Kasey Helton writes and publishes The Hell-Fire Review, a blog for and about Livingston County progressives — that tenacious pack of Blue underdogs.

Helton is a former local newspaper reporter who ran for County Commission in 2018 and lost. She has spent over 20 years as a resident of Marion Township, where she lives with her husband, Jim, a steelworker, and her rescue mutt, Obi.

Her work has also been featured in The Livingston Post, Open Salon, and the Detroit blog Dyspathy. She likes to give hits on the track playing roller derby, and sometimes she swears a lot.

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My Challenge to Bob Bezotte on PFAS

 My opponent at a Lana Theis campaign fundraiser this summer. Theis received a “Failing” grade on environmental issues on this most recent legislative scorecard from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

My opponent at a Lana Theis campaign fundraiser this summer. Theis received a “Failing” grade on environmental issues on this most recent legislative scorecard from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

Last night, I addressed the Livingston County Board of Commissioners challenging them to take a stand for public health and our environmental safety. I called on them to push local legislators Sen. Joe Hune, state Reps. Lana Theis and Hank Vaupel to do as other legislators within the Huron River Watershed have done and call on Gov. Snyder to stop Tribar manufacturing from discharging any further dangerous effluent into our waterways until a complete safety plan is in place -- not a temporary one, which is what Tribar has assured the public will be in place this Friday.

I have linked a copy of Rep. Yousef Rabhi's letter to the governor. Sen. Rebekkah Warren has also called for the same. I encourage everyone to read it.

In a recent Facebook post, my opponent referred to Tribar's PFAS contaminants as a "spill" -- this just goes to show how unfamiliar he is with this issue. It's not a "spill." What's coming out of Tribar is known as "discharge" and the difference is significant: a spill is an accidental event and typically an isolated incident. Discharge is an intentional dumping of harmful chemicals into our waterways done as a matter of processing procedure for a manufacturer. It's important to note that officials have known about the dangers of PFAS "forever chemicals" seeping into our environment for years now. This problem is a direct result of inaction on the part of our politicians in Lansing, who ignored the warnings of environmentalists.

Republican politicians on the state and local level have made numerous assurances to us since PFAS finally got all of our attention with the "Do Not Eat" warnings on our local fish this past summer -- but I want to be very clear: politics are afoot when it comes to PFAS, and one-party rule in Livingston County is going to all but assure that that only bare minimum will be done here to address this threat.

All of our local legislators received "FAILING" grades from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters on the latest legislative scorecard, and they are the ones with the real power to act to protect our public health by taking firm stances like Sen. Warren and Rep. Rabhi have done. Yet here is a picture of my opponent at one of many recent campaign functions for Rep. Theis, who is running for state senate.

Look at this picture and ask yourself: Does this look like a man who you can trust to stand up as county commissioner to Lana Theis and demand she protect our environment? What I see here is yet another self-interested politician seeking to move his way up the ladder in the way that disgusts so many frustrated voters on both sides of the aisle. The term that comes to mind that's been thrown around a lot in this county recently is "the good ol' boy network." My opponent is a part of that network, and has been for some time.

The fact is that the median age in Livingston County is 42. Women make up 49.9 percent of Livingston County, yet the majority of the current board of commissioners look and think like Bob Bezotte, and share the priorities of Bob Bezotte. I can assure you that protecting our environment is not one of those priorities.

But Bezotte has a chance to prove me wrong. I challenge him and the rest of the county commission to use their influence to push our local legislators to do as other leaders along the Huron River have done and take a stand for our environment and for public health and safety. A significant portion of District 6 is connected to the Huron River watershed and I am certain these constituents want a representative who will take that kind of firm stand against the pollution going on in their backyards.

Mr. Bezotte, I challenge you to let Gov. Snyder know that allowing Tribar to DISCHARGE even one more gallon of toxic PFAS chemicals into our environment without a PERMANENT filtration system in place is unacceptable. Tribar effluent should be shut down until we know a reliable, permanent safety plan is in place. I challenge you to take a stand for the only ecosystem that we have, that we will be leaving behind for future generations.

Link to Rep. Rabhi’s letter to Gov. Snyder here.

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