Detroit Free Press: Peters, Chang want U.S.-Canada air pollution study of Detroit
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and state Rep. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, are asking a joint American-Canadian group to investigate the public health effects of air pollution in and around metro Detroit and provide recommendations for cutting emissions.
Peters and Chang each wrote letters to the International Joint Commission (IJC) this week saying Detroit has a rate of asthma in children that is the highest in the nation for big cities and that part of Wayne County isn’t meeting sulfur dioxide standards years after falling out of compliance.
The state, which was required to submit a plan for controlling pollutants in that non-attainment area from Detroit south along the Detroit River past Trenton by April 2015, submitted its plan to address sulfur dioxide emissions to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for final approval in May of this year.
In making the request to the IJC Peters and Chang noted that air pollution concerns exist not only on the Detroit side of the border, where there are various industrial facilities, but across the Detroit River in Essex County, Ontario, where there is an oil refinery and power plants as well.
The IJC is an independent group of commissioners appointed by both nations and which regulates shared American-Canadian water uses and investigates transboundary issues.
“Wayne County and Essex County residents deserve to know the cumulative impact that these multiple air pollutants have on their health,” wrote Peters, in a letter dated today. “Residents in this region are exposed to a combination of pollutants and there is growing concern that this exposure is detrimental to their health, despite the area meeting (other) individual pollutant standards.”
“Additionally, the Detroit Riverfront continues to face threats from new pollution sources,” added Peters. “For example, there have been recent proposals to store uncontained metallurgical coke along the riverfront despite residents’ opposition to yet another source of fine particulate matter in the area.”
Chang, in her letter, said that with Wayne County and Essex County home to “multiple steel plants, an oil refinery, and international bridge, coal plants and more” and truck traffic expected to increase with a second international bridge proposed, “residents have been calling for a cumulative impact study in order to better understand the combined impact of the air pollution from various sources.”
By: Todd Spangler
Source: Detroit Free Press
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