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E-M:/ EPA Region V on the Michigan Peat issue....



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Enviro-Mich message from asagady@sojourn.com
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"U.S. EPA Region 5 News Release"
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   Legal Contact:	Reg Pallesen
            (312)	886-0555

    Technical Contact:  Sue Elston
    (312)	886-6115

     Media Contact:	Phillippa Cannon
        (312)	353-6218

For Immediate Release: June 20, 1997

No. 97-OPA139

EPA OBJECTS TO STATE PERMIT FOR MICHIGAN PEAT

     U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 has 
informed the Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality (MDEQ) that it objects to the activities included in a State 
wetlands permit issued recently to Michigan Peat
Co.

In a letter to MDEQ dated June 18, EPA told the State that permit 
authority for this case is now with the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District.

 EPA objects to the permit because it authorizes mining activities 
that will significantly harm the ecosystem of
Minden Bog, one of the last raised bogs in North America.  

The spongelike nature of the bog plays a role in flood
control, and its unique soil sustains many rare plants.  Also, 
the mining may damage the adjacent bog and pollute
water downstream.  

"EPA recognizes that this case presents unique and difficult 
challenges for the State," said JoLynn Traub,
regional Water Division director.  "This is why there is Federal 
oversight of environmental programs.  EPA maintains
its support for Michigan's wetlands program, but outstanding Federal 
concerns about the potential environmental
impacts of the proposed project must be adequately addressed."   

In 1995, the company rejected a permit that would have authorized 
mining on about 950 acres.  It also recently
rejected a proposal that, in addition to the area proposed in the 
1995 permit, would consider further expansion of
mining, based on environmental information developed during the 
initial phase of the project.

Activities in wetlands require a permit under Section 404 of the 
Clean Water Act, which is jointly administered
by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Michigan is only 
one of two States that have been authorized to
administer the Section 404 (wetlands) program.

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Alex J. Sagady & Associates        Email:  asagady@sojourn.com
Environmental Consulting and Database Systems
PO Box 39  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039  
(517) 332-6971 (voice); (517) 332-8987 (fax)


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