This message responds specifically to Kramer, but I think there are many others who share his concerns about the water-use laws enacted today, so I’d like to take a moment to address them.
First, thank you for your obvious passion about this issue, and I am sorry that our response left you feeling personally attacked. The battle to strengthen these bills has been extremely intense and left many frayed nerves, but it is important not to let reasoned discourse be a casualty of our deep feelings about our water, and we look forward to participating in future productive discussions in that spirit.
Regarding the substance of your concerns, PIRGIM was among the many groups that put a vast amount of resources into fighting for the strongest protections for our water that we could wrest from the legislative process. Thanks to these collective efforts, Michigan has substantial new protections for our water that it did not have before, including (1) an explicit recognition that all Michigan’s water is a public resource, (2) a legislative approval requirement for non-bottled diversions, (3) a permitting process for new water bottlers that includes heightened protections against resource and property damage (with a public process for requiring improvements to repair measurable impacts), and (4) a requirement that all industries develop water conservation standards. PIRGIM is proud to have helped win these new protections, which mark a substantial improvement over the bills as originally introduced.
It is no secret – and, given the substantial opposition from powerful special interests, no surprise – that we did not get everything we were fighting for in this package (and that we got one thing we were fighting against). What is less well known is that we successfully fought off an attempt to explicitly define water as a product. In any event, the most important thing now is that we pull together and keep fighting toward our common goal: more, better protections for our water. I look forward to working with all of you to make that happen.
Kelly Dardzinski, Environmental Advocate
Public Interest Research Group In
For raising criticism and questions about this water "deal" PIRGIM launches a personal attack accusing the critic of "hysteria". How utterly Bush of PIRGIM. When PIRGIM and other groups were asking for our support for their campaign they were singing a different tune. I went back and researched emails I received from the campaign and found this web site, www.greatlakesgreatmichigan.org. PIRGIM is listed as supporting these amendments:
1) Protect against diversions by requiring legislative approval for diversions outside of the Great Lakes basin,
2) Protect all of our natural resources from later use impacts by expanding protections to include private property and habitats without fish populations, and
3) Ensure water conservation by requiring water users to self-certify that they are following generally accepted water management practices.
Based on what I have read about the legislation that was actually supported by the environmental groups, including PIRGIM, it appears that #1 or #2 were not accomplished. So why take credit for a "landmark" and "historic" victory? I don't know about #3 so that may be the victory.
On that sames web site there is a newspaper ad from the campaign that asks the public to support the campaign and "stop large corporations...from sending water to other states and far away places." But isn't that exactly what this "victory" is doing with the exemption for large corporations from the diversion rules?
I, for one, will think twice before believing again anything these groups are saying.
On 2/28/06, Jason Barbose < email@example.com> wrote:
PLEASE read the press release before commenting.
we did not fail to mention that the legislation does not require
diversions in containers less than 5.7 gallons to get legislative
approval. In fact, we plainly say that this is a shortcoming of the
package. Furthermore, keep in mind that this package forces water
bottling companies to meet stronger resource protection standards than any
other kind of withdrawal.
indeed and definately "first-of-its-kind" --a landmark and first-ever
historic sell-out of the Great Lakes is what this new law
is. When the environmental groups put out their press releases a few
weeks ago they forgot to mention that this wonderful legislation they support
actually gives legal permission for water diversions as long as they are in
containers of 5.7 gallons or less. Why did the greens give corporations
such a wonderful deal? Won't this just lead to others wanting exemptions
from being treated as diversions? Who is going to enforce the new rules that
did get into the law? We hardly have any enforcement of laws on the books
already. To PIRGIM and the other groups like Clean Water Action can you
explain how this legislation is a good thing since corporations like Nestle
will now be able to legally take our water anyplace they want? Thanks.