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Will the EPA change its mind again?


A public forum is being held Monday night on PCB contamination at the former Allied Paper landfill in Kalamazoo. The Kalamazoo River Cleanup Coalition is hosting the forum in the Bernhard Center at Western Michigan University, it begins at 7:00. 

WMUK’s Gordon Evans spoke with Sarah Hill, a professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies at Western Michigan University, and one of founding members of Kalamazoo River clean up coalition, it evolved out of effort to bring PCB-laden sediments into Kalamazoo in 2007. In that case the EPA reversed its decision.

Hill says now the EPA wants to cap PCB materials at the Bryant Mill Pond and keep them on site, while the coalition wants them removed. Hill says the forum is being held to bring people up to date on the EPA’s plans for the site and why the city of Kalamazoo is not in favor of that proposal.

The city says that the EPA has presented a cost estimate of over $360-million to remove the PCB material. But Hill says the EPA’s methods of estimating the cost are not clear. She says a representative from Environmental Quality, a company licensed to receive contaminated material, will be at Monday’s meeting. Hill says their cost estimate is closer to $100-million.

Hill says if the PCB materials are left there, then the community will be stuck with them in perpetuity. She says that has implications for this and future generations in Kalamazoo. Hill says that the coalition hopes that public pressure can again convince the EPA to reverse its decision.

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.