The Executive Director of the Kalamazoo River Cleanup Coalition says public input is an important part of the process in cleaning up a federal Superfund site.
Gary Wager says public comment and political pressure have changed the course of negotiations to clean up the former Allied Paper Landfill in Kalamazoo. "I think this would have been done, actually a long time ago and not to our liking had it not been for the public intervention" leading up to the Environmental Protection Agency's cleanup proposal.
The EPA has proposed consolidating PCB contamination and monitoring the site. Many activists had wanted all contamination removed. But Wager says the EPA’s plan is similar to a proposal developed by the city. He says while the Superfund is "not super anymore" because it's not fully funded. Wager says the Allied Paper site is competing against other sites around the country for attention and money.
A community roundtable event will be held Thursday at the Washington Writers Academy. Another will be held next October 22nd at the Hispanic-American Council. The EPA’s Public Meeting is scheduled for November 19th at Washington Writers' Academy. Wager says the public roundtable events will provide information. He says the public meeting in November is the best opportunity for the public to weigh in on the proposal. The public comment period on the EPA's cleanup plan for the Allied Paper Landfill site runs through December 1st.