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New mitigation plan for 1,4 dioxane plume in Ann Arbor and Scio Township to be approved, with caveat

Washtenaw County Department of Public Health

A Washtenaw County Circuit Judge says he is forced to sign a consent judgment between the State of Michigan and Gelman Sciences without considering the city and townships concerns.

The consent judgment in question was worked out solely between the state and Gelman. It sets up the latest mitigation plan for cleaning up and monitoring Gelman’s toxic 1,4 dioxane plume in the Ann Arbor area groundwaters.

Washtenaw Circuit Court Judge Timothy Connors says an appeals court made it clear he cannot consider positions of intervenors in signing this judgment.

But in court this past Thursday, he did listen to comments from those who sought to intervene, including the City of Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor attorneys asked the judge to approve a public hearing period before approving the consent judgment worked out in private between the state and Gelman. The judge was unable to approve that request.

Then, attorneys also pointed out, that by approving the state and Gelman agreement, the judge would be finding that he agreed this plan was protective of the public. So, he required a change in its wording from state and Gelman attorneys.

"I will sign a consent decree that the parties have indicated this is what they’ve negotiated. But I won’t sign anything that I’m making any findings. So, you’re going to have to resubmit it with that language."

The judge did give four intervenor groups 60 days to file their complaints about the process.

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Cathy Shafran was WEMU's afternoon news anchor and local host during WEMU's broadcast of NPR's All Things Considered.
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