Miller calls for governor to restore Great Lakes funding
By Kate Hessling
Huron Daily Tribune
Published November 12, 2007
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, late last week called on Gov. Jennifer Granholm to restore the $250,000 the governor previously vetoed, that would have funded various water monitoring programs in Southeast Michigan.
“I was proud to vote this week to override the President’s veto of legislation that would help protect the Great Lakes because his veto was wrong,” Miller said in a statement released Friday. “Gov. Granholm is now also on the wrong side of protecting the Great Lakes.”
The congresswoman’s statement was in response to Granholm’s veto of section 1103 of Enrolled House Bill 4358.
Section 1103 provided $250,000 to further develop the comprehensive water monitoring program in the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, Clinton River and Detroit River watershed.
In her statement, Miller said Granholm used her line-item veto to strike the provision from the operating budget of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
“The impact of (Granholm’s) veto — the only veto in the (DEQ’s) budget, would be to set back this important effort whose main purpose is to protect the drinking water for millions of people in Southeast Michigan,” Miller said in her statement. “I urge the Michigan Legislature to take whatever action necessary to restore this critical funding that was stripped by the governor’s actions.” Miller previously secured $1 million in federal funding to help communities establish a water quality monitoring system in Macomb and St. Clair counties. This federal/local partnership has been used to establish water quality monitoring devices at strategic points in the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair.
The project has been widely hailed as a national model of successful partnerships between federal and local governments, Miller said in her statement.
Miller’s statement said because of the increasing occurrences of chemical spills and sewage overflows, the placement and operation of these devices allow water officials to notify residents of any contaminants entering the drinking water supply.
There have been more than 1,000 recorded chemical spills in the last decade in Michigan as well as numerous sewage overflows, according to Miller’s statement. As such, the water quality monitoring systems and the funding to support them is critical.
In an e-mail, Liz Boyd, Granholm’s press secretary, said no one is more concerned about protecting the Great Lakes than Gov. Granholm.
“That is one reason why this project has been funded every year since 2004,” Boyd said. “But given the local agencies have failed to spend the money that was appropriated last year, this funding was not needed.”