Granholm Signs Directive to Prohibit Toxic Material Disposal in Michigan’s Waters
LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that she has issued an executive directive prohibiting the dumping of dredge material contaminated with toxic substances such as dioxin or PCBs into the waters of the Great Lakes.
Executive Directive 2004-1 prohibits state agencies from issuing permits for the open water disposal of contaminated dredge material. The material is accumulated when bodies of water are dredged to improve navigability and when contaminated areas within the Great Lakes Basin are being restored. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has formally proposed dumping contaminated dredge materials into the open waters of Lake Michigan, a practice that is already happening in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie.
“We cannot allow our Great Lakes to be the dumping ground for toxic materials,” said Granholm. “The toxins contained in the dredge sediment could pose significant dangers to fish, other indigenous aquatic life, wildlife, and human health. When I look out over Lake Michigan or any of the Great Lakes, I want to see people hauling steelhead and walleye into their boats, not barges dumping contaminated sediment into the water.”
The executive directive is part of Granholm’s plan for managing, preserving, and protecting Michigan’s waters. The prohibition against open water disposal is one of six initiatives presented by Granholm on Tuesday in a special message to the Michigan Legislature. The Governor’s plan includes a water withdrawal statute, regulation of ballast water discharge, funding for the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), revision of the state sanitary code, protection of isolated wetlands, and federal funding for Great Lakes restoration projects.
“The Great Lakes fuel our economy,” said Granholm. “They are our tourist attractions, our economic development tools and critical cogs in our manufacturing machine. It is our responsibility as environmental and economic stewards to take action now to protect our water. If we don’t act now, we leave the door open for some other state or some other country to take action for us and determine the future of our Great Lakes. I’m not willing to let that happen.”