Toxic Turquoise Chemical Spill Avoidable: Demand for Polluter Pay Laws Escalates 


CONTACT: Christy McGillivray,  808-726-5325

Detroit, MI - News of hundreds of gallons of yet-to-be-identified toxic material turning a Lake St. Clair tributary bright turquoise alarmed Michiganders on Friday morning. EPA is on site working to control the spill, and warning residents to stay away from the contaminated waterway. The flagrant negligence that led to this spill is yet another example of why Michiganders are demanding that the State Legislature act on the strong polluter pay laws currently introduced. 

“The lack of oversight of the storage of this toxic material, the fact that we EPA is not able to quickly and easily identify it, the fact that our tax dollars are going to a federal emergency response because of the negligence of the former owner of this facility are all infuriating examples of why we must act immediately on strong polluter pay laws. It is unacceptable for Michiganders to be forced to keep subsidizing bad polluter behavior with the health of our Great Lakes, our own health, and our own tax dollars. The state legislature must pass the polluter pay package to avoid future disasters like this” said Christy McGillivray, Sierra Club Michigan’s Legislative and Political Director. 

News of the contamination in Lake St. Clair follows an announcement from EGLE yesterday that the McLouth Steel facility superfund site was discovered to be oozing a corrosive, dangerous milky liquid at its north end in the Wayne County city of Riverview. Michigan is clearly struggling with a pattern of polluter negligence that continues to threaten public health and the Great Lakes. 

The package of bills, introduced as House Bills 5241-5247 and Senate Bills 605-611, would set robust requirements for environmental cleanups, enhance transparency into cleanup sites, prevent new orphan sites from being created, and empower those impacted by pollution to pursue justice.