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Re: E-M:/ Her Majesty...



Title: Re: E-M:/ Her Majesty...
Dear Mark Dougher and other EM-ers:

First of all, I always thought it was "I imagine she's a pretty nice girl..."  I sing it to my cat everyday and also to one I borrow from the neighbor, who actually does have a lot to say.

Secondly, if you are waiting for the governor to respond, you might be waiting like a starlet in a Hollywood diner.
If you want the Lady's attention, you must squawk.  If there is anything that politicians hate, it is bad PR.  If even a small number who attended the meeting wrote a letter to the editors of Michigan papers, you can bet someone from her administration would respond.

It need not be lengthy or even eloquent.  It should say, "We do not want a few jobs 'at any cost.'  We do expect the Granholm administration to act ethically and with integrity, and it appears that Lydia Murray's actions counter that."

What Mark wrote below is great and I hope people will excerpt his information to get the word out. I will be looking forward to hearing what happens tonight, and I'll prepare my own letter to send to papers in southeast lower Michigan.

Good luck to you.
Sherry Hayden




From a concerned citizen regarding a matter of public policy:

On February 19, 2004 there was a Public Hearing before the City of Manistee Planning Commission concerning the proposed Northern Lights Project - a 425 megawatt coal-fired electrical generating plant that the Tondu Corporation of Houston, Texas seeks to build in our town of 6,000 people  at the mouth of the Manistee River and between the shores of Lake Michigan and the Manistee National Forest. Before this project can proceed, the Tondu Corporation must obtain a Special Use Permit from the City of Manistee.  If he obtains this permit, then the Tondu Corporation must obtain several permits from the MDEQ.

There were over 500 people who attended the Public Hearing, and there were so many people who signed up to speak that the Public Hearing was extended to this Thursday, February 26th at 7:00 pm in the Manistee Middle School Gymnasium.  Some of the people who spoke out against the Northern Lights Project included representatives from:

      Manistee County Democratic Party

      Michigan Environmental Council

      Lake Michigan Federation

      Traverse Group of the Sierra Club

      Michigan United Conservation Clubs Regional Association  encompassing 26 conservation clubs that enacted a unanimous resolution opposing the project

      Michigan Chapter of the American Lung Association

      Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council

      Sweetwater Alliance

      Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council

      Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Tribal government

      Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians Tribal government

      Manistee Citizens for Responsible Development

 

And the list grows.

During the three hour public hearing, there were only three people who spoke in favor of the proposed coal plant:  Joe Tondu, the owner/developer; Tom Kubanek, Director of the Manistee Industrial Development Corporation; and Lydia Murray, Account Manager for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and representative for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth.

During Lydia Murrays remarks, she cited that she was specifically asked by David Hollister and the Granholm Administration to attend this public hearing and speak in favor of the project.  

It appears that someone in the Granholm Administration does not give much credence to the seriousness of the action that took place at this public hearing. If the Governor was not aware that a spokesperson, Lydia Murray, was doing what she did, then the Governor needs to say something now.  It seems inconceivable that a governor would weigh in on a local issue at this point.  It may actually be without precedent.  The region is quite upset, to put it mildly. If the Governors advisors are not reading the newspapers up and down this coast and the Traverse magazine, they need to be doing so.  I can tell you that the opposition to this plant has now been contacted by the UPI, AP and CNN.

Regionally there are talks of organizing bus trips to Lansing to picket the governors office.

The interference in local politics is newsworthy enough, but when you analyze the speech of Lydia Murray it has sentence structure and vocabulary, facts and data that appear to be lifted right out of Tondu Corporation public statements. The people in this area in opposition to this plant are bright, research oriented Democrats who are not going to let this one alone.  And, Republicans have now joined the effort, which is going to force the hand of their representatives in this area.  This situation is even more newsworthy because the developer of the project, Joe Tondu, who now has presumably been supported by the Governors office, sits on the Governors advisory panel on mercury emission controls.

More newsworthy is that the Governor has said she wants to move to zero mercury emissions by 2020, yet the proposed plant is to be built on Manistee Lake, a lake the U.S. EPA has designated an impaired lake because of Mercury contamination and PCBs. The MDEQ knows this and therefore I presume the Governor does also.  This is a real ethical issue for democrats in this region of the State. Manistee Lake also flows into Lake Michigan, a priority for clean-up according to the State of the State address and recent executive order about no dumping of harbor dredge material into Lake Michigan.

There are serious questions being asked around here.  Questions include:

      When did the Governors office and Hollisters office know of this proposal?

      How can the Governor sacrifice the people of northwest Michigan for a corporation from Houston, Texas?

      Why didnt the Governor send a representative to talk with the people of before making a public statement in support of the Tondu Corporation?

      Why didnt the Governor take more seriously the resolution of opposition from the Manistee Democratic Party?

      Have there been any campaign contributions from a PAC that is supported by the Tondu Corporation, its principals or family members?

      Have there been any direct campaign contributions from the Tondu Corporation, their principals or family members?

      Was this project discussed in the Governors advisory committee on mercury emissions?

 

This issue is not going to go away.  

Yesterday, February 22, 2004 there was an editorial in the Detroit Free Press that is going to play into this situation in Manistee.

The headline is: Mercury: Tighter Rules Can and Should Go Further.  The article goes on to discuss EPA scientists findings that probably one in six women of child-bearing age have enough mercury in their systems to affect the offspring  rather than previous estimates of one in twelve.  It goes on to urge the EPA to toughen its rules based on its own research.  Once again it states the obvious:  The biggest remaining output of mercury comes from coal-burning power plants.

The Governor is rapidly slipping into heavy scrutiny unless a statement is forthcoming.  This reminds me of the last song by the Beatles on the Abbey Road album:

Her Majestys a pretty nice girl but she doesnt have a lot to say,  

Her Majestys a pretty nice girl but she changes from day to day

Mark Dougher