Lone Tree Council
P.O. 1251, Bay City, Michigan 48706
(Fighting for environmental justice since 1978)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Neil Kagan (734) 769-3351
February 22, 2007 Terry Miller (989) 686-6386
Michelle Hurd Riddick (989) 793-3313
SLURRY PIT FIGHT CONTINUES IN LANSING COURT
National Wildlife Federation/Lone Tree Council Asks Ingham County Court to Review DEQ Decision
Environmental groups continue to challenge the Corps of Engineers’ plan to dump toxic pollutants into the Saginaw River. The National Wildlife Federation, and Lone Tree Council, argue that in its haste to permit a dump site, the State cut corners, failing to limit concentrations of toxics in effluents to safe levels in violation of Michigan law, and permitting the discharge to the river to continue for twenty years when Michigan law allows only five year permits.
In a continued effort to get action on these issues, the National Wildlife Federation and Lone Tree Council have filed a petition in Ingham County Circuit Court asking for a review of a decision by the Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to dismiss a challenge to the permit.
On Monday, February 12, 2007, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), and Lone Tree Council continued their challenge to the water permit issued to Corps by the DEQ. “The DEQ violated the law when it issued a permit to the Corps to pump toxic pollutants from its proposed Dredged Material Disposal Facility (DMDF) being built in Zilwaukee and Frankenlust Townships,” said Lone Tree Council’s Michelle Hurd Riddick.
The National Wildlife Federation and Lone Tree Council first sought administrative review of the certification provided by the DEQ to the Corps allowing it to discharge dioxins, mercury, and PCBs from the DMDF into the Saginaw River. The groups’ suit was dismissed by the Director of the DEQ on the basis that the State had not issued a discharge permit, and therefore was not subject to review.
“DEQ’s authorization is the epitome of a discharge permit,” said Neil Kagan, Senior Counsel for the National Wildlife Federation and the attorney for the petitioners. “Like every other discharge permit, it authorizes the discharge of pollutants in into navigable waters. Although the DEQ calls the discharge permit a ‘certification,’ a discharge permit by any other name is still a discharge permit, and the DEQ cannot insulate it from an independent review.”
“The real issue is the rush by which the facility was sited,” said Lone Tree Council’s chairman, Terry Miller. “It should never have been placed near residences, in a floodplain, next to a State Game Area, in a wildfowl flyway, with no public construction plans, operation and management plan or water treatment. Now the State is closing ranks to defend its faulty process, and we are hopeful the courts will intervene on the public’s behalf.”
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