Detroit River shoreline collapse was an illegal operation that could have been prevented
The companies responsible for a collapsed dock that spilled contaminated soil into the Detroit River in November have operated outside of the law, and no government agencies appeared to be aware of it until it was too late. Even now, more than two months after Detroit Bulk Storage caused the collapse by illegally storing an overabundance of limestone gravel along the river, the site continues to erode — with a widening sinkhole — because the companies have been slow to act. On Friday, the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) warned that contaminated material could continue to erode and fall into the river until more aggressive action is taken by the companies. To avoid a similar occurrence, environmentalists and residents are calling on local, state, and federal governments to establish stronger laws and play a more active role in monitoring toxic sites along waterways. On the U.S. House floor, Rep. Brenda Lawrence, whose district includes the collapse site, expressed concern about the lack of urgency by the companies and public officials. "This situation demands a sense of urgency to restore the public faith in our government to protect them from contaminated water," Lawrence said. "If there is a threat to our public health, our government has a responsibility to protect our constituents from harm."