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E-M:/ Correction: Kudos to Gov for vetoing outrageous Dow bill!



Folks:  sent before ready -- see Senate vote source below as well (these are from the Mackinac Center’s Michigan Votes site)

 

Anne Woiwode, State Director

Sierra Club Mackinac (Michigan) Chapter


From: Anne Woiwode [mailto:Anne.Woiwode@sierraclub.org]
Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2005 5:10 PM
To: 'enviro-mich@great-lakes.net'
Subject: Kudos to Gov for vetoing outrageous Dow bill!

 

Governor Granholm has shot down one of the most outrageous bills to come out of the Legislature in a long time.  HB 4617, erroneously labeled by its proponents the Homeowner Protection Act, was vetoed by the Governor on Tuesday (DEQ press release at http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135--133138--,00.html).  The bill, pushed hard by legislators from the Midland area, became worse as it moved through the Legislature, and would have gutted key portions of both the process and the standards for clean up of contaminated sites all over Michigan, both letting responsible parties off the hook for clean up AND leaving many homeowners unable to get any clean up of their contaminated property.  Many communities in Michigan would have immediately seen the effect of this appalling shift of burden from the responsible parties to the victims of pollution. 

 

An analysis of the bill provided below points out some of its worst provisions.  Although many of these severe flaws were explained to the Legislature by DEQ officials at least 3 separate times in comments on the bill, they were none the less left in the bill.  We can only assume, when such disturbing concerns were repeatedly raised and not addressed that the Legislative leaders and proponents of this package intended to gut Michigan’s environmental clean up law.  In the press release from the DEQ, Director Steve Chester explained that the bill “would have serious implications for the state’s cleanup program, and would put property owners, the health of residents, and their environment at risk.”

 

The scary thing about this is that it appears that the proponents of gutting Michigan’s clean up laws are not going to simply get over the Governor doing the right thing by vetoing this bill.  Already, and not surprisingly, Russ Harding, who was by far Michigan’s worst director of environmental programs ever, has weighed in with a broadside attack and a grossly distorted interpretation of the bill (http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=7501). Keeping up the myth perpetrated by the folks who clearly are looking to benefit from gutting Michigan’s clean up laws, Harding, now with the Mackinac Center, makes the ludicrous claim that current state law ignores property rights and sound science.  As has happened throughout this debate, the proponents of HB 4617 have tried to use verbal slight of hand to distract Legislators and the people in Midland in particular from real goal of this legislative effort: to let Dow and others responsible for contaminating property get out of their responsibility to clean up these messes. 

 

Thanks are due to Governor Granholm and the DEQ for holding firm on a crucial part of the clean up law in Michigan.  Please take a moment to let them know you appreciate their stalwart defense of common sense and REAL science -- and while you’re at it, find out how your legislators voted (for House votes go to http://www.michiganvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=168296 , for Senate votes go to http://www.michiganvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=177510 ) and drop them a note as well!

 

 

(Analysis drawn from DEQ materials)

Public Health

  • Weakens cleanup requirements that protect Michigan’s families from contaminated soil and contamination of the food chain.
  • By wasting dollars on unnecessary testing, the legislation will mean less cleanup putting more citizens at risk from contamination.
  • Our families deserve to have information on contamination that affects their lives.  This bill would restrict that information flow and leave citizens unaware of contamination and how to reduce risks.

Environment

  • The bill would endanger our state’s great resources by preventing the DEQ from stopping contamination polluting our lakes and streams. 
  • The priority for any cleanup project must be placed on protecting our environment, and our citizens.
    • This legislation simply creates opportunities for polluters to avoid and delay cleaning up contamination, putting our environment at an even greater risk.

Economy

  • This legislation would waste countless dollars on unnecessary testing, disputes, and delays.
    • This takes away from money that could go towards clean-up and redevelopment of a contaminated property for productive use.
  • Supporters of this legislation say that the stigma of a label hurts the economy. 
    • They are wrong.  It is the contamination itself that hurts our economy, and we must retain the tools to clean up that contamination quickly and efficiently in order to move our economy forward.

 

 

Anne Woiwode, State Director

Sierra Club Mackinac (Michigan) Chapter

109 E. Grand River Avenue, Lansing, MI 48906

517-484-2372   fax 517-484-3108

Enjoy, Explore and Protect -  www.michigan.sierraclub.org

 

"We know what to do. We have everything we need save the political will - which is, after all, a renewable resource. This is the time. This our moral moment and [I am confident] we will rise to the occasion." Former Vice President Albert Gore, at the Sierra Club Summit, September 2005