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E-M:/ Judge OKs dune waste pipe

Judge OKs dune waste pipe

A state judge recommended Wednesday Nugent Sand Co. be allowed to build a pipeline through a protected 4,000-year-old Lake Michigan dune.

Saying the environmental impact of millions of gallons of treated wastewater flowing over the Lake Michigan beach will be minimal, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality administrative law judge Richard A. Patterson sided with Nugent. He overturned a denial of the permit by the DEQ's Grand Rapids district office.

Darlene DeHudy, vice-president of Save Our Shoreline, a local citizen's group opposed to the project, blasted Patterson's decision.

"The public is nearly unanimously against the Nugent pipeline and discharge into Lake Michigan," said DeHudy. "Twenty-five organizations and three municipalities have declared opposition to the project. Over 1,250 letters and signatures have been delivered to Gov. Granholm opposing the project."

The case then goes before DEQ Director Steven Chester, who will make the agency's final decision on Nugent's request.

"The director can accept it, reject, modify it or send it back for a rehearing," said Dennis Mack, an administrative law judge with the DEQ.