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RE: E-M:/ more on Kolke Creek



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Enviro-Mich message from "Dave Smethurst" <dsmethurst@gtlakes.com>
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I realize Robert is doing his job.  I sat in on some of the court session
and I don't believe the DEQ "carefully" reviewed every potential alternative
- or they would have known about the "40-acre parcel" and potential
problems, if that is accurate. It was brought up in the courtroom.  Robert's
second paragraph defends the original proposal, which was ruled, how shall I
put this - just plain wrong.  Since that is already the ruling of the court,
the DEQ and Merit are in error, solve the problem.  With all due respect, I
don't think DEQ did their homework and the Anglers of the AuSable did.  The
role now of DEQ should be to tell Merit to find another site away from the
plume and solve the problem, not go back to court. Going to court cost
citizens more, the Anglers more, doesn't solve the problem and prolongs the
contamination.  Dave Smethurst 

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
[mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of Robert McCann
Sent: Friday, July 20, 2007 4:17 PM
To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net; Dave Dempsey
Subject: Re: E-M:/ more on Kolke Creek

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Enviro-Mich message from "Robert McCann" <mccannr@michigan.gov>
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Dave - 

This is not entirely accurate either.  The DEQ is in fact appealing the
judge's final order in this case and it may be helpful for everyone on
enviro-mich to explain the history of this and why we have ultimately had to
make this decision.

This project was proposed as a means to manage groundwater that had become
contaminated from past spills at the oil production facility now owned by
Merit Energy. The DEQ carefully evaluated every potential alternative
cleanup method, and the final decision to discharge the clean, treated water
into Kolke Creek was based on the best available science and regard for the
public health and the environment.

The water that would be discharged would meet or go beyond all drinking
water standards, and while the volume of the discharge may seem large, it in
fact represents a relatively small amount in comparison to the natural water
flows in the Kolke Creek watershed.

The DEQ did not go to court to defend Merit Energy or take sides in this
case, but was rather named by the plaintiffs (The Anglers of the AuSable) as
a co-defendant, which required our agency to defend our decision to the
judge.  Ultimately, as you know, Judge Murphy disagreed with that decision
and filed an interim order that required us to once again explore
alternatives for discharging the treated water

In the interest of trying to move this cleanup process forward as quickly as
possible, we originally chose not to pursue an appeal and rather explore the
possibility of discharging the treated water onto a 40-acre parcel of
property that Merit Energy had acquired.  During the review process,
however, our team of water quality engineers determined that due to the
location of this site, there would be an unacceptably high risk of the
treated water mixing back into the contaminated plume and quickly spreading
it to the Wilderness Valley residential area.  That knowledge, combined with
the court changing the interim order into a final order and thereby
eliminating needed flexibility in the process, left us with no alternative
but to file an appeal.

The decision to appeal was not made easily or without the knowledge that it
may in fact cause a delay in the cleanup process, but when our only
alternative was to utilize a cleanup plan that may very well make the
problem worse, it was the right decision.

It is disappointing to hear some of the misinformation that's been portrayed
regarding why we have made this decision.  Our goal is not, nor has it ever
been, to protect the interests of Merit Energy.  Our goal is to ensure that
this cleanup process succeeds and ensures the long term health of the
residents of the community, as well as the quality of Kolke Creek, the
AuSable River, and all of Michigan's waters.




Robert McCann
Press Secretary
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Phone:  517-241-7397
Fax:  517-241-7401
Email: mccannr@michigan.gov  

>>> Dave Dempsey <davedem@hotmail.com> 7/20/2007 2:58 PM >>>
In response to the earlier post about the DEQ's appeal of the Merit
Energy/Kolke Creek/Au Sable River judgment, DEQ staff inform me that they
are not appealing the ruling against the proposed disposal of treated waste
in the headwaters of the Au Sable, only the alternate method of disposal
ordered by the Judge. I stand corrected.


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ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
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Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
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