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E-M:/ Pier 7 Expansion

Enviro-Mich message from Terry & Barb Miller <terbar@concentric.net>

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    CONTACT: Terry Miller, 989 686-6386    
JANUARY 28, 2003


Eight days before he left office, Lone Tree Council, has learned that
Russell Harding former director of the Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality (MDEQ), signed a controversial permit to expand and deepen a pier on
the Saginaw River in Bay City.  The project would see Pier 7 fill .27 acre
of Saginaw River bottomland for the purpose of building a lift out well to
remove large boats from the water.  The fill material, some 12, 000 cubic
yards excavated from the dredging and expansion,  is contaminated with a
number of persistent toxics. 

The record shows that the pier expansion was heavily lobbied for by former
State Senator Joel Gougeon, and ultimately the decision was taken from local
DEQ control to Lansing.  Field staff of four Divisions of the DEQ opposed
the project as proposed. 

   "Losing public bottomlands for a private venture is bad enough," said
Lone Tree Council Chairman Terry Miller, "but using toxic soils and spoils
is horrendous - it's creating a hazardous waste site in the Saginaw River."

   Dave Dempsey, policy advisor for the Michigan Environmental Council, a
state coalition of over fifty  environmental groups has expressed a strong
interest in preventing the permit from being executed.  
    "The dangerous environmental legacy of the Engler/Harding regime is
still putting Michigan's natural resources at risk. We're committed to
stopping this illegal permit, which would deprive the public of a resource
that belongs to us all," said Dempsey. 
Prior to granting the permit, the DEQ's Geological and Land Management
Division (GLMD), said that "conversion of river bottomlands to uplands is
not consistent with the intent of Part 301 of the  NREPA…"    DEQ's Waste
and Hazardous Materials Division  said that "sediments are contaminated with
arsenic and Polynuclear Aromatics (PNAs) above the allowable human direct
contact criteria under Part 115, Solid Waste Management , of the NREPA."
And,  according to a State briefing paper, "the WHMD (Waste and Hazardous
Materials Division) does not allow contaminated spoils to be disposed of
below the water table."  In addition, Wildlife Division "opposes filling
into the Saginaw River."  The division cited "negative impacts to wildlife
including loss of waterfowl, water bird, reptile and amphibian feeding,
nesting, and migratory habitat."

   According to Miller, "Mr. Franz (the developer) knew he could have his
lift well and expand his marina in a manner consistent with protecting the
river and health of Bay citizens by building on the shore, and properly
disposing of the toxic spoils, instead he chose to seek out a powerful
senator and a sympathetic DEQ director, and use political leverage to save
money - that must end."

The Lone Tree Council and Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical
Contamination (CACC), have retained the service of  attorney Chris Bzdok of
Olson and Bzdok to contest the action. 

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