Friday, December 23, 2011

Letter: Give Earth a break

Editor's Note: This letter is a comment on our Dec. 16, 2011, article, "Dems turn out for Congressional Candidate Gary McDowell at fundraiser in Hancock."

IRON COUNTY, Mich. -- I’m sure Gary McDowell is a fine person but I feel he is a fence walker.

Asked about whether he agreed with the platform of the League of Conservation Voters, McDowell said he believes in a proper balance between economic opportunities and environmental protection.

"It's not either or," he said. "We have to protect the environment. We can do it. We've done it in the past and we have to continue to do that."

We have not protected our environment in the past. Yes, laws were passed, but the laws were written to let potential polluters legally pollute. The cumulative effects of the pollution are showing ever increasing signs of negative health effects. The dangers are more prevalent today with the mining and possible nuclear dump sites.

So, it is a matter of "either or." It’s time to give the Earth a break. Governments and politicians have catered to industry for at least a century. The dream of prosperity has denigrated our lives.

As stated in the article:

Toward the end of his talk, Gary McDowell answers a question on the Rio Tinto / Kennecott Eagle Mine, noting the importance of funding the Department of Environmental Quality to see that it's done right.

Well, can’t argue that but I would like to elaborate.

I called McDowell’s office with concerns others and I had with the Eagle Mine. He and nine other State Representatives were sent an e-mail detailing how the DEQ ignored enforcing the law, Part 632. As you may or may not know, the Eagle Project is proceeding full speed ahead. All the money in the world does not mean things will be done right if the law is not enforced.

If Mr. McDowell wins he can say all he wants about the DEQ. He will be in the Federal Government and will not have any control over the DEQ. McDowell had his chance as a State Representative.

I realize politicians need to say things in ambiguous appealing ways to get votes or stay in office. It’s the voters who should hold the politicians responsible.

I guess we need to ask ourselves if we are satisfied with "either or." Maybe we need to change the dream. Change the dream or at least have a common definition of the word prosperity in which the health of the Earth is foremost. With a healthy Earth all the rest will fall into place.

Rich Sloat
Iron County, Mich.

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