From 1990 until 1995, Michigan had the strongest “polluter pay” law in the country. If a corporation was responsible for contaminating our land, air, or water, that corporation was also responsible for cleaning up the mess they made. In 1995 the administration of former Governor John Engler, backed by their allies at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, gutted the polluter pay law, and funding for environmental cleanups in Michigan has suffered ever since.
In 1990, when Michigan established our polluter pay law, we were leading the way in environmental protection. Other states looked to Michigan as an example of how to fairly and fully protect our natural resources from corporate polluters. Today we are no longer a leader in environmental protection. There are contaminated sites across our state that have gone unaddressed for too long. The current PFAS crisis, the Gelman 1,4 dioxane plume in Ann Arbor, and increasing algal blooms in the Great Lakes from nutrient pollution are all warnings that we must do more.
Right now there are hundreds of contaminated sites in Michigan that were contaminated by corporate polluters, and yet Michigan taxpayers are on the hook to pay for cleanups. In February Senator Jeff Irwin and Representative Yousef Rabhi introduced bills in the State Legislature to reinstate a strong polluter pay law for Michigan. These bills would go a long way towards ensuring that contaminated sites are addressed quickly and thoroughly, and that corporate polluters are paying for the damage they cause.
Please join us in asking Michigan State Senators and Representatives to support these common-sense bills, and asking Senator Rick Outman and Representative Gary Howell to hold hearings on these bills in their respective committees.