It took Michigan’s conservatives years to acknowledge and address Flint’s lead-in-the-water crisis. But they sure as shit jumped on the Plastic Bag Crisis. It’s all about priorities.
Muskegon and Washtenaw counties have been contemplating local regulation on plastic bag waste here in Michigan. And within seconds the same folks who let Flint’s kids endure years of brain and development withering poison from lead tainted water jumped on a statewide ban on banning plastic bags in Michigan.
The same Tea Party, Government-Is-Evil folks running the State of Michigan who wanted Michigan to be run like a business….the same folks who ushered in privatized prison food companies who let employees pass weapons and phones to prisoners while feeding them maggot infested meat...gave us poisoned water in Flint. This same group of folks who abdicated their own roles as folks who Govern suddenly and magically found a new purpose when some counties decided to regulated the sale of plastic bags.
I live here in Muskegon, Michigan. It’s a coastal community along the coast of Lake Michigan. If you haven’t been to the Great Lakes….the coast of Lake Michigan is more like being on the coast of an ocean than a lake. You can’t see across it. Freighters come and go bringing goods from around the world. It’s fucking huge. And Muskegon has the largest deep water port on Lake Michigan. It’s a huge inland lake that was subjected to a century of industrial crap.
We try desperately to clean up this lake and reinvent our community’s image as a post industrial city. And we ARE a post industrial city. Think a smaller Detroit with some of the largest foundries in the country at one point creating engine blocks for almost every automobile in the country. During WWII we created the engine blocks for tanks and our foundaries worked 24/7 creating the machines that beat back the Nazis….and our city paid the price, ecologically and economically and socialogically when the end of the war came.
We are a coastal Great Lakes post industrial community trying to reinvent ourselves and leave behind a legacy of industrialism. And one of our struggles is to keep our waterways clean an clear of a constant barrage of plastic shit littering our shorelines.
Dammit we have all worked our asses off to restore our industrially abused waterways….every year hundreds of volunteers come to clean our shorelines of plastic shit that winds blow into our waters. Year after year after year.
And every year it’s the same shit. Plastic bags. Plastic food containers. Just plain garbage blown in from the winds. So what do we do? We try to regulate the sale of the shit piling up on our shores and what does the State of Michigan do?
Our conservative legislature tries to make a law making it ILLEGAL for our town to regulate plastic waste!!! The same conservative schmoes who pretend to give a crap about local control and government overreach.
Senate Bill 853, introduced by Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, would prevent local communities from instituting bans or putting fees on containers like bags, cups, bottles or packaging. Stamas told the Senate Commerce Committee last month that such a law would create consistency, especially for businesses that operate branches across the state and would have to abide by multiple regulations.
Muskegon had over 20% unemployment during the Great Recession and continues to struggle. This city has been the butt of jokes from surrounding communities as we have struggled with the closure of factories and a crumbling economy. And when we as a city try to make a united efffort to clean up our community and clean up our lakeshore and clean up the glorious nature that our industrial heritage destroyed…..what does the Michigan Republican legislature do? They make it ILLEGAL for us to regulate the very crap piling up on our lakeshores.
Michigan’s conservatives have no moral compass beyond the destructive lobbyists who want to keep things as they are.