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TELL OAKLAND COUNTY: FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE

HURON RIVER SPILL HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR STRONGER POLICIES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 8, 2022


CONTACT:

Andrew Sarpolis, andrew.sarpolis@sierraclub.org, (248) 924-4857

Sean McBrearty, smcbrearty@cleanwater.org, (616) 516-7758


HURON RIVER SPILL HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR STRONGER POLICIES THAT MAKE POLLUTERS PAY IN OAKLAND COUNTY, ACROSS MICHIGAN


ROYAL OAK, MI – Oakland County climate activist group Turn Oakland County Green today demanded that the company whose chemical spill has caused the closing of a long stretch of the Huron River to all use, and threatens the water supply of Ann Arbor, should be made to pay for all damage and cleanup costs.


“Michigan’s polluter pay law, once a model, was scrapped by Governor John Engler and the state legislature in 1995. Since then, taxpayers have been saddled with much of the cost of rectifying serious pollution,” said Fred Miller, a lead volunteer with the group and Oakland County resident.


On August 2, state officials announced that Wixom automotive supplier Tribar Technologies had released quantities of the dangerous carcinogen hexavalent chromium into the sewage system in Wixom, from which it entered the Huron River. Both Oakland County and State of Michigan health officials warned residents not to come into contact with the water in a large section of the Huron River in Western Oakland County, Livingston County and Washtenaw County.


“We demand that Tribar Technologies pay for all damage and cleanup costs. Polluters must pay, and that should be the law in Oakland County and across Michigan,” said Erik McCleary, an organizer at one of Turn Oakland County Green’s partner organization, Clean Water Action. “We can’t curb the ongoing and devastating pollution of the water, land and air if local polluters are let off the hook.”



Oakland County has the most inland lakes of any county in the state, and five river watersheds. However, water quality in Oakland County faces a number of threats, including issues from chemical spills and deteriorating septic fields.


“This company, a repeat offender, highlights how more must be done to protect these precious resources, our recreation areas and ourselves. Turn Oakland County Green supports strong polluter pay laws, including laws that make fossil-fuel companies share the monetary burden of climate change and extreme weather caused by fossil-fuel carbon pollution,” said Analicia Hazelby, a volunteer with Turn Oakland County Green and Citizens Climate Lobby. “We must do better.”

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The Oakland County Climate Campaign emerged in December 2019 as a response to the growing threat of climate change and the need for local governments to take action. Since then, they have grown into a powerful coalition working to make Oakland County a model for environmental leadership in the United States. Learn more: https://www.turnoaklandcountygreen.com/





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