Rashida Tlaib | Andrew Roth
Detroit residents and lawmakers in the area of a large industrial expansion want some environmental guarantees.
Fiat-Chrysler Automotive is in the process of a $4.5 billion investment in Southeast Michigan and particularly focused on new assembly plants on Detroit’s east side.
Residents in the area, as well as lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) and state Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), want the automaker to put forward $12.5 million for a community benefits agreement.
That money dedicated toward a public health fund, air filtration systems and air monitors at locations with vulnerable populations, vegetative buffers and traffic mitigation, truck routing, and regular community meetings on public health and environmental impact.
“I understand the importance of jobs and industry in communities, my father worked for this very company,” Sanaa Green, a Detroit resident in the area, said in a statement. “However, our public health must be put first. I suffer from respiratory issues and they’ve already become worse with the construction. I cannot imagine how things will get if Fiat Chrysler does not do the right thing and implement the technology and resources to improve our air quality.”
The state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) issued an air quality permit for the FCA project in April with the stipulation that the company submit all plans to the department for review and approval.
The state is supporting the expansion project with about $261 million in various tax incentives and the city of Detroit has contributed $50.6 million toward land assembly for the project.
For Tlaib, that means the company needs to pay its fair share and ensure that the community not be harmed by the project.
“Residents surrounding the FCA expansion are demanding more, demanding equity, demanding that their right to breathe clean air is protected and fulfilled,” Tlaib said in a statement. “Fiat Chrysler has received a quite large tax package and now it is time for them to ensure residents not only have jobs, but that those who live, work, and play around the expansion have a good quality of life, and that includes clean air.”
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