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Sue Allor visits Washington, D.C.

State rep invited to Trump speech on environment

Courtesy Photo State Rep. Sue Allor, R-Wolverine, is seen in front of the White House earlier this week. Allor, who represents Northeast Michigan, accepted an invitation from the White House to listen to comments President Donald Trump made about his concerns and goals regarding the environment.

ALPENA — Northern Michigan has its share of environmental concerns, and state Rep. Sue Allor, R-Wolverine, has advocated for more to be done to protect the Great Lakes and to get more assistance in the effort to clean up multiple contaminated sites in the 106th state House District.

Earlier this week, Allor was invited to Washington to attend a speach on environmental issues by President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House. Although Allor only received the invitation last week, some last-minute shuffling of schedule allowed Allor to attend.

During his comments, Allor said, Trump focused on many environmental matters, including forest management to help limit large forest fires and the effects algae blooms in the nation’s lakes and rivers have on economics, tourism and water health. She said she was hoping Trump would address the contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, which is a growing issue around the nation and in Northeast Michiagn, but he didn’t.

Allor said attendees were not allowed to ask questions or respond with comments, so she couldn’t bring the matter up to him.

“Obviously, I would have liked for him to address this issue, and I had hoped to tell him that Michigan needs help with this issue and we need funding from the feds to address it,” Allor said. “We need that funding here in the district for places like the base in Alpena and the former base in Oscoda.”

Both locations have been contaminated with PFAS from the use of firefighting foam which was used for training or firefighting duties. In Oscoda, a large plume of the chemicals have left the base and impacted drinking water and a nearby lake.

Small traces of the chemicals were found in well tests conducted in Alpena, but none exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency health advisory.

According to Allor, the president mentioned the Great Lakes in passing while taking about algae bloom, which has been an issue in Lake Erie for several years, but prevalent in many locations in Florida. Allor said Trump did talk about the importance of making sure water remains clean and safe, which also included the Great Lakes.

Allor said it has been about 25 years since she visited the nation’s capital, and she has never been inside the White House. She said being in Washington is a thrill because of its history and the work the founding fathers had done there to shape our nation.

She said a lot has changed since then, and one of the biggest things she noticed was the number of armed police and security not only at the White House, but off the grounds as well.

“There are so many levels of security now,” she said. “You can visibly see the police with their rifles and then then there are three different check points you need to clear before you can even get into the White House. There are metal detectors, x-rays and scanners there, so it is like going though an airport. It was nice to come back, but, this time, was all business.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpeanews.com.