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

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


(it was suggested that I resend this with a title)

The Environmental Law Section of the state bar has arranged for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak at the annual state bar meeting on September 12 in Lansing.  Mr. Kennedy supervises the Environmental Litigation Clinic at Pace University School of Law and is a Senior Attorney for NRDC. He has been instrumental in establishing "Stream Keepers"  "River Keepers" "Lake Keepers" and related water protection interested organizations.  He will give the keynote address at the Wed luncheon (Sept 12 - $27 per ticket) and speak to the Environmental Law Section at  2 pm that afternoon.  Anyone may purchase tickets for the luncheon and the afternoon session is free and open to the public. 

This should be a very interesting afternoon and I encourage anyone who is interested in attending.  This a unique opportunity to hear Mr. Kennedy and to participate in Q&A if time permits.

Call 517-346-6300 for more info or go to www.michbar.org

>>> 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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