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SG-W:/ We the People: Broken: The Public Trust
- Subject: SG-W:/ We the People: Broken: The Public Trust
- From: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2000 07:23:54 -0400
FYI, the problem is statewide. People have organized to make their elected
representatives uphold env. laws.
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----- Forwarded by Bruce A Manny/BRD/USGS/DOI on 09/18/00 07:21 AM -----
Blair J Mc
Gowan To: Tom Woiwode <email@example.com>, Lee
<blairj@gatec Tai <firstname.lastname@example.org>, water H2O
om.com> <email@example.com>, Julie Vantine
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Roberta C. Urbani"
09/18/00 <email@example.com>, jim moran
01:34 AM <UEF123@compuserve.com>, Gary Towns
<Townsg@state.mi.us>, Rick & Kathy Marcum
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Aileen/Kenneth Dake
<email@example.com>, Norman/Shirley McRae
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Steve Bakos
<SARGENL2@state.mi.us>, Sam Neph
<email@example.com>, "R. Terry"
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, "R. Spilter"
<RSpitler@aol.com>, Rockne Smith
<Robert.Red.Pine@worldnet.att.net>, Robert Duda
Roderic" <RLeon@kmart.com>, "Ralph Kummler
Ph.D." <email@example.com>, Robert
Hunt <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Geneva Kachman
<email@example.com>, Tom Radtke
<radtke@DWSD.org>, Rader Wilson
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Christopher McBee
<Plantideas@aol.com>, Bill Parkus
<email@example.com>, "Orin G. Gelderloos"
<ogelderl@CA-F1.umd.umich.edu>, Patrick Sutka
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, A friend
<email@example.com>, John <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
natrlist <email@example.com>, Nancy
Andrews <Nancy_Andrews@nps.gov>, M Pitts
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Mary Ann Piatt
<email@example.com>, Friend <Monferrati@aol.com>,
Michael Myckowiak <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Milan
Knezovich <email@example.com>, "Michael J.
Zielinski" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Michael Flowers
<email@example.com>, Julia Meixner
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Jenn Mead
<email@example.com>, lina <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
KeithDebbi Dittman <email@example.com>, Lex
Newman <firstname.lastname@example.org>, BECKY Lentz
<LENTZ@nwf.org>, Larry Arrequin
<Labadip@basf-corp.com>, "Russell G. Kreis"
<KOSTMA@state.mi.us>, Kathy La Pointe
<email@example.com>, Kittie Flannery Graf
<Kittie.Graf@westgroup.com>, Kathleen Law
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, John Gannon
<John_E_Gannon@usgs.gov>, Johno Noorian
<email@example.com>, aa friend
<JjayI3@aol.com>, a friedn <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
friend of Humbug 2 <email@example.com>, Jerry Mc
Clain <Jerry_McClain@mail.fws.gov>, Jenny Wilson
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Jennifer Nalbone
<email@example.com>, "Jim Bull, Ph. D."
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Ingo Hasserodt
<email@example.com>, Pat Hartig
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Brian Sharkey
<Gtcatering@hotmail.com>, Steve Gronda
<email@example.com>, Greg McDuffee
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, George Mans
<email@example.com>, George Jaworski
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, John Covert
<email@example.com>, Field <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Jim
Tracy Zander <email@example.com>, Edward Neubecker
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Ed/Hamne Hughes
<email@example.com>, friend of humbug marsh
<EEShldgtre@aol.com>, David Varitek
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Matt LaFleur
<email@example.com>, Douglas Thiel
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Dan Rose <email@example.com>,
Doug Spencer <Doug_Spencer@mail.fws.gov>, Don
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Don Griffin
<email@example.com>, "D. Gilmore"
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Dan Gertise
<email@example.com>, "Dennis L. Gronda"
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Dave Heatherly
Regina Cooper <email@example.com>, Teo Olmedo
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Clintina/John Simms
<email@example.com>, a friend <CHIK4@aol.com>,
Toni Cline <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Charles Bristol
<email@example.com>, Bruce Manny
<Bruce_Manny@usgs.gov>, Mark Breederland
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Bruce Jones
<email@example.com>, Katie Mans Gorno
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Ann Kratzer
<email@example.com>, Chris Nowak
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, allen licari
<email@example.com>, Al Raymond
<Robert.Red.Pine@worldnet.att.net>, Jane Mackey
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Wendy & Carl Pate
<email@example.com>, Lisa Tulen
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, "M. Baldwin"
<email@example.com>, M Cherman
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Jay Rynberg
<email@example.com>, Piatt Mary at work Ann
<Mary.Ann.Piatt@irs.gov>, "Neubecker, Edward
(E.W.)" <ENEUBEC1@visteon.com>, Douglas Thiel
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Trenton Friend of the River
<email@example.com>, Janet Zilka
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Michael A. Payne"
<email@example.com>, Patricia Hartig
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, John Hartig
Subject: We the People: Broken: The Public
The Michigan Land Institute has published their latest issue. A glossy
magazine with lots of stories about efforts across the State to save
places like Humbug Marsh.
It records wins and losses. Techniques that work. A warning about
"Guarding Your Master Plan". Some familiar faces and names are in the
issue. But many more that are news to us. The fact is that there are
"Humbug Marsh" all across the state.
And the articles point the finger un-erringly at the culprits.
If you can't open up this page, you can call the MLI and join or get a
There's a big fight a brewing. Get ready! We need all the cudgels we can
Prev | Next
Georgia Boerma, who is 70 now and doesn't look it,
brushed aside the low-lying, tangled oak and maple
branches and then set deep foot prints down in the
wavering spine of a coastal dune north of St.
Joseph. Nowhere else in the world do sand and
forest, fresh water and blue sky converge as
magically as they do in the high dunes that rise
steeply, like sculpted sentinels, from Lake
Mrs. Boerma, a talkative and friendly mother and
grandmother, spent most of her life in this region.
She easily finds the words to describe the joy and
urgent calling she feels for this part of the world.
Mrs. Boerma's ready vocabulary fails her, however,
when it comes to describing why she and her
neighbors have spent nearly three years trying to
stop state regulators from giving a mining company
the right to strip 70 acres of forest and haul away
this 10,000-year-old ridge of sand, which is a
state-protected critical dune.
Her eyes grow restive and darken. "You know," she
remarks, "things really have changed. Our state
government doesn't seem to care anymore. Just look
at what's going on here. If it wasn't for people
like us, this would all be gone."
Indeed, since 1996 Mrs. Boerma and the 750-member,
non-profit group Preserve the Dunes have put their
lives on hold and their personal finances on the
line in an expensive court challenge to force the
state to do its job. Perhaps no grassroots
environmental dispute with state government better
crystallizes Michigan's vastly changed attitude
about its responsibility to nature, or helps to
explain why thousands of people like Georgia Boerma
are now compelled to take up new roles as grassroots
Bending the Rules
Like many, Mrs. Boerma and her neighbors thought the
law and the regulators charged with enforcing it
would protect them. And, in fact, the Department of
Natural Resources in 1995 denied the mining company,
Technisand, a permit to expand because it did not
qualify for an exemption in the 1976 Sand Dune
Protection and Management Act.
But on April 1, 1996, six months after Gov. John
Engler carved away the DNR's enforcement divisions
to establish a separate Department of Environmental
Quality ? answerable only to him ? the new agency
sent Technisand a letter inviting the company to
resubmit its application. "There have been many
changes in state government," the new agency's
letter read, "and the DNR/DEQ in particular." On
November 25, 1996, the DEQ issued the company a
permit to mine in the protected critical dune area.
DEQ spokesman Ken Silfven told the Detroit News that
"our interpretation of the statute is correct and
appropriate." But Thomas R. Fette, attorney for
Preserve the Dunes, isn't convinced. "Nothing else
changed ? not the law, the company, or the mine,"
said Mr. Fette. "The only thing that was different
from 1995 to 1996 was that the new DEQ interpreted
the law in a way that promoted mining at the expense
of the environment.
"If you look at what's unfolded here," he continued,
"you reach a number of conclusions. And the most
important is that there was a conscious political
decision in the 1990s to make environmental law
enforcement more business friendly. This case is a
poster child for what happened."
Government Taking Sides
Why would state regulators go out of their way to
circumvent the law? Aren't they supposed to enforce
environmental rules and leave economic development
to the community? That's what Mrs. Boerma and people
across the state want to know as they repeatedly
encounter, at DEQ permit hearings and even local
planning and zoning commission meetings, a general
reluctance among officials to enforce rules that may
"It's not right that citizens have to do the job
that the DEQ is supposed to do," Mrs. Boerma says.
"There's an arrogance there that just makes your
So much blood is boiling in Michigan, in fact, that
from St. Clair Shores and Milan Township in
southeast Michigan to Petoskey and Alpena in the
north, people are forming grassroots organizations
to challenge the troubling non-enforcement trend.
These campaigns are not quite like the earlier
citizen activism of the 1960s and 1970s, which
focused on establishing the basic policies and laws
to clean the air and water, manage toxic wastes, and
protect wildlife. Michigan citizens today are
organizing around efforts to uphold those laws. They
are working to:
? Protect rivers, wetlands, wildlife, and property
rights from lax state permitting.
? Hold local officials to democratically decided
open space zoning provisions.
? Require that state agencies do their legal duty of
notifying and listening to the public.
? Keep watch over polluters, which underfunded and
demoralized agency staff are not monitoring closely.
Less Democracy, More Bureaucracy
The primary opponent these groups face is not big
business, but Big Government weighing in on the side
of private interests over the public's values.
Citizens have always had to keep tabs on government
and wrestle with its bureaucracy. But the public's
watchdog burden grew exponentially during the 1990s
in Michigan and across the country as a new
government-bashing, "regulatory reform" ideology
Instead of making it easier for businesses to comply
with clear and consistently enforced regulations,
the new regulatory pattern has been to relax the
rules, back off enforcement, and obstruct citizens.
Rather than improving government, as the political
rhetoric behind this ideology implied, the record in
Michigan and across the nation shows that
"regulatory reform" actually has eroded the
environmental laws and the democratic processes
that, to date, have made America the envy of the
The rule of law and the public's rights under those
laws are hallmarks of the U.S. regulatory system,
just as similar government rules and public rights
make this country's financial markets among the
world's most trusted. Without these checks and
balances, America's natural resources, just as its
monetary system, are subject to creeping corruption
and easy exploitation.
The threat of such lawlessness in Michigan is real.
Enforcement statistics and a telling pattern of
on-the-ground experiences show that the state's
citizens can no longer rely on the letter of the law
or a seat at the policy table.
"Compliance Assistance": Rhetoric vs. Reality >>
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