[box type=”default” size=”large”] State Senate passes Senator Hopgood’s legislation [/box]
LANSING – Senate Bill 1105, which seeks an end to speculative investments in a controversial hazardous waste injection well facility in Romulus, was passed in the Senate last Jan. 15.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D–Taylor).
In addition to the grave environmental and health risks associated with injecting hazardous waste underground, the facility has been at the center of a failed investment scheme involving the Detroit Police and the Fire Retirement System.
“Misguided investments in this dangerous project have jeopardized the financial stability of many local workers and retirees, and that’s simply shameful,” Hopgood said.
“We must take action to prevent this type of harm from occurring in the future, and I am pleased that my colleagues in the Senate took a step in that direction by supporting this important piece of legislation.”
The Romulus facility, previously owned by Environmental Disposal Systems (EDS), began injecting hazardous waste into mile-deep disposal wells in 2006, but was shut down by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in the first year of operation due to the leaks. The pension board of the Detroit Police and Fire Retirement System invested in the project by issuing multi-million dollar loans to the operator of the facility, but the loans were eventually defaulted on, resulting in approximately $40 million in losses.
In recent years, Environmental Geo-Technologies, which is owned by Greektown businessman Jim Papas, has received permits to resume operations at the facility.
Senate Bill 1105 seeks to stop future investments in the failed project and protect pensioners from further harm. The bill would provide that an investment fiduciary of a large sponsored system that has invested in a hazardous waste disposal well facility would be prohibited from making additional investments in the facility and would be required to sell, redeem, divest or withdraw all investments in the facility if certain conditions occur, including the operator of the facility files for bankruptcy, a controlling interest in the operator of the facility is sold or transferred, or if an environmental protection violation occurs at the facility.