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E-M:/ Release: Dems Fight to Protect Great Lakes



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Enviro-Mich message from "Daniel Farough" <Dfarough@house.mi.gov>
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Governor Granholm and House and Senate Dems held press conferences around the state calling for action on the Water Legacy Act.  These bills HB 5634 & SB 1087 sponsored by Rep. Chris Kolb (D-Ann Arbor)  and Sen. Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor) are designed to give the State the legal tools it needs to say 'no' to water diversions to thristy Southwestern states.  Republicans have failed to hold even a single hearing on the bills and are saying they need 2 more years to study the problem...

Earlier Environmental groups led by the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action and National Wildlife Federation sent a Water Legacy Pledge to lawmakers asking that legislators begin  hearings on the bills this summer.  House and Senate Dems presented pledges to the Governor today as well.

Press release below.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 12, 2004	                        Contact: Dan Farough
 Phone: (517) 373-2093
Cell: (517) 303-5270

Dems Fight To Protect Great Lakes
Dems pledge to protect MI water, call on GOP to join them


LANSING * House and Senate Democrats have heeded Governor Jennifer M. Granholm's call to protect our state's most precious natural resource.  The lawmakers today presented to the Governor pledges they signed from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters stating their support for immediate action on the Water Legacy Act * legislation that would protect our Great Lakes and guard against thirsty states from diverting our water.  
	 "Earlier this year we asked state lawmakers to adopt a comprehensive water protection statute that will protect, preserve and manage our water resources, particularly the Great Lakes that define our state," Granholm said.  "Now that it is summer, the season that most reminds us
how precious this resource is, it's time for action in the legislature.  I applaud our legislative partners for their efforts in moving our state forward on this critical issue."
For more than six months the Republican majority in the Michigan Legislature has failed to even hold one hearing on the Water Legacy Act (House Bill 5634, Senate Bill 1087) * water management legislation that would govern water use and give Michigan the legal framework to oppose water diversion to other states.  
"The risk to Michigan's fresh water supply is greater today than perhaps at any other time in our state's history," said State Representative Chris Kolb (D-Ann Arbor), who sponsored HB 5634.  "This is why it is imperative that we have a sound and prudent strategy to manage our precious water resources.  The Water Legacy Act is vital if we are going to protect our water."
With the Great Lakes holding an astonishing one-fifth of the world's freshwater supply, Michigan has more freshwater than any other place on earth.  It's no secret that many states * especially thirsty southwestern states * are eyeing our water.      
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	"Michigan is the only state entirely within the Great Lakes Basin, so we are the custodians of this precious fresh water resource," said State Senator Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor), who sponsored SB 1087. "We must take immediate action to protect the Great Lakes and their tributaries from excessive water withdrawals."
	Senate Democratic Leader Bob Emerson (D-Flint) said that diverting our precious water resources would be devastating to our state. 
	"The health and vitality of our Great Lakes gives life to our people, businesses and our economy," he said.  "Our water is our lifeblood, and it is more threatened today than it has ever been before." 
	House Democratic Leader Dianne Byrum (D-Onondaga) said it's time the Republican-majority stopped dragging their feet and joined with House and Senate Democrats and the Governor to protect Michigan's water.   
	"The Water Legacy Act is long overdue," she said.  "It's time for action.  We have made a pledge to protect our water and we will work with the Governor to do so.  If the majority continues to block our efforts, then we'll go directly to the people of Michigan.  We won't let partisan politics stand in the way."
	
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Dan Farough
Press Secretary
House Democratic Communications
517-373-2093
dfarough@house.mi.gov


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