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E-M:/ violation of clean air act by deq alleged

Enviro-Mich message from davemec@voyager.net (dave dempsey)


Environmental Justice Plaintiffs in NAACP v. Engler Seek Further
 Information About Violation of the Clean Air Act by the Michigan
Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)Through Secret Backroom Deal

        Plaintiffs in the case NAACP v Engler, et al, today asked the
Michigan Court of Appeals to remand the action to the trial court for
further discovery regarding recently revealed evidence of a secret backroom
agreement to waive air pollution permit requirements between the Michigan
Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and Ford Motor Company.  In June
1997, the trial court entered an injunction against the MDEQ requiring
improved procedures and standards for environmental protection consistent
with the state constitution.  The Court of Appeals later stayed the
injunction pending appeal.  In November 1997, the MDEQ, through its
Director Russell Harding, and Ford Motor Company entered into a secret
agreement to waive production limitations on another air pollution permit,
although MDEQ staff stated in writing that the Clean Air Act prohibited
such an agreement.
        Throughout the litigation of NAACP v Engler, the MDEQ has defended
against wide-spread allegations that it does not adequately protect public
health and the environment by claiming it faithfully adheres to the Clean
Air Act.  "We always knew this was simply a rhetorical defense.  We
recently received documentation of the fact that it is a fraud, and we have
asked the Court to allow us to re-open the record on this issue", said
Thomas Stephens, one of the Plaintiffs' attorneys.
        On Monday, January 12, 1998, the Plaintiffs also filed a brief in
support of their cross-appeal, arguing that the trial court erred when it
rejected plaintiffs' claim that the state's "see no evil, hear no evil"
permitting policies discriminate against African-Americans. The NAACP Legal
Defense and Education Fund, Inc., and the American Lung Association of
Michigan have filed amicus briefs in support.  For more information,
contact Thomas W. Stephens at (313) 567-6165.

Dave Dempsey
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI  48912
(517) 487-9539
(517) 487-9541 (fax)

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