Residents concerned about "Live Fire" practice along Lake Michigan
Posted December 7, 2006
The coast guard says each year, more than 430,000 rounds of ammunition could be fired into the Great Lakes during the live fire practice.
The training affects all of the Great Lakes including areas near Ludington , Muskegon and Benton Harbor in Lake Michigan.
The chief concern for many people is the lead contamination from all that ammunition.
"We're talking about very large amounts up to 7 thousand pounds of lead every year going into the Great Lakes" said attorney Marc Fink. Fink represents citizens for environmental enforcement from Duluth, Minnesota. The group plans on filing a clean water citizens act lawsuit.
Fink was invited to this brainstorming session in Spring Lake, where concerned citizens have a laundry list of questions and concerns.
"Lead is a hazardous waste material," said Randy Wilson of Spring Lake. Jeff Wilkinson also of Spring Lake echoed a concern for the environment. "If you're going to do this much training out there you're going to use huge amounts of diesel fuel."
In October, the Coast Guard held public meetings about their live fire proposal their own study concluded "no elevated risks" to the ecosystem but the residents are also concerned how live fire practice would affect safety and tourism.
"We have the Ferry, we have pleasure boaters, and Granholm is trying to bring the tourism back, WZZM just did a beautiful segment on our waterways, we have some of the most beautiful freshwater lakes, the Great Lakes," said Suella Bailey of Harbor Town in Muskegon.
Residents are unsure if they too will file a lawsuit but they say it's imperative to explore options and ask questions.