EPA calls for ‘community interviews’ about McLouth Steel site

worker_furnace175The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a public call for “community interviews” regarding the former McLouth Steel property in Trenton.

Rachel Bassler, press officer for the EPA, said the goal of the interviews is to help develop a community involvement plan for the proposed Superfund site.

According to agency documentation, a CIP “is a site-specific strategy to enable meaningful community involvement throughout the Superfund cleanup process.

“CIPs specify EPA-planned community involvement activities to address community needs, concerns, and expectations that are identified through community interviews and other means.”

“Community interviews provide the basis for a community involvement plan to help the agency handle concerns and keep residents, businesses and local official informed and involved in the cleanup,” the announcement read.

 

On Jan. 22, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality sent a letter of violation to the owners of the McLouth Steel site regarding a failed asbestos inspection. The missive sparked widespread concern from local, state and federal officials.

State Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), whose district includes Trenton, said there is no excuse to expose employees and Downriver residents to toxic substances and potentially contaminate the Detroit River.

“I’m glad to see the MDEQ on the case so quickly,” she said. “Representative Camilleri and I will monitor this situation closely and advocate strongly to all parties involved to ensure the state holds corporate polluters accountable when the health of our residents are at risk.”

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-12th District) issued a statement on the violation, as well.

“As the McLouth Steel project proceeds, ensuring Downriver residents are safe will always be our number one priority,” she said. “Although these reports of increased asbestos levels are deeply disturbing, the system worked – MDEQ was on site even though the EPA is shutdown.

“As soon as asbestos was found, immediate steps were taken to correct the problem and a violation notice was issued. I spoke to Governor Whitmer to ensure delays do not happen and that this is remedied as soon as possible. Going forward, I will continue to work with the EPA, the State of Michigan, and the city of Trenton to make sure our communities remain safe as this project continues.”

 

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