Excerpts from an Oakland Press article by Ronald Seigel, 4-1-16:
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality sent a notice March 9 to both the Detroit Water and Sewage Department and the newly formed Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) serving the suburbs, that employee layoffs made in the Detroit Water System last October violated state environmental laws and a consent agreement made several years ago. [Emphasis added.]
The State MDEQ stated these layoffs violated an administrative consent order between that state agency, and the Detroit Water and Sewage Department and agreed to by the newly formed GLWA, which took charge of suburban water at the start this year. MDEQ stated the agreement required at least 95 percent of the minimum staffing level of the MDEQ’s approved staffing plan “on an average annual basis,” but after the layoffs the staffing level went down to 85 percent.
[GLWA Director Susan] McCormick stated that many or most of the functions of the laid off employees will be replaced by new hires and internal transfers.GLWA Counsel William Wolfson said because the consent agreement requiring GLWA to have 95 percent of the minimum staffing level specified, that this would be done on an “annual average basis.”
Do MDEQ’s sudden concerns about staffing at GLWA and the obvious bearing staffing has on public health and safety reflect a new vigilance at MDEQ? If so, we can expect a lot more actions like this one.
Consider the past inattention to Michigan’s numerous impaired waters, in addition to the glacial pace of restoring Michigan’s toxic Areas of Concern, not to mention the disgraceful pollution caused by turning a blind eye to the discharged manure of hundreds of thousands of animals in Michigan’s industrial-scale livestock feeding operations.
Or does laissez faire continue to reign supreme in those arenas? Time will tell.