KALAMAZOO, Mich.- There’s a local fight at the federal level in Kalamazoo, right now. It surrounds the old Allied Paper Mill and the plans the Environmental Protection Agency has for it.
The paper mill closed in 1971 but it’s still polluting an 80-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River and parts of Portage Creek. Concerns of the waste and PCB’s have the EPA hatching a plan to cover the old site, instead of a massive cleanup. These concerns are nothing new in the area; there have been water tests, talks of cleanup and even protests for years.
The Kalamazoo River Cleanup Coalition held a meeting Tuesday where Fox 17 learned the EPA will issue a proposal for the site in mid April. After that, there’s a 30-60 day period for public comment. During that time the coalition can plead their case for a complete site cleanup versus just a cover up.
In September, the EPA will issue their ‘record of decision.’ Right now, there is $50-million in a cleanup fund from a bankruptcy settlement. The EPA plans to use that money to cover the PCB contaminated waste.
The coalition says it would cost $120-million for a complete site cleanup while the EPA disagrees putting the estimate at $366-million.
The Kalamazoo River Cleanup coalition hopes to get committees and congressmen on board along with the community through social media, putting more pressure on the EPA to clean up the site properly.