Lt. Governor steps into Saginaw River dredging debate
Thursday, April 24, 2008
By JEFF KART
email@example.com | 894-9639
Michigan Lt. Gov. John Cherry has intervened in an Upper Saginaw River dredging project that could be delayed because of disagreements between state and federal regulators.
State and federal officials say Cherry's involvement may help settle differences between the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
But at least one environmental group, the Lone Tree Council, fears a closed-door deal is in the works.
DEQ Director Steve Chester has said the dredging project could end up in court over a refusal by the Corps to include a slurry wall and groundwater permit in plans for a $5 million clay pit to hold 20 years worth of dredgings from the upper river, from Bay City south to Saginaw.
The pit has already been built on the Bay-Saginaw county line, in Frankenlust and Zilwaukee townships, and the Corps has said it plans to begin dredging this summer to clear the navigational channel, without a wall or permit.
But the federal agency doesn't want a court fight and may take its dredging money, about $2 million, somewhere else, a Corps official said last week.
Cherry met Monday with Lt. Col. William Leady from the Corps office in Detroit.
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