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E-M:/ DEQ (Developers Eat Quick!)
Enviro-Mich message from Murphwild1@aol.com
In a four year battle against Robertson Brothers Developers (responsible for
rapid, reckless development in Oakland-Orion Townships and other places, this
greedy outfit literally destroyed the last blue ribbon trout stream in
southern Michigan--Paint and Trout Creeks) and Orion Township, I, and the
group founded to fight this development were repeatedly denied wetlands
hearings and site surveys from DEQ officials Andrew Hart, Barry Horney and
Eric Hurdy out of the Livonia DEQ office.
Not only were we denied our lawful right to wetlands hearings, amidst nearly
one hundred citizen requests, we were also treated as second class citizens
and made out to be whiners with nothing better to do than trying to protect
officially regulated Federal, State, and Township wetlands.
I issued the following letter to EPA after repeated and evasive tactics by DEQ
officials to do everything in their power to NOT protect OUR natural
Stoney Creek Headwaters Protection Council
P.O. Box 441
Lake Orion, MI 48361
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
77 West Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604
Dear Mr. Ullrich: July
I am writing on behalf of the Stoney Creek Headwaters Protection Council
(SCHPC), it's members, and many state residents regarding proposed
developments in our community. Located in Lake Orion Village and Lake Orion
Township, planned Shops on The Shore and The Shores are both going to have
profound negative impacts on our natural resources and the Bald Mountain State
Park. The two projects planned, one commercial one residential, were combined
for rezoning within one consent judgment issued by Judge Barry Howard. (In bed
with developers--Judge Howard, Circuit Judge Livingston-Oakland Court)
(editors addition, not in actuall letter)
These two developments will utilize clearcutting and removal of all vegatation
on the south shore of Long Lake (approx.. 300 acres). Long Lake serves as the
headwaters of Stoney Creek. Stoney Creek flows through our Bald Mountain State
Park and at least ten lakes and wetlands within the Park. It flows through
Lake St. Claire into Great Lake. It is a navigable waterway. There are two
state regulated wetlands and a third which serves as a recharge pond within
500 feet of Long Lake in the area of proposed development. (Oakland County,
MI. T4N R10E SECTION 1, 2.) The land is currently owned by the Franklin Wright
Settlement, a non-profit organization. The developers have an option to buy.
We are very concerned the commercial developers are not being required to
apply for a state or township wetlands permit. We expect that either an
individual or a general permit would be required of them. They plan to use a10
acre regulated wetland from the residential project for storm water detention.
They will also be paving a 600 mega mall space parking lot right up to the
wetlands and have not addressed how they will deal with cumulative effects and
likely toxic run-off from the parking lot into our wetlands.
We request that both yourself and Mr. Dave Shulenburg formally provide
oversight of these projects. Our state is not adequately protecting our
wetlands and natural resources. Our governor and his appointed MDEQ Director
Russel Harding have created a political and regulatory environment that
clearly favors developers and industry over protection and enforcement of
wetlands protection act. The DEQ field staff are overworked and subject to
supervisory pressure to rubber stamp and issue permits regardless of their
often contrary recommendations.
Governor Englers decision to divide the Department of Natural resources into
natural resources and environmental protection divisions, retaining the
Natural Resources Commission for the natural resources division, leaves no
appellate body to appeal decisions. There is no enforcement of environmental
We have been told over and over again by DEQ staff that they will not do
anything until two criteria are met. 1. a permit is applied for, or 2,
activities are initiated without a permit. (of which has already happened.)
How can an agency protect our resources only after damage is done? Who
requests a permit is needed if not the agency that approves and processes
We feel that for these and other reasons, the state cannot review applications
objectively. We are officially requesting that you (EPA) oversee this proposed
project. State implementation and enforcement of federal regulatory policies
and law are not working.
The impacts the proposed developments will have on our wetlands, Long Lake
and the Bald Mountain State Park will clearly violate laws such as the Clean
Water Act, MEPA, and the following:
Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams of Act 451, P.A. 1994
Part 325, Great Lakes Submerged Lands of Act 451, P.A. 1994
Part 303, Wetland Protection of Act 451, P.A. 1994
I have included a letter by Professor Anton Hough from Wayne State
University's Biological Services. He has been engaged in the scientific study
of this entire ecosystem for twenty years. Our attorney also conducts lab work
in the State Park.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
PS. From "Setting The Record Straight" regarding the Federal Wetlands
Destruction Agency, Army Corps of Engineers.
RUMOR: If you have wetlands on your property, you probably can't build your
retirement house, or continue to farm land you've cultivated for years, much
less build a shopping center. And if you try to get approval you'll be caught
in a bureaucratic maze
REALITY: Most projects proposed for wetlands are approved, typically in a
matter of days. The Army Corps of Engineers was notified of 48,000 proposed
projects in fiscal 1994. Eighty two percent were approved under streamlined
procedures, general permits, in an average time of 16 days. Only 10% went
through the individual permit process, and 4,134 of those projects were
approved in an average of 127 days. Another 1,590 projects were withdrawn,
some of which proceeded in non-wetland areas. ONLY 358 PERMITS WERE
DENIED--0.7 OF THOSE WHICH WRE SOUGHT.
In the rare case in which wetlands permit denials affect a constitutional
taking, the landowners are entitled to compensation. The Administration has
recommended easing access to the Courts for consideration of claims against
the government for potential takings cases.
Normal, ongoing agricultural activities, such as plowing, seeding,
cultivation, and harvesting are specifically exempted from regulation under
the Clean Water Act, even if the land in question has wetland characteristics.
In addition to exaggerated accounts of problems experienced by landowners,
there have been some genuine foul-ups and policies that were not as flexible
and fair as they should be. After seeking advice from a broad range of
interest groups and Members of Congress, the Clinton Administration adopted a
wetlands reform program in August 1993. Some 40 improvements have been taken,
were administratively implemented, or wre recommended for action by Congress.
Many of these actions will completely avoid the circumstances described in
both fictional "horror stories" and the grain of truth contained in some of
For more info, contact Bob Waylan, U.S. EPA. 202-260-7166
PS. They cut the last Walnut Tree, at least 150 years old, down about two
weeks ago. Yes, Robertson Brothers loves to cut down rare old growth in
rapidly dwindling natural urban settings.
We managed to FORCE the Township to enforce their wetlands ordinance and saved
the entire federally regulated shoreline wetlands and the 10 acre wetlands,
though the latter will be destroyed by toxic run-off as it will be used to
"filter" as a "retention" pond, massive pollutants into Long Lake.
It will be difficult to prevent the riparian lot owners along Long Lake from
building piers and docks, and from simply turning the wetlands into beaches.
One observed bulrushes, water lilies and marsh marigold. These nearshore
emergent marshes were important as fish spawning and fish nursery habitats.
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