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E-M:/ Feds Asked To Intervene On Incinerator

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE				More Information:
Thursday, February 14, 2002				Donele Wilkens
							Anna Holden

Groups Applaud Monday Incinerator Forum, But Ask Feds To Intervene
Valentines Day Message to DEQ: ‘Open Your Heart’ To Community

Environmental groups calling for a shutdown of Detroit’s incinerator today
applauded a decision by two officials to conduct a public forum Monday but
continued to demand that an official public hearing be held in the
neighborhood of the incinerator.

State Rep. Mary D. Waters and Wayne County Commissioner Jewel Ware have
scheduled a public meeting on the incinerator for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18 at
the Third Baptist Church, 582 E. Ferry, near the incinerator.  This will be
the first opportunity for residents living in the neighborhood of the
incinerator to voice their concerns.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, which is considering a
five-year permit for the nation’s largest incinerator, has thus far refused
to conduct a public hearing on the permit near the incinerator.
Environmental groups have asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to
intervene and instruct the DEQ to meet federal guidelines for community
outreach in low-income and minority neighborhoods.

“Today, on Valentines Day, we are asking the DEQ to open its heart and mind
to the community,” said Donele Wilkins, executive director of Detroiters
Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ).  “We welcome and support Rep.
Waters’ decision to hold this meeting Monday, but this is not an official
hearing with the required outreach to the public that would ensure that
those who are most affected will be heard from.

 “People—even poor people—deserve to be heard from when it’s their lives,
and their children’s health, that’s at stake.”

Detroit’s incinerator has the capacity to burn 3600 tons of waste a day—more
than any other incinerator in the country. Permit data for the incinerator
obtained by the Sierra Club shows that more than 3.6 million pounds of
hazardous toxins a year are discharged into the atmosphere, including
mercury, carbon monoxide and lead.

At a hearing Jan. 30, health and pollution experts testified that pollutants
emitted by the Detroit incinerator have been linked to significant health
and environmental problems.  Many of these pollutants are particularly
harmful to vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly and those
who are already suffering from respiratory or heath diseases.
Environmentalists say until the incinerator is closed, the DEQ should reduce
the amount of waste that is burned, require additional pollution controls
that would lower toxic emissions and ban the most hazardous substances.

Besides DWEJ, groups that support closure of Detroit’s incinerator are the
American Lung Association of Michigan, Arab Community Center for Economic
and Social Services, Citizens Environment Alliance of southwestern Ontario
and southeast Michigan, Ecology Center, Hamtramck Environmental Action Team,
League of Conservation Voters, Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan
Environmental Justice Coalition, National Lawyers Guild/Maurice and Jane
Sugar Law Center, Southeast Michigan Group of the Sierra Club, and the
University of Michigan Environmental Justice Group.


02.14.02 incinerator release.doc