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State questions plans submitted by Fiat Chrysler for new Detroit assembly plant

Fiat Chrysler

The state's Air Quality Division has told Fiat Chrysler that its plans related to permits for its new assembly plant in east Detroit "fall short of expectations."

In a letter to a company official on January 24, AQD Director Mary Ann Dolehanty asked Fiat Chrysler to provide more information about its outreach efforts to people who live near the proposed site.

AQD also rejected the company's proposed air monitoring sampling plan of two weeks each calendar quarter, saying it won't provide enough data to assess the plant's effect on air quality.

The letter also asks Fiat Chrysler to explain why it did not include air filtration in its plans for the permits. Air filtering systems could reduce indoor exposure to pollution caused by the plant.

The state's letter has cheered residents near the plant, including Gregg Newsom. He says FCA's community outreach efforts have been inadequate, with the company primarily talking only to community representatives.

"So it seems to us that FCA has been picking and choosing who they're talking to," says Newsom. "It's almost as though whenever a resident brings up something about air quality or a concern about their health, that FCA shuts down [the conversation]."

Newsom says many people near the plant suffer from asthma. One group of people living closest to the plant are advocating for a deal similiar to that given to people living near the site of the new bridge.

In the bridge deal, people were given the option of relocating to a Detroit Land Bank home, or were given funds to modify their homes to reduce emissions and noise.

Fiat Chrysler issued this statement related to the letter:

"We know that as we build our new state-of-the-art assembly plant and bring nearly 5,000 new jobs to Detroit, FCA has a great responsibility - and plan - to minimize the environmental impact on the community for this and future generations. We look forward to working with EGLE to resolve any outstanding concerns."

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Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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