LANSING, Mich., June 16, 2022 — This week, state Rep. Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck) introduced legislation to hold Michigan’s polluters financially responsible for the costs of remediating any environmental contamination caused by their operations. Under House Bill 6232, corporate facilities regulated by the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act would be required to invest in bonds when applying for a permit. The funds generated by these bonds, and the interest they collect, would be used to rectify any potential pollution caused by their facility.
“Michigan taxpayers should not be burdened with paying for cleanups caused by corporate negligence,” Aiyash said. “This responsibility must rest on the industries who pollute our communities, not the residents who are forced to live everyday with its effects. It is crucial that we hold corporations financially accountable for site compliance, cleanup and remediation, and my bill would ensure exactly that.”
This comes after several Detroit facilities were found to be in violation of environmental regulations set by Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). US Ecology’s Detroit South waste disposal plant received 23 EGLE violation notices for noxious odors emitted from its plant into surrounding neighborhoods. Similarly, the Stellantis (formerly Chrysler) Mack Assembly Plant on the East Side of Detroit received numerous air quality violations from EGLE after residents surrounding the facility submitted over 50 complaints regarding the odor.
“Back in 2019, we saw countless headlines on the mysterious ‘green ooze’ found along I-696,” Aiyash said. “Michiganders were rightfully outraged when it was revealed to be toxic waste from the now-closed Electro-Plating Services. While those headlines came and went, the ongoing battle between corporate polluters and the people they harm has become all too familiar for my communities in Detroit and Hamtramck. We deal with this everyday. The air we breathe and water we drink have become unsafe. No one deserves to live like this. ”
In May 2021, Aiyash introduced HB 4777 to prevent industrial polluters from obtaining permits in communities that are already overburdened.
“We must develop several approaches to addressing this problem,” Aiyash said. “HB 4777 would prevent new industrial permits in environmentally overburdened communities. HB 6232 would ensure those who receive permits are held financially responsible if their facilities contaminate the community.”
In addition to his work in the Legislature, Aiyash also announced a collaboration with residents and community leaders surrounding US Ecology’s Detroit South plant to develop a Host Community Agreement. This allows the community to establish a legally binding agreement with the city of Detroit to set guidelines and restrictions on US Ecology’s Frederick Street facility.
“The repeated failures of hazardous waste companies like US Ecology to protect neighborhoods from their facilities shows how far we as lawmakers have to go in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our communities. We must prevent corporate polluters from getting permits and make them pay when they harm our people,” Aiyash said.