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Did Mitt Romney Help Lake Michigan’s Polluters?

Lake Michigan has always figured prominently in Mitt Romney’s personal history. During a 2011 visit to Michigan, his wife, Ann, talked about growing up at her family cottage on the lake and spending “all our time swimming” there. She said she celebrated her 16th birthday with Mitt at Michigan’s official summer residence on Mackinac Island, while Mitt’s father, George Romney, was governor. That’s when she says she fell in love.

In certain circles, Romney’s legend as a defender of the lakes is well-established: when John Nevin, a former Michigan environmental official, endorsed Romney’s 2008 presidential bid in the Detroit Free Press, he wrote that Romney was “the only sure bet to restore, protect and sustain our Great Lakes.”

Nevin alluded to the disturbing denigration of the lakes by chemical pollutants, and wrote that Romney “believes the cleanup of these toxic hotspots” has been “far too slow,” bogged down by “legal wrangling.”

But in reality, Romney’s own business career connects him closely to those “toxic hotspots”—in particular, his relations with the two companies primarily responsible for the contamination of Lake Michigan.


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