Washington, D.C. (Dec. 8, 2022)—Today, Rep. Ro Khanna, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Environment, and Subcommittee Vice Chair Rep. Rashida Tlaib, sent letters to U.S. Ecology Detroit South and Stellantis, requesting information regarding health concerns stemming from toxic emissions at their facilities. The letters follow a Subcommittee field hearing at which residents who live blocks away from these facilities testified how pollution threatens their health and that of frontline communities.
“Residents described how asthma has impacted generations of families living near your toxic facility. We heard how they are expected to believe that respiratory problems, infertility and reproductive issues, and a myriad of other health problems are assumed risks for living near your operations,” wrote Chairman Khanna and Rep. Tlaib to U.S. Ecology Detroit South.
Since 2014, the State of Michigan issued 35 violation notices to the Detroit South facility, nine of which took place after the facility entered into a consent decree in 2020. Residents living near the Detroit South facility asked U.S. Ecology to enter into a formal Host Community Agreement, which would require the company to meet with residents in the neighborhood on a regular basis and update them about operations. U.S. Ecology previously entered into a Host Community Agreement for its Detroit North facility.
During the August 2022 field hearing, the Subcommittee learned that in a span of seven months—from September 20, 2021, to May 20, 2022—Stellantis was issued five violation notices. Since then, two additional notices were issued on October 4, 2022, and November 14, 2022.
In the letters, the Subcommittee requests more information about the facilities’ plans to mitigate air pollution and provide a safe environment for Detroit residents.
“While it is clear much more must be done to reform air permitting and enforcement systems, we are encouraged to hear that the State of Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has announced a consent order with Stellantis. However, residents have already expressed disappointment with what they perceive as ‘a great PR move for the company’ that ‘does nothing for the community being impacted by the smells.’ We share residents’ concerns about whether a consent order will effectively hold your company accountable, deter future violations, and deliver clean air and a safe environment for nearby residents,” wrote Chairman Khanna and Rep. Tlaib to Stellantis.