Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Hail To The Victors Valiant!

No, Teh Wind Knot is not getting an early start on the college football season. Heck, he is not even a Big Ten fan.

Teh shoutout is for The Anglers of the Au Sable who just won an injunction in court against Merit Energy's plan to pump 1.2 million gallons per day of treated groundwater into Kolke Creek.

Merit bought some production property near the headwaters of the Manistee that Shell Oil had spent years polluting. As part of the purchase, they took over the requirement to do something about the toxic groundwater plume caused by the previous owners. Merit wanted to pump the groundwater, filter it and discharge it into Kolke Creek, which runs into the Au Sable river.

Forgetting the fact that this water might not be as squeaky clean as Merit says it will be, the simple fact of taking this much water that essentially runs into the headwaters of the Manistee and move it to the headwaters of the Au Sable is going to make a big difference in both systems. It is the kind of idea only Krushchev would love these days.

The Anglers of the Au Sable and local property owners filed a lawsuit and recently won an injunction to stop the plan.

The judge in the case held:
Plaintiff landowners have brought this action to prevent the release of treated groundwater into Kolke Creek as part of the Defendants' efforts to remediate a hydrocarbon spill. This court finds that the Defendants' proposed use of Kolke Creek is unreasonable, and grants a limited injunction to prevent unreasonable use, of the watercourse. In addition, this court holds that the proposed use would violate the Michigan Environmental Protection Act.

He goes on to note:
Given the delicate ecosystem of Kolke Creek, this court finds that it is not a suitable location to discharge large volumes of treated groundwater. This is especially true in light of the fact that Merit has other feasible and prudent alternatives to discharging the treated water.

A huge pat on the back goes out to The Anglers of the Au Sable, the landowners and Rusty Gates, who worked very hard on this one. Unfortunately, these folks have no time to rest on their laurels. They are fighting a plan to drill for gas near the Mason Tract on the South Branch in U.S. district court.

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