ESCANABA - Gary McDowell, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House in Michigan's 1st District, stopped in Escanaba Friday as part of his "Our Lakes, Our Livelihood" tour of Northern Michigan and the U.P.
"We've been talking about the importance of the Great Lakes," said McDowell. "Of course it defines us in Michigan, the Great Lakes defines us as a people, but also the importance economically."
According to a study by the University of Michigan, 1.5 million U.S. jobs are provided by the Great Lakes. In Michigan alone the Lakes provide 525,886 jobs.
"We have to protect the Great Lakes. It's so important, not just for our natural beauty and recreational purposes but also for our economic viability," said McDowell.
According to McDowell, U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek is not protecting the Great Lakes. "One recent vote was to allow more mercury contamination and pollution into the Great Lakes," said McDowell.
In 2011, Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, voted to nullify existing EPA rules for cement plant emissions and to develop new rules which would go into effect in 2017. "Benishek, what his plan is there would be no rules on the Great Lakes for the next five years. No regulation. ..."
They can dump whatever they want out there under his plan," said McDowell.