ that is legally vested in the executive branch.  The
Governor has characterized the move as a “power grab” and has promised a
“To protect Michigan waterways, the Governor has no choice but to veto this
poisoned bill,” said Kate Madigan of PIRGIM. “Our lawmakers must stop
playing politics with Michigan’s most precious natural resource, and pass
legislation to fund our clean water programs.”
Kim Hunter
Media Coordinator
Sierra Club, Mackinac Chapter
2727 Second Avenue, Room 318
Detroit, MI 48201

Phone  313-965-0055
Fax   313-965-0053