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MI fish advisory media release



              NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION
                     PRESS RELEASE

FOR RELEASE:      April 2, 1997                
CONTACT:
Wayne Schmidt (NWF) -- (313) 769-3351
Lana Pollack (MEC) -- (517) 487-9539
Mary Beth Doyle (MEHC) -- (313) 761-3186     


     MICHIGAN HEALTH AND DNR DIRECTORS SAY:
 IGNORE EPA ADVICE ON FISH CONSUMPTION ADVISORY;
          ENVIRONMENTALISTS CRY "FOUL"


     Top Engler Administration officials have told
retailers who sell fishing licenses that they should
not believe sport fish consumption advice being
distributed by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency. Their action brought today harsh criticism from
environmental and public health groups. 

     "Michigan's official advice in its 1997 Fishing
Guide fails to provide anglers with the information
they need to make intelligent choices about protecting
their families' health. Now the Engler Administration
has the audacity to imply that fishing license vendors
should not distribute EPA's advisory," said Wayne
Schmidt, director of the National Wildlife Federation's
Great Lakes office in Ann Arbor.

     The EPA last month advised Michigan's sport
anglers, particularly women of child-bearing age and
children, to limit or avoid eating certain Great Lakes
fish that the state of Michigan deems safe. The
stricter advice is being sent by the federal agency to
everyone who bought a fishing license in Michigan last
year and to fishing license sellers.

     In response, on March 20 the Michigan Department
of Community Health sent a letter to fishing license
sellers, telling them that the EPA advisory is not
accurate. It concluded, "While we cannot ask you to
ignore the information you will receive from the EPA,
we do want to let you know that we do not agree with
their recommendations." The letter was signed by health
director James K. Haveman, Jr. and K.L. Cool, director
of the Department of Natural Resources.

     The letter is "nothing less than a hint and a wink
that fishing licensing vendors should trash EPA's
advisory and not distribute them," said NWF's Schmidt,
in  letters sent today to Haveman and Cool. "This
suggestion is irresponsible and a disservice to the
people of Michigan."

     In a separate letter to the agencies, the Michigan
Environmental Council (MEC) and Michigan Environmental
Health Coalition (MEHC) reminded the officials that
Engler's own scientists have reviewed the more
restrictive fish advice and found it protective.

     MEC president Lana Pollack said, "It's hard to
believe that the state's top health officer is telling
women and children they should risk eating contaminated
fish when doctors say it can mean lower IQs and
impaired neurological development for the next
generation of Michigan's children."
     
     "The Engler Administration is not only defying its
own experts and every other state in the region, it is
also attempting to deny parents public health
information vital to protecting their children," said
Mary Beth Doyle, Coordinator of the MEHC in Ann Arbor.


     The nation's largest member-supported conservation
group, the National Wildlife Federation unites people
from all walks of life to protect nature, wildlife and
the world we all share. NWF has educated and inspired
families to uphold America's conservation tradition
since 1936. Its common-sense approach to environmental
protection brings individuals, organizations and
governments together to ensure a brighter future for
people and wildlife.

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