Michigan’s Toxic Dilemma

from Wildlife Promise

Oiled muskrat in Michigan after oil spill

Oiled muskrat after Michigan oil spill, April 2010

I’m a Michigan native, and even I was shocked to read the news today that we have 11,000 contaminated toxic hotspots & little money to clean them up:

Experts say the state is at a crossroads: It has more than 11,000 contaminated sites and leaky underground storage tanks, many without owners, and can’t keep using Band-Aids to fix them. [...]

The state is out of money from two voter-approved bond issues that were used to clean up contamination for the last 22 years.

One of my first thoughts was, how many are in my backyard? And my next thought was, how many people know about this?

For the last few decades, Michigan has been using quick-fix approaches to clean and restore these sites. But sadly, at a time when we need to have big solutions to fix this problem, we’re left with even fewer resources to do it. The Detroit Free Press did a full page spread, illustrating the need for an all hands-on-deck approach.

What’s the solution for this massive undertaking? Some conservation groups believe a 3/8 cent sales tax is a good start. Over 25 years, this fund would provide millions of dollars for environmental protection & cleanups. It’s critical for the health of our natural resources, Great Lakes, people & wildlife that we participate in the discussion to find a solution.

I can’t imagine reading another headline in 20 years that says “Michigan has 25,000 toxic spots, with no money for cleanup.” Can you?