The People Pro® Blog

WE Energies Defends Dumping Mercury in Lake Michigan

By Barbara Bartlein, RN, MSW

Apparently my previous post on WE Energies dumping mercury in Lake Michigan hit a nerve as I received an email from Brendan Conway, Manager Media Relations for WEC Energy Group.  He outlines in his message that WE Energies "are not asking to be treated differently than anyone else along the lake."  He states that other permitteees(?)  along Lake Michigan have received similar variances. 

So other folks are also dumping and that gives WE Energies permission to dump away?  Sounds like children in the school yard justifying bullying because "everyone is doing it."  Lake Michigan is one of the largest sources of fresh water for millions of people but it is OK to pollute it because everyone is doing it?  Better try again WE Energies.

Mr. Conway then quoted Jason Knutson, wastewater chief for the DNR, stating that there are "technical limitations in how much mercury can be removed by wastewater treatment systems."  Yes, Mr. Knutson parrots the position of WE Energies.  In fact, he agreed to more dumping by WE Energies before a public hearing was even held. If WE Energies can't treat wastewater effectively, why were there ever given permission to build along the shore of Lake Michigan?

Mr. Conway wanted to know if I have any questions.  Here is what I submitted.  

1.  Do you believe that it is ethical and/or moral to dump toxic chemicals including mercury, arsenic, selenium and other hard metals into one of the greatest supplies of fresh water for millions of people?

2. How long has WE Energies known that they were dumping increased amounts of mercury for the last ten years?

3.  What is WE Energies plan including budget for cleaning up the toxins that they have dumped into Lake Michigan?

I have not received a response.

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