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Re: E-M:/ DEQ Delegates Toxic Cleanup Decisions to Polluters


The key words are "without prior approval".  It doesn't say no approval. It doesn't say no notification.  My position is that the department cannot discharge its duty to protect public health of neighboring residents without knowing whether contamination and a cleanup occurred.

And, as I expect that many of the "self-implemented" cleanups would meet DEQ standards, and that many would not.  I also would anticipate that the cleanups would increase in quality if a responsible party knew they were going to have to notify the department. I never stated a party shouldn't be able to self-implement a cleanup, just that they should not be able to keep it a secret.

James Clift, MEC

Grant Trigger wrote:

Enviro-Mich message from "Grant Trigger" <GTrigger@honigman.com>


Your observations are a little overbroad

The current Michigan law, in Section 20114(2) of Part 201, states:

(2) A person may undertake response activity without prior approval by the department unless that response activity is being done pursuant to an administrative order or agreement or judicial decree which requires prior department approval. Any such action shall not relieve any person of liability for further response activity as may be required by the department.

Therefore, performing a cleanup without MDEQ knowledge or approval is expressly allowed under the law.  It would be a violation of the law if MDEQ prohibited such cleanups.

>>> James Clift <jamesmec@voyager.net> 08/28/01 10:45AM >>>
DEQ Delegates Toxic Cleanup Decisions to Polluters

Public Shut Out of the Process

The Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) criticized Michigan Department
of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director Russ Harding for proposing rules
that allow polluters to keep secret the fact they have contaminated
property.  Further, DEQ's proposed rules delegate to the polluters
virtually all decision-making authority regarding the cleanup of those
toxic chemicals.  These rules are not authorized by law, and result in
the DEQ completely failing to discharge its duty to protect the public
by allowing polluters to make these decisions.

"The action being taken by the DEQ demonstrates their continuing failure
to protect the residents of Michigan from the threats of toxic
chemicals," stated James Clift, Policy Director at MEC.  The proposed
rules let polluters decide when to cleanup contamination, how to monitor
toxic chemicals left in the soil, and when to tell neighboring property
owners about contamination in their area.  "These rules are a recipe for
disaster because they delegate to parties with a financial interest to
skimp on cleanups all decision making authority with no oversight,"
stated Clift.

The 340 pages of proposed rules under the Part 201 program are scheduled
for only one public hearing, to be held today in Lansing (Forum
Auditorium * Michigan Library and Historical Center, from 1-5 pm and
6-8:30 pm).  Representatives of industry received a closed-door meeting
with Harding and other DEQ officials last week where they urged the
department to further weaken DEQ oversight of cleanup activities.

According to Lana Pollack, president of MEC, these rules take government
back 20 years in dealing with pollution issues. "We passed the Superfund
legislation at the federal level and Polluter Pay at the state level to
bring toxic contamination out of the closet and deal with cleanups it in
a responsible manner," stated Pollack.  "These rules ignore these laws
and shut out members of the public who live in neighborhoods bordering
these contaminated sites and are directly impacted by the decisions

Submitted by:

James Clift, Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste. 2A
Lansing, MI 48915
(517) 487-9539

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