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Democratic legislators Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills), and Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) introduce bills to address dangerous dock collapses

 

February 11, 2021

Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit)

LANSING - Today, Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills), and Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) re-introduced legislation to protect major waterways and public health by enhancing accountability of private dock owners.

The legislation comes, in part, as a response to a Detroit property contaminated with uranium and other dangerous chemicals that partially collapsed into the Detroit River - which many Metro Detroit communities use as a source for water - in November 2019. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) was only notified when a concerned resident took action to do so.

The legislation would:

(Senate Bill 122 - Chang) Ensure statewide risk assessments would be conducted and a public database of findings be made available regarding contaminated properties along major waterways.

(Senate Bill 123 - Bayer) Require inspections of commercial and industrial docks.

(Senate Bill 124 - Geiss) Require notification regarding spills into our waterways.

"Residents have a right to know about the potential hazards around them and whether it is something that should be monitored," Sen. Chang said. "As we work on solutions for our water infrastructure, it makes sense we include residents in the equation and the outcome. My legislation gives residents the tools they need to do just that on matters that directly impact them."

About a month after the Detroit River dock collapse, another dock collapsed in St. Clair County, leading to a ferry not being able to travel to Harsens Island.

Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor)

"We have an invaluable resource in Michigan in our great waterways, and we must do all we can to protect them at all times," Sen. Bayer said. "My legislation on inspections is something that should have been done long ago and sends a clear message that if you stand to gain something for a company by using our water, you will respect it for everything that it's worth."

Sen. Geiss added, "We are notified when pipes burst, lanes are shutdown on highways, when inclement weather will affect our day, and more everyday matters. To be notified about spills into our waterways seems fair and just, especially for those who depend on them for drinking water or for general hygiene. I look forward to once again making this case to our colleagues and getting these bills to the governor for her signature. We simply have to find a way to work together and get this legislation across the finish line for our residents

 

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