LANSING – Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) has reintroduced two bills to increase transparency in the air quality permitting process and protect residents from dangerous toxic substances impacting their health. She introduced the bills in recognition that the month of May is Air Quality and Asthma Awareness Month.
“I cannot understate the issue of air quality in my district and the impact of hazardous, toxic substances on my residents,” Sen. Chang said. “We need to hold corporate polluters responsible for the effect they have on our environment and residents’ health. From asthma to COPD, the stories in my district are too powerful to ignore. My legislation puts people first by demanding transparency, accountability and corporate responsibility.”
Senate Bill 325 would require that petroleum coke, the byproduct of refined tar sands that’s also known as “pet coke,” and other bulk solid materials be properly covered to prevent airborne dust and water runoff into local waterways. The bill would also mandate that these materials be securely contained when transported.
Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit) plans on introducing the companion House bill this week.
The second bill, Senate Bill 326, and House Bill 4624, introduced by Rep. Alex Garza (D-Taylor), would require that air quality permits, both new ones and renewal permits, issued by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy in geographic areas with a high burden of air pollution already, include a report on cumulative pollution levels and effects, paid for by the applicant.
Currently, air quality permit applications are reviewed on an individual basis and are compared to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. While the permit review process does include an analysis of how additional air pollution from a company will add to existing pollution levels, it does so on an individual pollutant basis and does not consider the combined impact of multiple pollutants on human health.
“We can all agree on the negative effects pollution has on our environment and public health,” Rep. Garza said. “By establishing reporting requirements on pollution levels emitted by corporate entities, we will be able to effectively hold polluters accountable who do the most harm while pushing them to enact sensible policies to reduce emissions.”
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