Tittabawassee River Watch EditorialBack to editorial page
Gary Henry 05/08/04
5/08/04 MDEQ under attack yet continues to do the right thing: Protect the public
Michigan's DEQ is under attack for protecting the public from corporate polluters. According to a Detroit News article [more], "Some Republican state representatives want to limit Michigans environmental regulatory agency, which they describe as overly bureaucratic, power hungry and filled with "rogue" field agents who intimidate property owners" ... Democratic Rep. Chris Kolb of Ann Arbor said the House Republicans who want to reform the DEQ are emphasizing property rights over the publics right to a safe environment. "They believe private interest overrides the public, but the public is all of us ... and the air and water we all use," Kolb said. "Theyre bringing out the heavy artillery when a letter to the director would work."
In TRW's opinion, these legislatures want to return to the old Engler days when the DEQ's "client" was big business/private interest groups and public health concerns enemy number 1.
Yet despite this adversity, the MDEQ continues to do what is right and urges Saginaw County to pull the plug on large events scheduled for Imerman Park, especially if the activity involves people sitting or laying on the ground, young children, or sports activities which disturb the soil. Dioxin levels as high as 1,400 TEQ have been measured at the surface in the areas where these activities would occur. In addition, a flood event in the spring of 2004 flushed contaminated river sediment all over the park making contact with the soil almost unavoidable [click here for 40 photo's].
"Rouge agents"? In TRW's experience over the last 2 years, MDEQ and MDCH field staff have proven themselves time and time again to be conscientious, dedicated, and compassionate professionals. Some have taken great personal risk's to keep the public informed. In our opinion, the attack on the MDEQ is being orchestrated by big corporate polluters such as Dow Chemical. The local state representatives that accuse environmentalist of having a "political" agenda are probably the same individuals behind the political attack on the MDEQ. Ask your State & Federal representatives if they have ever worked for Dow Chemical or it's subsidiaries in any capacity, own significant shares of Dow stock, accepted Dow political campaign fund contributions, or married into the Dow family tree. Then ask them to state their position on the current movement to restrict MDEQ's budget and authority. You will not be surprised by their answers, assuming they would even respond. Click on these links for Representative contact information and voting records.
We are at risk of losing one of the best DEQ departments in the country. Rumor
has it another Dow campaign is underway at the Federal level where attempts are being made
to influence the EPA and it's relationship with the MDEQ, stay tuned...
The DEQ & DCH needs your support, please write or email them with a few comments supporting their public health initiatives. You might also want to copy the EPA's Adminstrator, Mike Leavitt, click here for contact info.
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Michigan Department of Community Health
Steven Chester, Director
Janet Olszewski, Director
525 West Allegan Street Sixth Floor, Lewis Cass Building
P.O. Box 30473 320 South Walnut Street
Lansing, MI 48909-7973 Lansing, Michigan 48913
(517) 373-7917 (517)-373-3740
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