Challenger Questions Hune's Environmental Sincerity

July 16, 2014

Challenger Questions Hune

7/16/14 - A local lawmaker’s sincerity in opposing a local gravel mine is being called into question by his opponent in November. State Senator Joe Hune recently issued a letter opposing a plan by McCoig Materials to operate a gravel mine in Lyndon Township near Chelsea. The Hamburg Township Republican says it would negatively impact the quality of the environment in the area. That rings hollow for his Democratic challenger for the 22nd Senate District in November. Brighton attorney Shari Pollesch says Hune’s opposition follows years of supporting legislation that have deprived municipalities of the ability to ban such activities. She also noted that the area the gravel mine is located will be new to Hune’s district. "He felt he carved out a safe seat for himself...and he's probably hearing from the community in western Washtenaw...that they are environmentalists and they are not going to vote for someone who is not an environmentalist and he's finally waking up to the idea that his seat is not as safe as he thinks it is." Hune says his support of legislation defining drilling and mining rights has always allowed communities to make a legal case that such operations should be prohibited if they posed “very serious consequences.” He adds that his opposition to the Lyndon Township proposal is nothing out of the ordinary and came at the request of a resident. "In fact, I have a constituent who asked me to write a letter in opposition to the gravel mine because I did testify and said I was there for whatever the community of Chelsea needs in terms of this issue and that's exactly what I did," Hune recently co-sponsored legislation that would give municipalities more freedom to ban such operations, including the controversial practice known as “fracking.” But Pollesch says that was insincere also, as Hune is betting the legislation won’t be passed by the GOP-controlled legislature and that even if it were, it would likely be overturned by the courts. Hune labeled that charge as election year negative campaigning. Meanwhile, Pollesch says she plans to testify at a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality hearing tonight in Lansing about fracking. Environmental groups have urged the state to increase fracking regulations, which they say poses an environmental threat to lakes and rivers because it uses large amounts of water. Pollesch says she plans to call for a requirement that companies engaged in fracking post a bond in line with the risk that it poses to local communities. The hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Lansing Center, 333 East Michigan Avenue, Lansing. (JK)

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