GRASSROOTS ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS MEET WITH STATE OFFICIALS TO KEEP TOXINS OUT OF WATER, AIR

Disposal company wants to expand operation near Hamtramck, Gov. Snyder delays CPP

The Coalition to Oppose the Expansion protested outside state offices in Detroit Thursday and demanded a meeting with officials from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to discuss the impact of a toxic waste disposal company on the safety of Detroit’s water system and the need for a Clean Power Plan (CPP) to improve air quality. US Ecology is seeking permission to expand its operation while activists want the opposite.

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Photo Credit: Shanna Merola

A contingent from the group went inside and delivered their demands to a representative of the MDEQ:

  • Stop the 10-fold expansion of this hazardous waste plant.
  • Stop dumping toxic and radioactive waste and contaminating Detroit’s water.
  • Continue forward with the CPP state implementation process and support Michigan efforts to move forward with the Clean Power Plan (CPP.)
  • Conduct public input hearings in communities across the state that are most impacted by carbon pollution to hear how this pollution impacts our daily lives.

“We are coming together to let the state of Michigan and MDEQ know that they have completely failed us on all fronts.” Said Valerie Jean of the Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands (DCATS). “We’re demanding that they deny the permit for the expansion of US Ecology and stop poisoning Detroit!”

US Ecology transports, treats, and disposes of radioactive, chemical and hazardous waste such as PCB. Liquid waste, containing arsenic, cadmium, cyanide, lead is then dumped into the Detroit public sewerage system. The company wants ramp up output and increase their storage capacity from 64,000 gallons of hazardous waste to 666,000 gallons. But expansion of the plant on Georgia street has raised safety questions among some of those who live in the area. The facility is located within a mile of a number of schools, houses of worship, a hospital and a senior center.

Meanwhile in 48217, the state’s most polluted zip code, the Marathon refinery continues to expose residents to toxins that cause a wide variety of health problems.  When President Obama decided to issue rules for energy production that would address such problems, Governor Snyder said Michigan would come up with its own CPP rules.  But when the Federal plan was challenged in court, Snyder halted the process here.

“Our communities are being poisoned and for too long big energy companies have profited from the destruction. They’ve left communities like Detroit with dirty air, poisoned water and dangerous, dead-end jobs.” said Michigan United’s Emma Lockridge, a resident in 48217 “It’s time for MDEQ’s rubber stamp to dry up. We need them to put the people and the planet over profits and corporate polluters.”

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