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E-M:/ AA News Editorial on funding DEQ

The Ann Arbor News editorialized on 12/22/04 regarding the consequences of underfunding the Michigan DEQ (DEQ needs more funds to ensure quality of life, The Ann Arbor News – editorial http://www.mlive.com/columns/aanews/index.ssf?/base/news-0/1103730065311190.xml ).  The lack of funding for inspections of waste treatment facilities was particularly cited, with the specific experience of the Chelsea water system as an indicator of the problem.


The AA News deserves kudos for raising the issue, but they miss more than half the problem – the editorial only mentions the Governor’s obligation to submit a budget that will include enough funds to begin to restore Michigan’s ability to protect the health and well-being of the people and communities of Michigan.  In the last session relatively modest efforts by the Granholm Administration to address budget shortfalls via permit fees (making those who benefit pay for the cost of getting the benefit of being allowed to use Michigan’s air, water and land to emit or dispose of pollutants they have created) were attacked and beat back to much less than needed by legislators who apparently don’t share the view of the vast majority of people in this state and country that protection of the environment is a critical, baseline value.  Various parts of the regulated community poured on in the attack against reasonable fees, badly hamstringing the environmental cops on the beat.


The AA News editorial helps to describe the REAL consequences of this failure to support critical programs to protect our health and communities – this is just ONE of the hundreds of disturbing examples out there.  I would encourage that people on this list tell those stories as well, and join the AA News in pointing out who has not only the ability but the obligation to rectify this increasingly dangerous situation. 


Anne Woiwode