House Democrats Protecting Michigan Citizens from Hazardous Waste Contamination
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
- In addition to the recently discovered hexavalent chromium contaminated site in the city of Madison Heights and the potentially contaminated sites in Detroit, and Sanilac County, there are approximately 7,000 known contaminated sites.
- To protect Michigan’s citizens and natural resources, corporations and bad actors must be held accountable to properly transport, store and dispose of their hazardous waste, and when required thoroughly remediate rather than simply contain contaminated sites.
- Following the recent introduction of polluter pay legislation—HB4212 and SB116—Michigan House Democrats will introduce additional legislation in the coming weeks and months to strengthen our environmental protection laws, including significantly increasing penalties and bonding requirements, restricting new permits for known polluters and helping to address the thousands of orphaned sites across the state.
The House Appropriations Committee heard testimony today regarding the release of hexavalent chromium “green ooze” contaminated water from Electro Plating Services on the I-696 interstate in the city of Madison Heights and the associated sites in Sanilac County and the city of Detroit from several state and local officials including Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) Director Liesl Clark.
Though the “green ooze” found in Madison Heights has catapulted polluter neglect to the forefront, EGLE has previously identified more than 7,000 sites across Michigan that require cleanup with more likely to be identified.
“While the recent hexavalent chromium discoveries are alarming, bad actors who contaminate our communities and endanger the health and safety of citizens must be held accountable for their abhorrent business practices,” said House Appropriations Committee Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo). “A permanent solution has remained elusive for far too long to protect our citizens, our natural resources and our economy.”
In February 2019, House Democratic Floor Leader Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) and state Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) introduced identical bills in the House and Senate to require polluters to fully clean up contamination they cause. Under current law, polluters can simply restrict access to a site or an aquifer instead of treating or removing pollutants. Additional legislation addressing polluter responsibility is forthcoming in by House Democrats.
“This environmental emergency is yet another wakeup call that requires a comprehensive response to address this decades-long problem,” continued House Democratic Leader Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills). “We must act now to deliver real solutions, not just in response to this crisis, but to address the many layers of this complex issue across our state.”