36 tons of radioactive sludge is on its way to the Wayne Disposal Landfill near Belleville
State Representatives Dian Slavens (D-Canton) and Douglas Geiss (D-Taylor) expressed their concern today over a shipment of radioactive fracking waste from the state of Pennsylvania that is set to be dumped near Belleville. As environmental regulations have tightened in other states, private companies are turning to Michigan as a dumping ground for caustic substances and radioactive sludge.
“We need a fully effective system of rules to protect our health and safeguard our quality of life,” Slavens said. “Our tax dollars should be going toward making schools stronger, not lining the pockets of wealthy CEOs.”
As the process of hydraulic fracturing – also known as fracking – expands across the nation, many states have implemented stricter regulations to curtail environmental threats posed by this process and new restrictions on the disposal of radioactive waste that it generates.
An article in the Detroit Free Press on Tuesday revealed that Michigan has become a dumping ground for the radioactive sludge created in many other states including Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Those states have established that it’s not safe to store the material in their own dumps, so they’re sending it here to Michigan.
According to the Free Press, 36 tons of radioactive sludge is on its way to the Wayne Disposal Landfill in Van Buren Township, near Belleville, Michigan. It’s unclear whether or not it has already arrived in its destination, but area residents, who live as close as a quarter of a mile from the dumping site, are concerned about the safety implications this has on their community.
“It is imperative that stricter rules be implemented. The governor has the power to do this. Michigan allows radiation levels ten times higher than surrounding states. Michigan allows radiation levels up to 50 picocuries, which is one hundred times greater than naturally occurring levels. Pennsylvania and Ohio limit their waste to only 5 picocuries. The dumping in Van Buren Township is of concern due to the proximity of this waste storage facility to both densely populated areas and to the Huron River watershed,” said Geiss. “We must take action to safeguard our Great Lakes and our access to fresh, clean water; we must preserve the environmental health of our state that is so critically important to the vitality of industries from agriculture to tourism and, more importantly, to the well-being of every individual in Michigan.”
“We’ll be exploring legislative options to ensure the protection of the Great Lakes,” Slavens said. “In the meantime, Governor Rick Snyder and the Department of Environmental Quality should take administrative measures to make sure Michigan doesn’t become our nation’s landfill.”
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State Representative Dian Slavens
21st House District