Clean Water

Over 10,000 inland lakes in Michigan are so polluted that they are not safe for swimming and fishing. What will you do to protect the state's lakes and streams from the sewage overflow, runoff and toxic emissions that threaten them?

Toxic pollution and sewer overflow prevent people from swimming in many of Michigan's bodies of water. In addition, fish consumption advisories are in effect for over 10,000 polluted inland lakes in the state. Utilities are currently the largest source of mercury and other toxins that poison the waters, while run-off from huge paved lots and destruction of wetlands further endangers Michigan's water quality. Strengthening the Clean Water Act by cracking down on polluted runoff and harmful mercury emissions from power plants could reopen hundreds of Michigan lakes to fishing, swimming or for use as drinking water. Michigan deserves elected officials who will fight for the necessary funding to protect our treasured lakes, streams and rivers.

Suburban Sprawl

Cities and states across the country are increasingly struggling to find ways to preserve open space and curb suburban sprawl. If elected, how would you address Michigan's growth problems?

In Michigan, sprawling suburbs are encroaching on some of the nationís last remaining open spaces. As housing tracts, strip malls, highways and golf courses replace acre after acre of land, cities and states are forced to deal with increased air and water pollution, traffic and a loss of key wildlife habitat. A study undertaken for the Michigan Society of Planning Officials in 1995 reported that if trends continue until 2020, 1.4 to 2 million acres--an area of land larger than the size of 4 Michigan counties--would be converted to residential development alone. Elected officials will certainly be forced to address the issues of suburban sprawl and related open space preservation, land-use planning and transportation well into the 21st century.

Clean Air

How do you propose to work to alleviate the harmful affects of air pollution in the state?

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that air pollution costs Michigan residents over $1.5 billion in health care costs each year. In Michigan, the number of ìOzone Actionî days has steadily increased since 1996. Emissions from older, coal-fired power plants are one of the biggest contributors to air and water pollution problems. However, when given the opportunity to help curb toxic emissions from power plants, the State House, this year, voted against the measure. Another large source of smog and unhealthy air is the emissions from the increasing number of miles driven on Michigan roads. We need elected officials who will support incentives and regulations for cleaner more fuel-efficient vehicles and who are committed to stronger clean air laws.

Factory Farms & Agricultural Waste

Agricultural waste from large, poultry and hog factories has been blamed for polluted drinking water, massive fish kills and large algae blooms in waterways across the United States. How do you propose to reduce this threat to Michigan's water?

Serious water pollution problems in at least 30 states have been linked to inadequate pollution control and lax enforcement of environmental regulations. In Michigan, a 50,000 gallon manure spill was reported on February 11, 2000, gushing liquefied waste into frozen Deer Creek, a tributary of the Grand River. Federal and state environmental regulations are failing to keep up with the rapid growth of factory farms and their resulting pollution. Michigan Governor John Engler recently signed S.B. 205 into law, effectively removing local control over the siting of intensive factory farms in communities. Moreover, the state currently refuses to manage permit processes for farming operations regardless of their size and potential threat. How elected officials at both the federal and state level address this issue, will determine whether Americaís waterways remain healthy for future generations.

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