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Re: E-M:/ Senator Birkholz: Don't worry, be happy

Enviro-Mich message from "Chuck Cubbage" <charles.cubbage@comcast.net>

Bill and friends,

I understand your irritation and I apologize for adding to your frustration. That said, the legislators we have are the ones we got - till election time! So bang them on the nose, kick them on the shins, praise them, give them cookies and/or do all. Some using one approach and others different ones.

The points you make are correct and yet nothing of substantive help has occurred. I am reminded of Toxic Substance Control Commission meetings when we heard frustrated citizens and supporters detail events and conditions. One would think any reasonable politician or agency would have taken action and made, what seemed to be obvious, corrective actions. And yet often it hadn't happened.

What you and others have done is considerable. Could there be benefit from asking what are the circumstances have prevented decision makers from taking corrective steps? This in no way is meant to demean the efforts expended so far. Yet it is obvious that, collectively, not enough legislative will has been generated to make changes. Action takes place when the level of pressure, the desire to help, or a combination of these allows/forces legislative action.

I suspect that years of vindictive and antagonistic administration tactics have damaged the potential for bipartisan cooperation. Other political and social factors, no doubt, are at play in the various water resource problems included in the current dialog.

We often point out the difficulties on E-M. Can E-M dialog move in the direction of planning and initiating activities that would hold enough feet to the fire to get some action? Collectively EMers can do things and have done much raise the awareness in various political and geographic jurisdictions to help move toward possible solutions. Lets have a dialog on possible activities? Is it necessary to tackle Monroe separately from S Saginaw ? or is that part of the problem?


Enviro-Mich message from "William Tobler" <WilliamTobler@CrittersWoods.org>

The real point is that water problems in Monroe County and in Saginaw have not been "sudden" events, where excuses of non action are perhaps good excuses because of the suddenness of the event.

The water problem in my area affected thousands of families in five
townships at least, removing their opportunity to have ANY safe water in their homes for 24/7 for nearly 10 years. Emergency? Did they do
anything then? No. Did they do anything since? No. Have they shown any evidence that they intend to do something (helpful)? No. The damage to these families and these communities has been huge. Can you say $50M? Can you say one or two decades?

Instead of dealing with the problems in some kind of timely way, legislators such as Sikkema and Birkholz have avoided the issues, avoided serving the public, avoided making any obvious progress whatsoever. Instead, they continue to hand over the jewels to private interests for private profits. Instead, Senator Sikkema chaired (and co-chaired by Senator Hammerstrom) what I can consider to be little more than a party publicity scam, where they claimed to have sought out public input to a variety of environmental problems, including aquifer depletion from industrial activities operating way beyond of weak environmental permit limits. How is it, that the environmental community in Hammerstrom's own district knew nothing of the
"public" hearings, even though we are on her emailing list?

And what action has their legislature taken upon the recommendations in that report? Anything but delay, defer, and study? Or go backwards, using the budget that they created and control as a tool?

These legislators should be ASHAMED of their performance, and they should be PUBLICLY flogged for their performance.
When Senator Birkholz took the chair position of the Senate environmental committee, I publicly said "oh great" on EnviroMich, because her legislative "rating" for environmental results was poor. Just what one wants is a leader with a poor rating. I was heavily criticized on EM for criticizing Senator Birkholz, because others considered Senator Birkholz a very kind, concerned individual - hence my remark about "baking great cookies", because where it counts, I didn't see any performance, and I still don't see any performance. I have always made myself available - has Senator Birkholz approached me about what to do with these water problems? No. Zero. Am I surprised?

While other environmental groups and individuals serve the role to reach out politely to these legislators to show them the way, I have grown weary of being polite, and weary of watching corruption and incompetence at local, county, state and federal levels. And lest you say, "don't criticize, get involved", I have served on our Planning Commission since 1980, and also now have been elected to the Board of Trustees in addition. Plus I have more than a full time, regular job. I, and a few others, fought against local, county and state corruption and inaction (although responsibility was theirs) with regards to the water problem in our communities that was intimately affecting the health and welfare of thousands of families. I probably spent 10 or 20 hours a week on this for eight years. All because of the likes of the legislators and politicians in Lansing that don't want to serve public interests.

And now, we have other water problems, due to the lack of reasonable
stormwater management regulations, and the lack of onsite sewage disposal regulations that are "actually" enforced. Or the lack of soil & erosion standards that are enforced. Or wetlands protection.

These are very basic environmental and social concerns, with very simple solutions. But not in Lansing. Not in the last 10 years, not in the next 10 years. There is too much money involved for the benefits of the Senators to do otherwise.

No one should be running to their defense.  To say that it irritates me, is
putting it mildly.


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