Upton updates Niles-Buchanan Rotarians on key issues

Published 3:41 am Tuesday, January 27, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The Niles-Buchanan Rotary Club welcomed U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., of St. Joseph, as its guest speaker at a meeting on Monday afternoon.
Upton spoke on a variety of topics ranging from the war in Iraq to the possibility of vehicle emissions testing in Southwestern Michigan.
He began by commenting on President Bush's recent State of the Union address.
Upton thought the president did a great job and pointed out that he agreed with Bush's comments regarding the importance of eliminating performance enhancing drugs in today's sports.
He then told the Rotary Club about his visit to Iraq.
Upton said he had enough stories of his experience in Iraq to fill the entire hour of the meeting.
While in Iraq, Upton traveled the country visiting local schools and visiting with American soldiers.
He also commented on the significance of capturing Saddam Hussein.
He thinks it is important that our country's involvement leads to democracy in Iraq.
After hitting on subjects like the economy and the safety of the internet, Upton moved on to talk about the possibility of Berrien County becoming a non-attainment county.
He said a third of the counties in Michigan have been named as non-attainment zones, which means high levels of ozone will require mandatory emissions testing for all vehicles
Upton pointed out the reason that Berrien County and some of the other Michigan counties tested at high levels is because of the transient air coming from places like Chicago and Milwaukee.
He said this requirement will means tens of millions of dollars of spending, none of which will get us out of non-attainment.
Upton made a revision to the energy bill that would require the EPA to do a study to determine the effectiveness of such a practice in our area.
If the revision gets passed it means we will not be sanctioned for two years while the study is being done.
If it doesn't pass it means the requirements would take effect by April 1.
Upton's revision currently has 58 votes, it needs 60 to pass.
Upton then took a few questions from the audience and thanked the rotary club for inviting him to speak.
The meeting also had three guest students in attendance, Rob Schuelke of Niles High School, Bridget Mitchell of Brandywine High School and Sara McNees of Buchanan High School.
The three students were selected as honorary student members of the club for the month of January and were able to attend the weekly meetings.
There are different students selected for this honor each month.
The students all stood up and showed their appreciation to the rotary club for allowing them to come.