Michael Moore paints an engrossing, albeit one-sided, picture of the disaster that ensued citywide in Flint, MI after General Motors began shuttering plants there decades ago. Given its age, however, Moore's Roger and Me, stops short of illuminating current issues that still plague the city. Take the Buick City plant for example, this defunct complex looks like a scar on the earth. After years of hand-wringing, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally agreed to step in and hopes to clean up the area – in part.
The EPA has approved cleanup efforts for the Southend portion of the 452-acre Buick City site. Even though it's just a partial fix, the efforts will still cost between $5 and $7 million dollars. Much of the work will focus on removing contaminants like lead, hydraulic fluid and gasoline from the soil. According to the EPA, the majority of the work will take place below the soil's surface and won't impact any businesses currently on site. The EPA also insists that the contaminants have not reached nearby Flint River, nor have they impacted the city's drinking water in any way.
The Buick City site is currently owned by Motors Liquidation Corp. (read: Old GM) and the cleanup efforts are a step towards finding new occupants for this massive site and hopefully bringing jobs back to Flint's crippled economy. MLC owns around 850 acres of property in the Flint area, much of it contaminated like Buick City. Powertrain Flint North, another such property, is in the cleanup planning stages.
[Sources:Flint Journal (via MLive), BusinessWeek | Image: Plan59 – reproduced with permission]