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E-M:/ Great Lakes: Sierra Club's Statement on Bush Administration's New Great Lakes Task Force



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Enviro-Mich message from "Rita Jack" <rita.jack@sierraclub.org>
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2004

CONTACT:
Jennifer Feyerherm, 608-257-4994 (Madison, Wisconsin)
Wendy Balazik, 202-675-2383 (Washington, DC)

Statement of Jennifer Feyerherm, Sierra Club's Toxic Specialist With the
Great Lakes Program, On the Bush Administration's New Great Lakes Task
Force

"The Bush administration's Great Lakes Task Force is a smokescreen and
does
nothing to clean up, protect, or restore the Great Lakes.   And,
unfortunately, this could put off any meaningful efforts for clean up.
While it's nice for the Bush administration to talk about cleaning up
the
Great Lakes, other recent Bush administration policies are making it
impossible to realize the goals of Great Lakes protection and
restoration.

"For example, the Bush administration is proposing a plan that delays
cleaning up toxic mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants for
decades when we have the technology right now to get us on the road to
reducing mercury pollution by 2008.  This means that mercury, a potent
neurotoxin and the cause of fish consumption advisories throughout the
Great Lakes, will continue to pollute the lakes and endanger our
children
for generations to come.

"In addition, the Bush administration blocked rules that would have
protected our families and communities from raw, untreated sewage that
contaminates our drinking water and closes our beaches.  Last year, the
Great Lakes suffered a record number of closed beaches due to bacterial
contamination.

"The Bush administration also issued a policy directive making it more
difficult to protect wetlands and headwater streams, which filter
pollutants out of our water.  The Great Lakes Basin has already lost
over
70 percent of its wetlands and can't afford to lose anymore.

"Finally, the Bush administration has refused to support the "polluter
pays" principle, leaving communities at risk and burdening taxpayers
with
Superfund clean up costs.

"The Great Lakes need more than just talk from the Bush administration.
Instead of bowing to polluters, the Bush administration should
strengthen,
not weaken, our clean air and clean water laws, enforce those laws, and
demand polluters be held accountable for the damage they do."

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