Smiley, Faris: State should back ‘green’ laws

BURTON — State Rep. Charles Smiley (D-50th District) and Pam Faris (D), candidate for 48th district Michigan House of Representatives, held a press conference at Kelly Lake Monday morning to address the restoring of Michigan’s polluter pay laws, which included increased oversight and accountability for corporations.

Smiley said the government has the responsibility to keep the corporations in line.

According to Smiley, House Republicans passed laws in January 2011 that weaken Michigan’s government oversight of corporations’ cleanup of polluted sites.

Public Act 190 of 2012 reduces the state’s oversight of companies that are supposed to clean up after they pollute the groundwater with toxins that harm lakes and streams. The law also eliminates the requirement for polluters to hold public hearings about hazardous substances.

Smiley said this greatly reduces residents’ rights to know what is in their drinking water.

Public Act 108-113 of 2012 “hinders” the state’s ability to require companies with leaking underground storage tanks to prove they have, in fact, cleaned up contamination.

Smiley said these acts put families’ health at risk.

There are about 7,000 known sites with leaking underground tanks in Michigan.

Jack Minore, a board member and past leader for the Flint River Water Shed Coalition, said since the Clean Water Act of 1972 — an act that was a response to the nearly unchecked dumping of pollution into waterways —the Flint River is about as clean as Lake Huron.

Minore said that because of the regulations of the Clean Water Act a Flint-based Coca-Cola plant cleaned up toxins within a week after dumping small amounts of syrup in a creek that led into the river.

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