LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Keep responsible Cannon government

Dear Editor,

Hi, my name is Karen Fiebig and I am writing because I do not like what I believe to be half-truths. Recently, a number of Cannon Township residents received a mailing from the opponents to the reelection of the majority of our Cannon Township Board. This mailing claimed that the majority of our Board voted down a motion to decrease our millage. Of course they did! It was the responsible thing to do. I know this because I was a trustee on the Cannon Township Board in the 1990s. I also know that the only millage that the Cannon Township Board has yearly discretionary control over is less than 1 mill (.83 mills). Even though this is a small amount per individual household, added together it makes a difference in our township budget. Responsible boards do not pass motions without empirical data and/or impact statements to show the effect on the budget. Check out the March 26, 2012 minutes on the Cannon website and while you are at it, please read more to prove how responsible our Board has been in contracting with the North Kent Sewer Authority (NKSA). Whole truths speak for themselves. Please vote for the majority of the standing Cannon Township Board in the Primary Election on Aug. 7, 2012. They deserve to be reelected for the many accomplishments they have made in our behalf and for responsibly and ethically representing us all. Thank you.

Karen Fiebig
Rockford resident

Reader questions EPA article

Dear Editor,

I would like to comment on some inaccuracies in the July 5’s front page article, “EPA turns tannery site back to Wolverine, MDEQ.”

Initially, it was reported that EPA was approached by only three concerned citizens. In fact, the Preliminary Assessment Petition that was sent to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was signed by 25 individuals, many of whom are leaders in our community, not just three. These signatories belonged to an organization of concerned citizens that currently consists of over 150 interested individuals. Additionally, the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, Kent Conservation District, and Clean Water Action share our concerns regarding documented impacts to groundwater, to soil and to the Rogue River Watershed, as related to the recent tannery demolition. These groups have substantive environmental backgrounds. Each of the groups have written a letters to the EPA in support of the petition. In sum, our concerns are not limited to just a few individuals.

Secondly, I am perplexed by Michael Young’s comment that it is “very good news” that state and federal authorities have found that the site has scored high enough to warrant further action under federal law… a site that is acting as the source of groundwater contamination, ongoing “discharges to the Rogue River,” and that has contaminant impacts to “surface and subsurface soils.” Importantly, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has determined that further “investigation and remediation” activities are required to address this contamination, not just further “investigation,” as implied in the article. Contaminants identified to date that must be cleaned up include significant levels of hexavalent chromium, mercury, lead, arsenic, ammonia, and cyanide. If there is any “good news,” it is that much of the contamination remains behind a fenced area, leaving exposures “only” to those who use the Rogue River and those “walkers and bikers” who use the recreational White Pine Trail along the river… individuals that potentially remain “at risk of direct contact to contaminated” media according to EPA.

Although no federal emergency removal action is being required at this time, this is presumably because the bulk of the contamination remains behind a fence and, as the noted by MDEQ, a significant portion of the contamination found to date has been already been removed. Unfortunately, as MDEQ also points out, the concentrations of contamination in the soils and construction debris “were never documented and confirmation samples were never collected” before the wastes were hauled away… a valid concern given that most of the impacted building materials were hauled to a non-hazardous construction waste facility, for potential re-use.

I also find it somewhat disingenuous that Mr. Young now says that cleanup authority actions were “formally requested” by the City. Rockford was told just two years that “there is no known contamination on the property,” and Rockford chose not to require site testing before demolition. Yet real concerns remain, which is why the EPA has not waived its authority over the investigation and remediation of the site. The EPA will periodically review the work being performed at the site, and “retain their enforcement authority.” MDEQ will be reporting to the EPA at least twice a year.

The contamination found to date, as well as that discovered during the ongoing investigation, can be addressed both quickly and safely, without impacting businesses and residents. As neighbors, we have the privilege and responsibility to make sure that this contamination is not ignored or otherwise left unaddressed. To that end, we appreciate all that EPA and MDEQ have done to address our concerns.

 Mike McIntosh
Rockford resident

Reader enjoys Cedarsapiens

Dear Editor,

I don’t know the names of the people at Rockford’s 93 West Division, but I sure know that I like them! You know where I mean. Just west of the Rogue River on the north side of the street stands their three shrub family members that they dress up and decorate to suit the holiday, weather, RHS pride, and all other occasions! I always turn my head as I pass to see them waving, wearing red white and blue, scarves and mittens, holding Easter baskets with flowers in their shrub hair, and so many other clever decorations.

The people there must have a great sense of humor and be a lot of fun! A big thank-you to them for always putting a smile on our faces!

Donna Danielson
Rockford resident

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