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Great Lakes Article:

Colin Powell may intervene in well project
Dingell asks official to see if toxic waste wells violate treaties

Craig Garrett
The Detroit News
04/23/2002

   ROMULUS -- The fight over construction of toxic injection wells in Romulus isn't over just yet.
   Opponents of the underground project are told that a top federal official may investigate whether pumping millions of gallons of hazardous waste a mile underground violates environmental treaties between the United States and Canada.
   U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, is asking U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to intervene in the well project, saying hazardous wells built close to Lake Erie could be unsafe. Powell would become the arbitrator in a dispute between the two North American neighbors.
   Possible leakage of waste injected a mile underground "would place the entire ecosystem" at great risk, Dingell said.
   Dingell also told opponents gathered at an Earth Day rally Monday that possible irregularities occurred during the state and federal permit process to build the two hazardous wells, an assertion the Birmingham well developers have long said is preposterous.
   For over a decade, Environmental Disposal Systems had rightfully obtained more than a dozen environmental and construction permits to build the two wells, company President Douglas Wicklund said.
   EDS would become the first company in Michigan to inject liquid toxins underground, should a final permit be granted. EDS has dug the two wells near Interstate 94 and must show the EPA that the wells are safe. Wicklund was unavailable for comment on Monday.
   A possible federal investigation into how the construction permits were granted could stall or stop the project altogether, Dingell said.
   "The history (of this) situation has been very bad," he said.
   The well issue in Romulus has turned a community largely known for its sprawling metropolitan airport into a battlefield over civic and property rights.
   When EDS first proposed building a single injection well in the city in 1989, much of Romulus welcomed the developers with open arms. Romulus would share in the projected million-dollar bounty by accepting part of the fees for flushing liquid industrial waste down a cement tube nearly 4,000 feet underground.
   But opposition to the project swelled. Romulus and its municipal neighbor, Taylor, sued EDS in the mid 1990s over jurisdictional rights to injecting hazardous waste. The two cities and EDS again square off in court this summer.
   Romulus and Taylor "are standing up and saying no" to the well developers, said Patricia Lentz, a longtime well opponent. "We'd like to leave the earth in as good of shape as when we got it."
   
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