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Dingell, State Senator and Reps Hold Town Hall on Environmental Protection

Washington, October 8, 2019

WYANDOTTE, MI – Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12), State Senator Stephanie Chang, State Representative Cara Clemente, and State Representative Darrin Camilleri hosted a town hall discussion on efforts to clean up industrial pollution of the past across Downriver communities. The representatives were also jointed by State Senator Marshall Bullock.

A link to the photos from the event can be found here.

“We all remember the industrial pollution downriver – air filled with smoke and rivers contaminated,” said Congresswoman Dingell. “Since those days we’ve come a long way and we must continue to hold new industry to higher standards. We cannot move the needle backwards on environmental protection.”

"The quality of our air, water and land is a huge priority for Downriver residents and for me and my team so we can protect public health. Whether it is clean and affordable drinking water, the clean up of the McLouth Steel site, or protecting our air and waterways from polluters, I look forward to continuing the hard work in advocating for environmental protection and partnering with Congresswoman Dingell and other leaders to get things done,” said State Senator Stephanie Chang.

“Downriver, we’re surrounded by water and land that’s seen centuries of heavy industrial use,” said State Representative Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown). “We have a duty to clean up our air, water, and land, and it’s time for real solutions and real action. I’m committed to fighting for stronger PFAS standards, improving water quality, and building safer, healthier communities through greater transparency and accountability.”

“Friends of the Rouge appreciated the opportunity to participate in the Downriver Environmental Town Hall Panel and engage with concerned residents about the Rouge River and other environmental issues,” said Sally Petrella, Monitoring Program Manager, Friends of the Rouge.

“MPART would like to thank Congresswoman Dingell for her leadership on this issue,” said Steve Sliver, executive director of the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team. “Michigan is at the forefront of developing standards for these contaminants, but states can’t tackle the growing threat of PFAS alone and Congresswoman Dingell’s work in Washington has been instrumental in protecting Michigan’s water.”

“It is wonderful so many people could join the Town Hall and it was an honor to participate, especially coming on the heels of the announcement for the opening event of Refuge Gateway. So much work has gone into completing the John D Dingell Jr. Visitor Center and Refuge Gateway, with so many partners, we can't wait to share it with the public next spring. We’re grateful for Mrs. Dingell’s leadership as we navigate the beginning of this new chapter for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge in the Downriver community and hope everyone will come out and help us celebrate on May 9, 2020," said Susan White Refuge Manager, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

“I appreciate Congresswoman Dingell hosting the Environmental Town Hall meeting tonight that focused on the Downriver communities. I was happy that I had the opportunity to highlight the World Class fisheries opportunities available in the Detroit River. Having access to recreational opportunities contributes to the quality of life in the community,” said Jim Francis, Lake Erie Basin Coordinator, Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

“It was great to have a forum for local residents to be able to attend and hear about some of the great things that the Friends of the Detroit River and the other panelists are doing to help protect and improve the Detroit River and surrounding watershed. It was also great to able to hear and respond to some of the questions and issues that local residents were able to bring up at the meeting,” said Robert Burns, Riverkeeper, Friends of the Detroit River.

"Last night’s town hall was well-attended and shows that our community is active and engaged on this important issue. As a representative whose district runs along one of our nation’s most important waterways, we must continue collaborating at all levels of government to find meaningful steps towards environmental preservation and public health and safety,” Rep. Cara Clemente.

Since coming to Congress, Dingell has worked to keep Michigan’s rivers, lakes, and air pollution free. As co-chair of the Great Lakes Task Force, Dingell is a leader in Congress on protecting the environment and taking steps to combat climate change. This Congress, Dingell has led legislation that would promote investment in research and development of electric vehicles. Dingell has also led legislation that would provide increased funding for endangered species and establish a grant program to promote climate literacy for students and educations.

Earlier this year, Dingell reintroduced the Vehicle Innovation Act which would promote investments in research and development of clean vehicle and advanced safety technologies to increase fuel efficiency and reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

Dingell has also secured three provisions to address PFAS contamination were included in the Defense budget for next fiscal year. The provisions would require the Federal government to designate PFAS as a hazardous substance for the purpose of clean up under the EPA’s Superfund Program, facilitate coordinated response between local communities and the military to clean up PFAS chemicals, and ban the use of PFAS in packaging of meals eaten by men and women in uniform.

Panelists who joined the elected officials include:

Steve Sliver, Executive Director, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy

Brian Kelly Federal On-Scene Coordinator, EPA Emergency Response Branch (EPA)

Susan White, Refuge Manager, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Jim Francis, Lake Erie Basin Coordinator, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Matt Best, co-chair, Alliance of Downriver Watersheds

Robert Burns, Riverkeeper, Friends of the Detroit River

Sally Petrella, Monitoring Program Manager, Friends of the Rouge

Sean McBrearty, Campaign Organizer, Clean Water Action

Brian Loftus, Grosse Ile Supervisor (Moderator)

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This press release has been updated.

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