Sunday, July 27, 2008

Can We Stop Another Michigan Environmental Disaster?

The Upper Peninsula is hours away from Central Michigan, but we know what it is like to have polluted rivers around here. Millions of our taxpayer dollars have been spent to clean up the chemical stew lining the bottom of the Pine River and activists are working hard to force Dow Chemical to clean up its mess on the Tittabawassee River that feeds into the Saginaw Bay where eating too many fish could be a serious health problem.

Now another huge corporation could cause Michigan and Wisconsin to clean up another mess. No, it's not in our neighborhood. It's not even close to us like the messes in Alma or Midland. We don't have the opportunity to create a metallic sulphide mine in our area that might create jobs for less than a decade and then leave behind a nightmare.

Eric Hansen writes touchingly in the Milwaukee Journal about this disaster in the making that has no immediate impact on Central Michigan.

But the truth is we are all affected because if we don't assure that federal and state regulators demand full compliance with environmental regulations, we will all pay for another environmental disaster recovery operation cleaning up the mess. Robert Kennedy Jr. points out in his writing and his speeches that we need to demand that the total costs of pollution must be factored into every corporate decision with an environmental impact. We've learned that lesson well here about our rivers and ground water.

You have to wonder why after just agreeing to a Great Lakes compact to protect the largest body of fresh water on the planet, we would allow any corporation to do anything but provide 100% guarantees that taxpayers won't be stuck again.

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