HB 4314 would amend law that allows polluters to leave contamination in land and water

LANSING, Mich., Feb. 19, 2021 — State Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) today introduced House Bill 4314, which would require polluters to restore land and water to standards good enough for residential land use or drinking water. Current law requires only that access be limited; Michigan has more than 3,000 sites with restrictions on use of contaminated land or groundwater. Forty-nine of Rabhi’s 109 Michigan House colleagues signed on to the bill as co-sponsors.

“Corporations should have to pay to clean up when their pollution makes our water undrinkable or our land unlivable,” Rabhi said. “Without this legislation, the people of Michigan will permanently lose access to ever-increasing amounts of our land and water. It’s time to hold polluters accountable and reclaim our state.”

Rabhi represents Ann Arbor, where the Pall-Gellman Corporation dumped hundreds of thousands of pounds of carcinogenic 1,4 dioxane into the groundwater over a period of decades. Even though a profitable corporation is responsible for the contamination, Michigan law does not require them to restore the groundwater to drinking water standards. Instead, private and municipal drinking water wells have been closed in a growing “prohibition zone,” as the contamination continues to spread towards the Huron River, the city’s main drinking water supply.

Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) has introduced identical legislation in the Senate as Senate Bill 58.