Groups file lawsuit against EGLE for approving proposed asphalt plant air permit

On the northside of Flint, St. Francis Prayer Center is where people in need come for things...
On the northside of Flint, St. Francis Prayer Center is where people in need come for things like food and bedding, but right next door is where the proposed asphalt plant would be built.(WNEM)
Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 8:43 PM EST
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GENESEE TWP., Mich. (WNEM)- Mid-Michigan groups represented by Earthjustice and the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center are suing the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy for approving an air permit for an asphalt plant just outside Flint city limits in Genesee Township.

According to the lawsuit, EGLE justified the permit for the proposed Ajax Materials plant by using inappropriate air quality information from 50 miles away that includes inconsistent data about how much material the plant can process.

For months, residents and various organizations have protested the proposed asphalt plant saying it would lead to the death of clean air in a community still trying to recover from the Flint water crisis.

Earthjustice and the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center are representing several groups: the St. Francis Prayer Center, Citizens Advocate United Together to Inform Organized New Direction (C.A.U.T.I.O.N.), Michigan United, Flint Rising and Environmental Transformation Movement of Flint.

In a press release from Earthjustice, spokespeople from several of those groups explained why they say the lawsuit is necessary.

“EGLE has never seen a permit that it did not like,” said Flint Rising Director Nayyirah Shariff. “For months community members, and even EPA, said a toxic asphalt plant has no place in Genesee Township. EGLE consistently puts companies over communities. Hopefully, the court will center the health of our community and not validate EGLE’s rubber stamping of corporate interests.”

“Allowing this toxic plant in our neighborhood is a continuation of the racist systems that shape people’s lives in Flint and Genesee Township,” said Environmental Transformation Movement of Flint Executive Director Mona Munroe-Younis. “Our community deserves clean air and water. Instead, we are repeatedly given industrial pollution. This asphalt plant adds to the disproportionate burden on our community.”

“It is immoral that EGLE and the Township are allowing yet another polluting plant in a neighborhood that is still recovering from lead poisoning,” said St. Francis Prayer Center Director Deborah Hawley. “This community cannot and should not take more chemical pollution.”