Marquette’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority temporarily suspends Cliffs-Dow funding for former factory site

BRA(Annette Giachino)
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 6:58 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Members of the Marquette Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (BRA) voted to table the approval of the Cliffs-Dow property funding to the city of Marquette Thursday morning.

It was going to be used on a former factory site.

BRA Chair David Allen said the suspension comes after not receiving a new report which could contain information about site clean-up.

“We’ve been trying to see those data and we would like to see that before we decide to pay those invoices. So we decided to table that issue for a month so we can further discussions with the city,” Allen said.

Marquette Assistant City Manager Sean Hobbins explained the reasoning for not providing an updated report.

“We’ve been waiting to present on this data to this board until we bring it to the city commission. There’s a couple of matters on attorney-client privilege that make this a really sensitive matter to discuss at this point,” Hobbins said.

The city is currently working with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy to clean up the contaminated site. In a statement to TV6 EGLE said:

“The City of Marquette has been conducting response activities at this site since assuming ownership of the property and has been engaged in a rigorous groundwater investigation and monitoring program for more than a decade. That work involves the collection of groundwater samples several times per year from several dozen monitoring wells of various depths, to characterize sub-surface conditions and evaluate seasonal and annual fluctuations exhibited by certain contaminants within the water table. All such data is routinely reported to EGLE and available to the public. Additional offshore testing has been performed by EGLE. The data sets are being integrated to develop a reliable model of the site and its groundwater interface with Lake Superior. EGLE staff periodically meet with the City’s project team and review data and trends with the goal of identifying feasible and effective remedial options to bring the site to closure.”

Richard Baron is a legal representative for the site, he explained the process of sending data.

“Data that is obtained is sent to the state in accordance with an agreement that we go out there and take groundwater samples which go into a report and that report becomes public once it’s sent to the state. I’m not sure there’s typically been a process to share underlying data with the BRA.” Baron said.

TV6 will continue to follow this story as it develops.