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E-M:/ News Release: Redford Ads Target Michigan



Contacts:  Rob Perks, NRDC 202/289-2420
David Holtz,
Clean Water Action, 517/203-0758



Redford Featured in Radio Campaign Against
Bush Administration Environmental Policies


LANSING, MI (April 12, 2004)—NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) announced today a state radio advertising campaign featuring actor Robert Redford speaking on the environmental issues facing Michigan. The advertisements are part of a national campaign to increase awareness of Bush administration environmental policies that harm families across the country.

 Michigan is facing some tough environmental challenges,” said Redford. “Now, because of pending Bush administration policies, people in Michigan need to take action to protect what they have. And if this ad can call attention to the facts, I’m proud to be part of the project.”

 The ad – titled “Listen” – describes how Bush administration policies already in effect and currently under consideration harm Michigan’s environment and affect Michigan families. 

 Among other damaging administration polices, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is weakening efforts to clean up mercury emissions from the nation’s 1,100 coal-fired power plants, the largest unregulated source of mercury. The agency recently issued a proposal that would let power plants emit seven times more mercury than allowed by current law for nearly 20 more years.

 In Michigan, power plants and other industrial sources annually release more than 25,000 pounds of mercury into the environment. Mercury contaminates Michigan’s lakes where it concentrates in fish.  Eating mercury-contaminated fish damages the brains and nervous systems of children and can lead to serious health problems in adults, especially for pregnant women. None of Michigan’s 3,250 miles of surveyed shoreline currently supports fish consumption due to mercury contamination. The state Department of Community Health has warned women and children to eat no more than one meal per month of certain fish species from all inland lakes in Michigan. Mercury pollution also threatens the state’s $800 million recreational fishing industry. 

 The administration also has put forth proposals that would legalize the routine discharge of inadequately treated sewage into lakes, rivers and underground wells, threatening drinking water supplies and fouling coastal waters. During a recent swimming season, beaches in Michigan’s Great Lakes counties were closed, or swimming advisories were in effect, for a total of 209 days. Sewage-infested water, in addition to making people sick, also has killed fish and shut down shellfish beds. The serious sewage problems in the state recently led Michiganders to overwhelmingly approve a $1 billion Clean Water bond.

 Concerns about safe drinking water are also exacerbated by the Bush administration’s mismanagement of the Superfund program. There are 67 Superfund sites in Michigan, many of which have significantly contaminated groundwater from improper management of hazardous wastes. This is a serious concern since nearly half of the state’s population relies on groundwater for drinking. Yet the administration has significantly slowed the pace of Superfund cleanups and last year allowed the program to go bankrupt, forcing taxpayers to cover most of the cleanup costs. Michigan citizens paid over $9 million in 1995 for Superfund cleanups and can expect to pay $40 million in 2004. The Superfund budget crunch jeopardizes funding for toxic waste cleanups in Michigan. The Velsicol Superfund site near Alma, which is to blame polluting the Pine River, is a vivid example of a toxic waste site affecting an entire community.

 “After decades of progress, America is now moving backwards on the environment,” said David Holtz, Michigan director of Clean Water Action. “The Bush administration is making the problem worse by siding with corporate polluters over our nation’s families at every opportunity.” 

 The Redford ads begin April 12 and will air for three consecutive weeks. Michiganders can listen for the ads in Lansing, MI (WVIC-FM, WFMK-FM, WHZZ-FM); Ann Arbor, MI (WQKL-FM, WWWW-FM)

 For more information about the NRDC campaign in Michigan and in other states, visit: www.nrdc.org/stateaction. For details on what the Bush administration has done and is doing on environmental matters, visit: www.nrdc.org/bushrecord.


The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 1 million members and e-activists nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Santa Monica and San Francisco. More information on NRDC is available at its Web site: http://www.nrdc.org

Clean Water Action 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. Michigan Clean Water Action, with 100,000 members, is headquartered in East Lansing, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Clinton Township in Macomb County.