Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Gunfire on the Great...
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Gunfire on the Great Lakes

Rep. Bart Stupak - November 30th, 2006
Earlier this month, at my prompting, the Coast Guard held a public meeting in Charlevoix to discuss its proposal to
establish 34 live gunfire training zones on our Great Lakes. The Charlevoix meeting brought to my attention a number of
reservations held by my constituents. While I recognize the importance of ensuring adequate training for Coast Guard personnel, these concerns should be addressed before this new proposal is adopted.
The Coast Guard’s initial plan to notify the public
via marine band radio and the federal register, demonstrates a bureaucratic mindset that is out of touch with the boating public. For many boaters, marine band radio is not their primary source of nautical information
and few people read the federal register.
To address this problem, I worked to include a provision in this year’s Homeland Security Appropriations bill that requires the Coast Guard put the word out by notifying harbormasters and local media of upcoming live fire exercises. While this minimal requirement is a step in the right direction, it is disconcerting that it required an act of Congress for the Coast Guard to provide adequate public notification.
Beyond notification, I am concerned that these zones are located in high traffic areas and will affect boating, fishing, and other activities on the Great Lakes. One of the zones covers part of the route used by the Beaver Island Ferry. Requiring the Beaver Island Ferry, as well as other boat traffic, to divert their course could increase fuel costs and travel time, possibly increase ticket prices and even reduce tourism to Beaver Island. Placing live fire zones in other heavily trafficked areas will also further endanger commercial and recreational mariners.
There are also environmental concerns. The training exercises will result in 7,000 pounds of lead being dumped into our Great Lakes each year. That is more lead than the entire state of Michigan and all of its industries and pollution sources emit to surface waters every year. The Coast Guard should conduct additional studies on the consequences of significantly increasing the amount of lead in the Great Lakes before moving forward.
We should also examine using
“green ammunition,” which is an environmentally friendly alternative to lead bullets. The environmental effects of the Coast Guard’s plan might be mitigated if the Coast Guard used this substitute to lead bullets.
Other excellent points were raised during the Charlevoix meeting. For instance, representatives of Native American tribes have not been consulted. The Coast Guard is required to consult the tribes because Great Lakes waters are held in trust for the tribes by the federal government.
We must also be careful that the Coast Guard does not run afoul of international treaties regarding the use and amount of weaponry allowed on the Great Lakes.
The citizens also asked the Coast Guard, “Why now?” Why, five years after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, does the Coast Guard need increased fire power on the Great Lakes? Is there an imminent threat that requires increased weaponry on the Great Lakes? Does the Coast Guard really need all 34 zones on the Great Lakes? As these citizens’ questions were left unanswered by the Coast Guard, I will be following up with the Coast Guard.
As co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus and founder of the Law
Enforcement Caucus, I understand the need for security at our nation’s borders. Our government has no greater responsibility than protecting its citizens. To the extent the Coast Guard’s live fire proposal helps prepare them for that task, it is worthy of discussion. Nonetheless, there remain a number of unanswered questions that the Coast Guard should address
before rushing to begin live fire training on the Lakes.

Congressman Bart Stupak (D) represents the 1st Congressional District.
 
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