An enforcement plan for Stellantis, the east side automotive facility that has received seven air quality violations since 2021, has been finalized by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.
The legally-binding plan went into effect Friday and includes several changes after a proposed consent order was met with resident and environmental advocate disapproval during an online public hearing in October by EGLE.
The original order would have required Stellantis to pay $62,863 to the State of Michigan General Fund, invest $212,000 into environmental projects in the area, and install pollution control technology. But the final plan dropped one of the environmental projects, increased the amount Stellantis will pay in fines, and gave a concrete timeline for pollution control installation.
For residents who have complained of worsened health from the ongoing air quality violations, a chief complaint was the lack of a concrete timeline in the original draft order for pollution control additions.
Now, according to the finalized consent order, the company must install another regenerative thermal oxidizer to treat and control air emissions by June 30, 2023. Additionally, the final plan removed one of the supplemental environmental projects the company had initially proposed.
The company said in a Monday statement that it is pleased to have the settlement to resolve odor issues at the Detroit plant finalized.
“We want to thank our neighbors for their patience in giving us the opportunity to resolve this issue,” the Stellantis statement reads. “We are committed to doing our best to regain their trust as we move forward together.”
Supplemental environmental projects are optional in a consent order agreement, and offset fines that a company must pay. Stellantis originally proposed two projects: plant trees at Brewer Park on Fairview Avenue and upgrade the building management system at Southeastern High School. During the October public hearing, residents raised concerns about the relevancy of both environmental projects, with one resident calling it a “PR campaign.” In response to the comments EGLE said it decided to remove the Brewer Park project.
Instead, the company will pay more money into the state’s general fund. The proposed consent order was also changed to include fines for an October violation Stellantis received, after the proposed consent order was created. With the removal of the supplemental environmental project, and the addition of the October violation, the company’s payments to the state’s general fund increased from $62,863 to $136,832.
In November, the company received another violation which the state said would be addressed outside of the consent order.
At Stellantis’ nearby Warren facility, the company has received four other air quality violations in the past year, for failure to limit air pollution emissions. The state told BridgeDetroit in November that the finalized consent order would also include the Warren emissions, but it does not.
“The Warren violations will be addressed in a separate consent order for that facility,” EGLE spokesperson Jill Greenberg wrote to BridgeDetroit in an email. “That action is upcoming.”
Sounded like EGLE misunderstood the residents in their complaint. Describing the environmental projects as seemingly like PR stunts doesn’t direct them to scrape them for marginally improved enforcement.
While fantastic that there are actual timelines for the pollution controls, the fines are teeny. Why would Stellantis change their behavior?
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