MADISON HEIGHTS — Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) and Rep. Jim Ellison (D-Royal Oak), who both represent Madison Heights in the State Legislature, visited Electro-Plating Services, Inc. today along with Madison Heights Mayor Pro Tem Roslyn Grafstein to learn more about the response and remediation efforts of the cancer-causing sludge emanating from its site.

Since the news broke about the leak of the substance onto nearby I-696 in Madison Heights, the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy has been working alongside the U.S. Environmental Agency to control the situation. Unfortunately, more information has also been coming out about just how long Gary Sayers, the owner of the company, was able to commit environmental atrocities.

“We’re working to make sure the state and its agencies have all the tools necessary to do their jobs on this site effectively and efficiently. We also have to look back and examine how two decades of violations didn’t prevent the contamination we’re dealing with today,” Sen. Moss said. “This mess was caused by an extraordinarily bad actor, yet there are many ways we must proactively tighten up policies and procedures so that no community will worry if the state is adequately protecting their health and safety from people like Gary Sayers. I’ve spent my tenure in the State Legislature combatting environmental injustice and will work to close the gaps in the law that allowed this situation to happen in Madison Heights.”

Sayers recently reported to prison to serve his one-year sentence for illegally transporting hazardous waste, but the future of the Electro-Plating Services property — and the appropriate cleanup needed — remains in question.

“I’m thankful to the emergency personnel who’ve acted so quickly to ensure the safety of our residents, but I remain concerned about the degree of contamination, its long-term effects on people and the environment, and the future of this site and others like it,” Rep. Ellison said. “We as legislators are committed to providing solutions that hold polluters responsible, allow for stronger environmental protections, and include better ways to intercept and intervene sooner when incidences like this happen.  We must make our state a healthier, safer place for all.”

“Over the last three weeks I have reached out to experts in the field from across the country, seeking their guidance and suggestions on what our next steps should be,” Mayor Pro Tem Grafstein said. “I heard the concerns of our residents and as a resident myself, I want solutions and action. Right now, our focus is on cleanup and ensuring the safety of our residents. We appreciate everything EGLE and the EPA are doing now to expedite testing with a goal for complete remediation. Everyone is aware that all eyes are now on us. Moving forward I hope the state and federal agencies will use this as an impetus to update their procedures and policies so that no other municipality will have to go through this. We are working with Senator Moss, Representative Ellison, EGLE and other agencies to coordinate a Public Briefing to address our questions and concerns.”