Huckleberry calls for restoring environmental cleanup laws

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 11:54 am on Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mike Huckleberry delivers a speech at Jackson’s Lansing Park in Greenville on Monday morning on the topic of restoration of cleanup laws involving corporations in Michigan. — Daily News/Cory Smith

GREENVILLLE — Mike Huckleberry may not have received the turnout he was hoping for while standing on the bank of the Flat River preparing to deliver a speech, but he didn’t let a small audience prevent him from delivering a statement on what he believes to be a big issue.

Standing alongside the river at Jackson’s Landing Park in Greenville, the Democratic candidate for the 70th district of the Michigan House of Representatives said as long as one person stood to hear his message on holding corporate polluters accountable, his time was well spent Monday morning.

“People in Michigan are proud of our woods and waters,” said Huckleberry in front of his campaign manager, one member of his campaign team and one concerned citizen. “They create economic opportunity and recreation for our families and draw millions of visitors to our state each year. That’s why we can’t afford to let corporations dirty them with toxins and garbage.”

Huckleberry cited the Enbridge oil spill on the Kalamazoo River in 2010 as an example of corporate pollution that he said he doesn’t want to see happening locally or anywhere else in the state again.

“Lansing politicians have to hold polluters accountable, but they’re not doing their job,” he said.

According to Huckleberry, Public Act 190 and Public Acts 108-113, laws that have been passed since January 2011, are directly to blame for creating a scenario that “would weaken our state’s government oversight of corporations’ cleanup of polluted sites.”

Huckleberry said those laws “eliminate the requirement that polluters hold public hearings about hazardous substances,” as well as “hinder the state’s ability to require that companies with leaking underground storage tanks show they have actually cleaned up contamination.”

Huckleberry closed his speech by stating that incumbent Rep. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, who Huckleberry is running against in the general election on Nov. 6, voted for bills that would effectively allow polluters to keep polluting Michigan’s Great Lakes, forests and rivers.

Huckleberry said if elected, he would hold polluters accountable.

“We can’t let Lansing politicians ruin the natural resources people depend on,” he said. “Our rivers and woods are just too important. What we need is a representative in Lansing who knows that our water and land must be protected.”

Greenville resident Adam Ellsworth, a recent graduate of Alma College who studied communication and environmental studies, attended Huckleberry’s speech, wanting to hear what he had to say on the environment.

“I’ve spent my entire life in this district and now that it includes the town where I went to college and where I went to high school, there’s no better time to try and get involved,” Ellsworth said. “I think that the environment impacts people profoundly. I grew up just around the corner here, collecting rocks and bugs, and I think that it is critically important that we balance the needs for preservation of places like the Flat River with the needs of our economy.”

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