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Fiat Chrysler air permit approval with additional monitoring and community benefits

Fiat Chrysler air permit approval with additional monitoring and community benefits

On Friday, April 27, 2019, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) announced the issuance of Fiat Chrysler America (FCA) air permits with additional monitoring and community benefit requirements. 

In addition to land assembly, approval of the a community benefits package by the Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC), zoning approvals and other planning, these EGLE permits are one of many moving parts to finalize the Fiat Chrysler expansion. 

  • The permits are for the installation of a new assembly line and emissions increase in Detroit’s Lower East Side and a reduction in emissions at their existing facility in Warren.
  • Both plants are within an EPA designated nonattainment area for ozone, which means that ozone levels are above national, health-based air quality standards.
  • Detroit’s Lower East Side has some of the highest asthma rates in the city.

Many impact area residents and environmental justice advocates submitted comments at the April 19th public hearing hosted by EGLE (then named MEDQ) at Southeastern High School. 

In the closing days of the negotiations around the community benefits package with Fiat Chrysler, resident concern about the environmental and health impacts of the plant and other pertinent issues came to the forefront.

The EGLE press release states; “As part of the public comment period and public hearing… there were several requests for air monitoring near the facility and for additional work with the community to identify projects that would have local benefit.” 

Mary Ann Dolehanty, EGLE Air Quality Division Director is quoted; “Those comments led to the inclusion of both additional air monitoring and community benefit requirements in the permits that were issued today.”

While we are still learning details about the planning and implementation of these aspect of the permits, we want to recognize the residents of the impact area who organized around these issues and spoke out about the reality of public health in their community to influence outcomes here. 

Along with residents and the environmental justice community, Equitable Detroit Coalition and Detroit People’s Platform will continue to monitor developments as this deal moves forward.

On April 24th the NAC approved $13.8 million in community benefits from Fiat Chrysler. We thank the NAC for their service. This phase of the CBA process with the NAC has ended, it now moves to city council. The committee of the whole is expected to vote on the Fiat Chrysler community benefits package approved by the NAC on Tuesday, May 7th.

The status of the land deal with the Moroun Family for the final 80 acres needed to assemble the land is still unknown.

Read the full EGLE press release:

Read Equitable Detroit Coalition and Detroit People’s Platform info sheets on the public tax incentives and the environmental concerns around the Fiat Chrysler expansion.

Thank you to Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition and Breathe Free Detroit for support. 

Detroit People’s Platform is the host organization for the city-wide Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) coalition, Equitable Detroit. EDC emerged from the struggle for a CBA around the M1-Rail project in the  North End. We represent the overwhelming majority (80%) of Detroiters in the Fiat Chrysler impact area who voted for Proposal A in the 2016 election.

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FCA Expansion Environmental Concerns and Demands

FCA Expansion Environmental Concerns and Demands

The MDEQ has extended the public comment period through Tuesday, April 23, 2019.

Details on submitting public comment and more details about the permitting process:

Fiat Chrysler Expansion Environmental Concerns

The air pollution in the FCA Impact Area is comparable to Zip Code 48217, one of the most polluted in Michigan.

Our neighbors in Southwest Detroit have been infamously impacted by poor air quality around Marathon Petroleum and other industrial facilities. Based on the EPA’s EJScreen Reports we’ve found Environmental Indicators in the FCA Impact area that are comparable in value to those in Southwest Detroit.

The population of the FCA Impact Area has some of the highest Asthma hospitalization rates in the city.

In 2016, FCA’s Jefferson North nearly doubled the tons of VOC produced by Marathon Petroleum!

Volatile Organic Compounds react with nitrogen oxides in the air to create ozone, or “smog.” Ozone can cause respiratory-related health impacts, including the aggravation of asthma.

FROM Great Lakes Environmental Law Center

4444 2nd Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201 (313) 782-3372

1. Why is FCA US LLC seeking a new permit to install? 
Fiat Chrysler currently owns and operates the Mack Avenue Engine Plant complex at 11570 Warren Avenue East in Detroit. They are seeking a “permit to install” from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to modify the plant to operate a new assembly line instead of an auto engine manufacturing facility. To operate its new assembly line, FCA US LLC must repurpose the existing plant and construct a new paint shop.

2. What air emissions will be result from the FCA US LLC’s proposal? 
While it will emit other pollutants, it is estimated that the new assembly line will have the potential to emit a major amount of volatile organic compounds and greenhouse gases:

  • Volatile Organic Compounds: The new assembly plant would have the potential to emit 382.5 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) per year. VOCs are a class of chemicals, and are one of the ingredients for the formation of ozone, or “smog.” The VOC emissions from the new assembly plant would be caused by the new paint shop proposed by Fiat Chrysler.
  • Greenhouse Gases: The new assembly plant will also have the potential to emit 118,876 tons per year of greenhouse gases.

3. How do volatile organic compound emissions relate to ozone? 
Volatile organic compounds react with nitrogen oxides in the air to create ozone, or “smog.” Ozone can cause respiratory-related health impacts, including the aggravation of asthma. Wayne county, along with several other counties in southeast Michigan, were recently designated as “nonattainment” area because an air quality monitor detected levels that were above the national, health-based air quality standard for ozone.

4. What regulations does FCA US LLC have to comply with to receive their permit? 
Since the assembly line will emit a significant amount of VOCs, and is located in an area that is failing to comply with the national air quality standard for ozone, FCA US LLC must satisfy a number of regulations, including the following:

  • Must demonstrate why the proposed location and methods are superior to alternatives.
  • Emissions of VOCs from the facility must comply with the “lowest achievable emission rate” based on existing pollution control technology and methods.
  • Must offset the increase in VOC emissions with a reduction in emissions from another source in the nonattainment area.

FROM Great Lakes Environmental Law Center
4444 2nd Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 782-3372

Thank you to GLELC!

Impact Area Resident Demands

An exhaustive Health Impact Assessment of the FCA Impact Area and all related projects made available to the residents.

Residents need to have a full report on the impact of this project  on our health and well-being. 

Installation of the best filters on stacks that will help to reduce hospitalization rates based on Asthma.

With some of the highest hospitalization rates in the city, we demand the best filtration systems available. We are worth it. 

Specific targeted community health funds for vulnerable people dealing with asthma and other health impacts. We also want air filter installation in local schools, churches and community centers along with specific funding for home air HEPA filters. 

The creation of an Community Air Monitoring Project and Environmental Community Council for ongoing monitoring and advocacy around environmental impacts on community health.


Detroit People’s Platform

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Fiat Chrysler Expansion Community Benefits Update

Fiat Chrysler Expansion Community Benefits Update

In February, Mayor Duggan announced the proposed expansion of Fiat Chrysler on the city’s east side. Due to the size of the project and the use of public tax incentives there must be a Community Benefit process as defined by Detroit’s Community Benefit Ordinance,the first of it’s kind in the US. 

Where are we at in the process?
Meeting 1 Project overview and intro to CBO Process. 
Meeting 2 Resident vote on NAC.
Meeting 3 NAC appointments were announced, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation presented on local Tax Incentives only, expanded FCA presentation.
Meeting 4 NAC members presented recommendations for projects and other opportunities to be included in the CBA.

Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC)

Residents voted for
Rhonda These
Michelle Jackson
City Council Members appointed
Jerry King
Juliette Okotie-Eboh
Jay Henderson
Planning and Development appointed 
Darnell Gardner
Henry Williams
Curtis Perry
Thomas Hardiman

FCA has shown up unprepared
– FCA has failed to state to community ALL of the public incentives they have received or public incentives they have applied for including Detroit local incentives, State of Michigan, and possibly from the federal government. MEDC:
– FCA has failed to bring to the table many items that are needed like an Environmental Impact Study and a plan for traffic.

Michigan: Leader in Mega Tax Deals to Corporations
Good Jobs First considers deals that include more that $50 million in tax subsidies ‘Mega Deals’. Michigan is ranked #3 in the nation with  Mega Deals totaling $15.4 billion! Of 399 Mega Deals nationwide, FCA’s  $1.3 billion deal in 2010 for the Sterling Heights plant ranked #15.

This is why we need to know how big of a tax deal FCA is asking from the state of Michigan for this proposed expansion.

FCA’s History of Taxpayer Support
In 1977 Chrysler received a bailout with a $1.5 billion loan that the taxpayers via the US government were the co-signers on. This was a good investment and taxpayers made money on the deal. But, remember the taxpayer bailout of Chrysler in 2008?

Public Investment Borrowed $12.5 billion
Paid Back to Taxpayers $11.2 billion
Taxpayers Lost              -$1.3 billion
Date Bailout Ended May 2011

FCA, remember taxpayers invested in you when the chips were down. Now is the time for you to match our commitment. The community deserves a strong Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) with you!

Get Involved!
– Attend the weekly meetings at UAW, 2600 Connor St. Wednesday’s at 6:30pm until the end of April.
– Call for FCA to share information on ALL the public incentives they are seeking for the expansion.