TO: MITA Members
FROM: Mike Nystrom, Executive Vice President
RE: City of Detroit Bulk Solid Material Ordianance
DATE: July 10, 2017
Many of our members have done business in the city of Detroit for over 100 years. We have employed citizens of Detroit, and we have invested in the city through business endeavors, as well as in a myriad of activities from road and bridge construction to supplying high quality construction materials to producing asphalt and ready-mix concrete. Our industry has a long, documented history of conducting our affairs in the best interests of the environment, our employees and the communities we serve. Our members believe it is important to repay the communities that support us by operating safe and environmentally sound businesses while sharing success with worthy charitable causes, several of which directly benefit Detroit residents.
As many of you know, beginning in 2013, there was a dust emission event that resulted from the mismanagement of petroleum coke on a dock on the Detroit River. This led to efforts by the city to determine the appropriate way to avoid certain dust emissions. As a part of the city’s efforts, many city council members met with representatives of the construction materials industry to learn about our member’s business operations and the regulatory environment in which we operate. Our members welcomed the opportunity to educate the council and their staff to ensure that the new ordinance would achieve health and environmental goals without unfairly impacting businesses that are necessary to rebuilding the infrastructure of the region.
The construction materials that our members manage, which are critical to the redevelopment of the city, are thoroughly regulated by the State and Federal government.
The City of Detroit has drafted a Bulk Solid Material Ordinance that is expected to be voted on by the city council by the end of July. This ordinance defines Bulk Solid Materials to include sand, gravel, iron and steel slag, limestone and asphalt millings. The costly regulations proposed in the current draft would force our members to shut down dock operations and incur significant capital and operating costs to comply.
Our conservative cost analysis suggests that implementation of these onerous and indefensible regulations could result in a 25%-50% increase in construction material costs, including concrete and asphalt, particularly because of increased transportation costs.
These unnecessary regulations on construction materials will increase Detroit’s already inflated construction costs, which are among the highest in the nation, and impact the fate of projects in the city of Detroit. This, in turn, will eliminate certain projects, decrease employment in the city and dilute the effectiveness of tax payer dollars in publicly funded works. As proposed, this ordinance would be an economic disaster at a time when the city is finally moving toward a redevelopment vision that we all share.
No other major city in America regulates construction materials in this manner. Both Chicago, IL and Oakland, CA have specifically excluded construction materials from ordinances written to regulate petroleum coke.
A coalition including industry, organized labor and numerous associations that support business have actively lobbied the city council and the mayor’s office to halt this overreach, but we need additional support.
We urgently request that you join our efforts to halt unfair regulation of construction materials in the city of Detroit. Please write, call or meet with members of the city council and the mayor’s office and deliver this simple message: “Please exclude construction materials from the city’s new Bulk Solid Materials Ordinance.”
Thank you in advance for your immediate attention to this pressing matter.
Detroit City Council Health & Safety Committee:
Raquel Casaneda-Lopez – District 6 (Author of Ordinance)
Scott Benson – District 3 (Chair of Health & Safety Committee)
Janee Ayers – At Large (Supports Our Industry)