Democrats co-sponsor Great Lakes bill
By Deb Price
Published December 20, 2007
The three Democratic presidential candidates representing Great Lakes states in Congress are co-sponsors of legislation that would restore the unique water body by cleaning up toxic hot spots, upgrading sewage systems to reduce accidental and emergency overflows, expanding wetlands and stopping invasive species.
They are Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio.
In addition, Clinton and Obama recently signed a pledge designed by a bipartisan group of members of Congress to fund the Great Lakes cleanup, estimated to cost at least $20 billion, and appoint a Cabinet-level official to oversee the effort.
After signing the pledge, Obama promised that if he's elected president the cleanup "will receive real support, real financial resources, and real leadership from the federal government."
As a result of Michigan's controversial step to set its primary early, the only top-tier Democratic candidate whose name will appear on the ballot is Clinton. Three others will join her: Kucinich, Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel.
The Democratic field is especially sensitive to the Great Lakes issue because at least four of the Great Lakes states -- Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania -- are historically hotly contested states in which the Democrats need to do well, to win the White House.
On other issues of importance to Michigan voters, Clinton has promised to stop Yucca Mountain as the nation's nuclear dump, citing "far too many unanswered questions" about the geography of the site.
Michigan has relied on nuclear power since 1962, and two of its four sites that have or are now producing nuclear energy commercially -- Big Rock Point and Palisades -- are storing radioactive leftovers outdoors.
The temporary storage casks were only intended to store waste for about 100 years, and environmentalists worry about potential leaks or attacks by terrorists.
Obama also opposes Yucca Mountain, as does John Edwards, who reversed his onetime support for the site.
A new voters guide by the nonpartisan League of Conservation Voters points out that the entire Democratic presidential field is committed to addressing global warming.
Some scientists warn that global warming will lead to lower water levels in the Great Lakes.