House Dems on "Green Ooze" and Protecting Michigan Citizens from Hazardous Waste Contamination
January 23, 2020
n addition to the recently discovered hexavalent chromium contaminated sites in the cities of Madison Heights and Detroit, and Sanilac County, there are approximately 7,000 known contaminated sites attributed to local corporations and other bad actors.
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 contained 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 addressing the thousands of orphaned sites across the state.
LANSING - 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 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 Director Liesl Clark.
Though the "green ooze" found in Madison Heights, Oakland County, Sanilac County and the city of Detroit 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). "This is a decades old problem that needs a permanent solution."
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 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. House Bill 4212 and Senate Bill 116 would require that pollution be cleaned up as much as technically feasible. HB 4212 was referred to Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation and has not been heard in the committee. Additional legislation addressing polluter responsibility is forthcoming 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."