See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Whitmer vetoes provision to allow hazardous materials on Ambassador Bridge

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2020 at 11:11 AM

click to enlarge Ambassador Bridge in Detroit. - VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

A Republican plan to sneak language into the state’s COVID-19 bill to allow trucks to transport hazardous and toxic materials across the Ambassador Bridge has backfired after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed the potentially dangerous provision on Tuesday.

The line-item veto delivered a blow to the billionaire Moroun family, which owns the Ambassador Bridge and wants permission for trucks to carry fuel, flammable chemicals, and corrosive materials over the 91-year-old span.



The provision would have allowed for “flammable gases,” “poisonous gases,” “spontaneously combustible materials,” “dangerous when wet materials,” “poisonous materials” and “corrosive materials” to be transported across the bridge.

Since 1929, the Michigan Department of Transportation has banned hazardous materials from crossing the Ambassador Bridge.

Environmentalists, Detroiters living near the bridge, and some Democrats opposed the plan, saying the Ambassador Bridge is old, not sufficiently inspected, and lacks proper technology and safety protocols to be safely used to transport hazardous materials.

State Sen. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, was a vocal opponent of the plan, telling lawmakers that the provision is “downright dangerous,” violates federal law, and includes “harmful boilerplate language ordering the Michigan Department of Transportation to ignore facts (and) ignore my community.”


Earlier this month, the measure passed the state House 97-5, and the state Senate approved the bill 35-2.

Officials from the Detroit International Bridge Co. (DIBC), which operates the span, argue that the Ambassador Bridge is the safest and most efficient route for hazardous materials traveling to and from Canada. With the ban in place, hazardous materials are trucked across the international border via the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry and Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron. Those routes are more dangerous, they say, because hazardous materials are forced to take more circuitous routes that cover a larger area, which increases the risk of an accident. The trucks also pass through more densely populated neighborhoods in the state, they argue.

Whatever the case, the veto doesn’t end the battle. DIBC plans to meet with MDOT soon in hopes of gaining permission to once again use the bridge to transport hazardous materials.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 13, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation