What’s an NFA?
NFA stands for No Further Action. It is an exit strategy being used by Enbridge to cease remedial work on the Kalamazoo River. The details of the NFA can be changed after the request is accepted by the DEQ. An NFA requires no post closure agreements for restricted residential properties. NFA requests, if granted, may allow the contaminator to cease monitoring wells on the contaminated land. Accepting the request can come in either written form, or a failure of the DEQ to respond within 150 days. More can be found in Section 324.20114d, Part 201, of Michigan’s Public Act 451 (NREPA). NFA full law here.
Please visit the page below for documents and sources for more details. https://fenvalleyearthfirst.wordpress.com/no-further-action-nfa/nfadocuments/
Why should I follow this issue?
These NFA requests offer a very detailed account of the extreme damage done by a tar sands oil spill. Groups engaged in pipeline fights across the continent have used the Kalamazoo River oil spill as an example of what can happen when a pipeline breaks. You can support these fights by providing deeper insight and further visibility to the aftermath of an infamous tar sands spill.
In Southwest Michigan, people in the local communities deserve to know what has and hasn’t been done on Enbridge’s account, as well as what is deemed satisfactory by the DEQ. Most of this information is hard to decipher and is neither analyzed nor circulated in local news outlets.
Enbridge purchased many contaminated residential properties after the 2010 oil spill. Enbridge now classifies the properties as “restricted residential”. These properties they can be cleared through the NFA process even though toxic heavy metal contaminate levels exceed state requirements for most other property classifications. A simple matter of what could be called re-zoning can potentially allow ground water to remain toxic without future monitoring activity. Sec. 20114d (3)(a).
The NFA requests create opportune early out for the remedial monitoring of wetlands.
According to the Wetland Remediation Agreement between Enbridge and the DEQ, wetlands are to undergo maintenance phase monitoring for 5 consecutive years of successful maintenance. This includes the first year of remedial work (2013) plus 4 years of monitoring; effectively forcing Enbridge to keep their resources on the river until 2018. The NFA process, however, gives Enbridge the opportunity to gain the written permission needed to cease the monitoring of dredged and contaminated wetlands prior to 2018.
The requests are being submitted in a manner inconsistent with the flow of water. The first NFA filed was in Segment 3, which hosts a sizeable fen. This fen suffered heavy and hasty dredging immediately following the spill. It should also be noted that 50% of the native plant species in Michigan are found in wetlands.
A new NFA is expected every 4-6 weeks. This work can be done in your spare time. If you would like to help trudge through these reports and highlight important details, please visit the contact page or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
How is this happening?
Currently, in the Kalamazoo River Watershed, each NFA request is submitted to the DEQ by Enbridge Energy for a .5 mile segment (or Reach) of the Talmadge Creek and eventually, the Kalamazoo River. According to the DEQ, they anticipate granting each NFA request as they are submitted.
Why haven’t I heard about it?
The closure of a record breaking inland oil spill seems newsworthy, but the MDEQ is currently directed by an old Public Relations executive for British Petroleum. Additionally, Enbridge’s Public Relations campaign has been attempting to convince local communities that everything is fine. They have become major contributors to local radio stations, effectively controlling the narrative with their dollars. And let’s not kid ourselves, although this exit is important; it isn’t very exciting.
Where can I find these?
We have started documenting each request summary, as well as additional files that can be useful, on this page-
You can get an NFA request summary here-
They are typically only on this site during the comment period, and are merely a 300 page “summary”. You can find the full NFA reports at:
-Marshall District Library, 124 W. Green Street, Marshall, MI 49068
-Galesburg Memorial Library, 188 E. Michigan Avenue, Galesburg, MI 49053
-Willard Library, 7 W. Van Buren Street, Battle Creek, MI 49017.
– Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Kalamazoo District Office, 7953 Adobe Road, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49009
Is this the final say?
No. The DEQ has stated that this technically “closes the book” BUT the “book can be re-opened” if something comes up in the future that is related to the spill. This just gives Enbridge initial clearance to leave the river.