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Southeastern Michigan Environmental Resource Association (smera)

Southeastern Michigan Environmental Resource Association (smera) image
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Agenda Publications
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First of a Series In the November 8 election, the voters of Michigan in their peculiar wisdom and generosity approved $660 million in environmental bonds, with some $440 million for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to play with when implementing Act 307, the Michigan Environmental Response Act (MERA), concerned with identifying and cleaning up environmental contamina tion sites around the state. Considering DNR's spotty, reckless, haphazard, and zany record to date with Act 307, throwing all this money at DNR without strict controls and eagle-eyed monitoring is like giving too much candy to a big fat baby. Forgive me for saying so, but dribbling all that dough on DNR is the same as handing your last ten bucks to an amiable, thirsty, impecunious drunk for safekeeping. When DNR sets forth in pursuit of messy Michigan businesses, like Carry Nation with her little hatchet, what we might expect is a cleaner state, but what we of ten get is a bigger mess. And we also get more businesses - and jobs - despairing at the overflow of bureaucratie "bullsh" (an Aussie contraction linguists should have no difficulty translating) and setting sails for the sunset. One somehow thinks of Will Rogers worried comment about federal legisla tors and makes an automatic extrapolation to DNR: "This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as we do when the baby gets hold of a hammer." Act 307 wasn't intended as a hammer on the head of Michigan business, yet thafs often the case in the fickle and harebrained approach taken by some of the good folks at DNR. Before going further, let me introduce myself. You probably don't know me unless your recent bedside, poolside, fireside, or far side reading included William Harrison Ainsworth's 1841 historical novel, OU St. Paui's. I appear memorably in that estimable work as a voice of reason, though some called me a wild fanatic, urging the plaguestricken people of 17th century London to repent, repent. Early in the 20th century, Sir John Squire borrowed my identity for an outspoken literary column in the New Statesman. Sir John wrote, "The pseudonym, 'Solomon Eagle I may explain, is not intended to posit any claim to unusual wisdom or abnormally keen sight. The original bearer of the name was a poor maniac who, during the Great Plague of London, used to run naked through the street, with a pan of coals of fire on his head, crying 'Repent, Repent.'" "Maniac," I of course resent. As for the coals, London, the same as Michigan in December, is often chilly. The Southeastern Michigan Environmental Resource Association (SMERA), a group of citizens concerned about responsible maintenance and management of the Michigan environment, has asked me to alert you to urgent problems facing us in this state just as I did in London during the 17th century. They called me a fanatic then. So cali Solomon Eagle what you will as I again take to the streets, running through Michigan to warn the people. Today DNR - and others - visit modern plagues of fear, ignorance, contempt, and villainy upon the people, towns, and businesses of this state. Their perf idies must be reported and will be in this monthly series. Watch here for Solomon Eagle's next letter. Meanwhile, "Dissent, Dissent" when self-proclaimed "defenders of the environment" use government clout with the pretense of cleaning you up when what they really want to do is to clean you out. Sponsored by POST OFFICE BOX 3165 ANN ARBOR, Ml 48106-9998


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