Enbridge failed to get site plan approval by the commission before they started work, and their work has since been halted.
Larry Bell, the owner of Bell’s Brewery, feared the sediment would contaminate the air and the work environment around his brewery. He says it has been an emotional process, and he has spent more than $50,000 to fight the Enbridge plan. Thursday’s decision by the committee was a sigh of relief for not only him but his employees, Bell says. He implied he would have closed up shop if the commission approved Enbridge’s permit. He says he was never opposed to the dredging, just the placement of where the dredge pad would be.
Dozens of citizens also spoke at the meeting expressing their concern over health issues and safety and ultimately the board agreed with them.
Enbridge has been ordered by the EPA to dredge along the Kalamazoo River to remove more contaminated sediment and they have till December 31 to do that. After the meeting, Enbridge spokesperson Jason Manshum said that while this is a setback for them, the company still needs to meet that EPA deadline. Manshum says Enbridge will start talking with state and federal regulators to decide just exactly what their next step will be.