Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13) joined with State Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) for a press conference Monday on the site of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) new assembly plant in Detroit.
The two lawmakers called on FCA and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to invest $12.5 million in a public health fund to help protect the population from air pollution.
“I’ve said this over and over again: jobs do not fix cancer, and so we need to make sure that it’s not just jobs. It has to be a good quality of life. We cannot give up our health and our right to breathe clean air for jobs,” Tlaib said during the press conference, according to the Detroit Free Press. “We live in your backyard. You have a responsibility to us.”
Residents joining with Congresswoman @RashidaTlaib and State Senator @stephanielily to call on @FiatChrysler_NA to do more to protect residents from the environmental impact of its new plant. I’m live and local on @WWJ950 at 10:30.
Listen live https://t.co/rjkMApPyfq pic.twitter.com/jTy12WFF6P
— Vickie Thomas (@VickiethomasWWJ) October 28, 2019
Sen. Chang said she’s heard from concerned constituents about the affects the new plant could have on their asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other illnesses. But FCA maintains that the new assembly plant will have “the lowest emissions rate in the United States.”
“FCA is not only committed to creating 5,000 new jobs in Detroit, but also building an assembly plant that will have the lowest emissions rate in the United States. Also, we will voluntarily conduct additional air monitoring and make those results public,” the company said in a statement released Monday. “Today, we are currently engaged with various Detroit community groups to determine additional environmental projects to ensure we’re a good neighbor that is respectful of the community in which we’ve been allowed to operate. We will announce those plans once finalized.”
According to Tlaib and Chang, more than 780 residents signed a petition that was delivered to the FCA and Michigan EGLE on Monday. The petition demands $12.5 million for a public health fund to “support protections and public health education for vulnerable populations around the project.”
Tomorrow we will deliver petitions signed by >780 residents, urging FCA & @MichiganEGLE to include key public health & environmental protections for East Side residents.
We've heard from many about their asthma & COPD, concerns about trucks on neighborhood streets, VOC increase. https://t.co/LpHZ8gFzLg
— Stephanie Chang (@stephanielily) October 28, 2019
“$7.5 million will support the estimated cost of filter installation in 10 large, 15 medium and 10 small buildings, and $5 million will support ongoing public health education,” the petition elaborates.
Other demands in the petition include the installation air filtration systems and air quality monitoring systems in nearby schools and senior-living buildings, as well as vegetative buffers, truck routing, and regular community meetings.
“Therefore, we urge FCA to include all of the following recommendations and projects, and respectfully request that EGLE only approve FCA’s Environmental Plan if these are included,” says the petition.
“Right here, yet again, we have corporations like FCA taking millions in public subsidies (land and our tax money) while a block over, a low income neighborhood has to live with dirty air, noise, trucks coming down their streets and more,” Tlaib wrote on Twitter after the news conference.
Right here, yet again, we have corporations like @FiatChrysler_NA taking millions in public subsidies (land and our tax $) while a block over, a low income neighborhood, has to live with dirty air, noise, trucks coming down their streets and more. 1/2 https://t.co/wTRSKLClf4
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) October 28, 2019
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Rashida Tlaib” by Rashida Tlaib and “Stephanie Chang” by Stephanie Chang.