Under the air pollution control section of the Michigan Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (P.A. 451 of 1994, as amended—Part 55) the MDEQ can deny new permits or revoke existing permits for cause such as repeated violations or a bad compliance history. The water pollution portions of the act contain similar provisions as do the applicable federal regulatory laws.
In practice, however, the MDEQ rarely uses these powers. In my 25 years with the MDNR and MDEQ, I cannot recall where a permit was ever revoked (or a new permit denied) due to the applicant/permitee having a history of non-compliance. It may have happened in one or two cases, but none come to mind. Such actions are threatened from time to time, but never done. It is pretty amazing when you think about the poor compliance history of many permit holders. This is a powerful tool that should see more use. Maybe it would help to remind the agency that the legislature has provided them with these powers…..TKR
Excerpt from Part 55 folows:
MCL 324.5503 Powers of department.
The department may do 1 or more of the following:
(a) Promulgate rules to establish standards for ambient air quality and for emissions.
(b) Issue permits for the construction and operation of sources, processes, and process equipment, subject to enforceable emission limitations and standards and other conditions reasonably necessary to assure compliance with all applicable requirements of this part, rules promulgated under this part, and the clean air act.
(c) In accordance with this part and rules promulgated under this part, deny, terminate, modify, or revoke and reissue permits for cause……<snip>
Dear fellow environmentalists, clean air activists, mercury activists and pursuers of Environmental Justice
(sorry for cross posting but this is both immediate and important)
It would seem that if a company is so uncooperative that they refuse to settle (even acknowledge) dozens of permit violations thus forcing the MDEQ to file a lawsuit against them, then the MDEQ should not even consider issuing that company another permit while those violations are still outstanding. Especially when the company itself says that it does not agree with the provisions of the new permit.
Yet, the State has announced a public comment period regarding the MDEQ’s intent to approve a draft permit to allow the medical waste incinerator in Hamtramck to burn pathological, chemotherapeutic, pharmaceutical, low level radioactive and up to 10% (by weight) medical/infectious waste. All this by the same owners that were issued multiple violations for failing to perform stack testing, keep proper records or to maintain their equipment.
A Permit to install is an agreement between a company and the state that the company will comply with the permit. Considering the long miserable history of this facility (and this owner), there is absolutely no reason for anybody to trust that this company will comply with a new permit when it obviously made no effort to comply with its earlier Permits or Consent Agreements. MDEQ should not even be considering it let alone intending to issue it.
Pleas join us in our effort to block this permit. It is not only a threat to the health of our community, and a drain on local property values but operates just across the street and upwind of some of the poorest minority neighborhoods in Hamtramck and Detroit. For the State to even consider this permit is totally out of character of the “new” MDEQ and a prime example of environmental injustice.
If you are interested in helping in this important battle please mark your calendars for the nights of Nov 15 and December 2 for hearings and meetings in Hamtramck. For more details please reply.