officials hear comments on environment at open house
John Tunison The Grand Rapids Press
HOLLAND -- Gerrit Sturrus
wanted to give the state's top environmental enforcement
officer a few thoughts Monday on how to tackle the clean-up
of PCB-contaminated soils in the Kalamazoo River.
had to settle for discussing the matter with other supervisors
with the state Department of Environmental Quality.
Several DEQ officials
were at West Ottawa's Harbor Lights School on Monday as
part of an open house to take comments on various environmental
Although a DEQ notice
had indicated that DEQ Director Russell Harding would
be in Holland, he was not able to make the stop.
"I kind of thought he
was going to be here," a disappointed Sturrus said.
Sturrus wanted to share
his concerns about a decision last year to transfer most
of the responsibility for cleaning up PCB-contaminated
sediments in the Kalamazoo River to the federal Environmental
Sturrus, of Saugatuck,
figures the move probably won't help speed the river's
cleanup and lift an advisory on eating fish caught in
the river. He believes the EPA lacks the funding to properly
address the cleanup.
DEQ officials from eight
divisions, such as the air quality and environmental response
divisions, were at "stations" set up in the school's cafeteria.
Rich Powers, chief of
the land and water management division, said Monday's
open house was simply an opportunity for residents to
ask any environmental-related question.
It was one of about
30 public meetings the DEQ has sponsored in Michigan communities
since 1996. The next meeting is June 3 in Escanaba.
Powers said the meetings
help DEQ officials better understand how environmental
policies effect residents.
David Swan of the Saugatuck
area showed up Monday to ask questions about an ongoing
effort to build a water treatment plant at Saugatuck Dunes
Swan is concerned such
a plant would cause too much environmental disruption
to the park.
He also wanted to talk
to DEQ officials about ongoing cases of groundwater contamination,
involving a chemical degreaser, in the Saugatuck and Douglas
Holland resident Carol
McGeehan, who has long championed environmental issues,
came to learn more about DEQ regulations for building
homes on sites with contaminated groundwater or soils.
She said she has been
following news about a development planned for the former
Mi-Ro Golf Course in Douglas. Groundwater underneath a
portion of the site is contaminated, although the development
will be served by public water.