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Enviro-Mich message from Don Brown <dbrown@kalnet.net>

Mr. Harding's comments on privatizing the MDEQ laboratory operation is standard Republican rhetoric and intentionally ignores the MDEQ responsibility for assuring the quality of environmental analyses. If responsible parties are to be held accountable for multimillion dollar cleanup and remediation costs the quality of the analyses must be beyond question. Without agency confirmation and quality assurance, it soon would become a "my lab vs your lab" argument and into court we go again. The Department does contract out a good deal of analysis. To protect our tax dollars and assure correct enforcement, the Department needs the capacity to assure the validity of analyses. Having its own lab undoubtedly also allows the Department to look into less common pollution situations for which private labs would not be geared up to do. Mr. Harding also failed to mention in his comments that the state lab analyses can be less costly than contract analyses.

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