DETROIT (Oct. 19, 2022) — Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) issued the following statement on the day that the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is hosting a public hearing about the proposed administrative consent order to address five of six air quality violation notices that the department issued to Stellantis regarding its plant on Detroit’s east side:
“I am grateful for the tireless leadership and advocacy of Beniteau and East Side residents who keep speaking up for their health and quality of life. I hope that EGLE will finalize this administrative consent order with Stellantis as soon as possible so that residents may benefit from the new, regenerative thermal oxidizer that will help them to be able to breathe cleaner air. In the very beginning, Stellantis did not follow through on the permit they agreed on — they did not properly install pollution control equipment at their Mack Assembly Plant — and this has resulted in residents being subjected to smelling strong odors and emissions, which has resulted in reports of burning eyes, persistent coughing, tightening of the chest, difficulty breathing, headaches, and nausea.
“The fact that Stellantis has had six air quality violations in under 13 months is absolutely ridiculous. Every resident deserves clean air to breathe, and we as a state need to hold polluting companies accountable as strongly as possible. I am calling on Stellantis to take these matters more seriously. They need to treat the environment in which they work like the home it is for so many residents by implementing a strong home repair program to supplement the existing work being done by the city, as well as a voluntary buyout program.
“I will continue to advocate for my bill, Senate Bill 54, which would create an Air Quality Enforcement & Mitigation Fund, so that fines paid by polluting companies would go into a fund that redirects money back into the communities affected by pollution. We need to avoid a process where supplemental environmental projects are negotiated directly with polluting companies. They should pay the fine and the department should decide where the funding goes to mitigate environmental concerns, with a representative advisory committee focused on environmental justice.”