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State House Democrats propose legislation to make corporate polluters pay more for cleanups

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State House Democrats are rolling out a package of bills aimed at forcing corporate polluters to pay for cleaning up their messes.

The eight bill package would increase fines, eliminate the statute of limitations on civil claims and repeal limits on the state’s ability to crack down on polluters.

The proposed bill package is in response to the recent “green ooze” incident in Metro Detroit. Toxic chemicals from an old factory leaked onto a nearby highway, forcing an expensive cleanup effort.

Rep. Isaac Robinson (D-Detroit) wants corporations to be held more accountable for cleaning up contamination.

“Today, state lawmakers are taking aim at bad corporate polluters,” says Robinson. “Bad actors…who have poisoned us without being punished."

The legislation goes beyond expensive clean-up projects.

Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy) wants to bar corporate polluters from sitting on state panels that oversee environmental regulations.

“No more letting polluters regulate themselves. That’s what this bill package is about,” says Kuppa. “No more letting the fox guard the hen house.”

The bill’s sponsors say this is an issue that crosses party lines and transcends Michigan’s traditional regional boundaries.

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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