LANSING, MI — Michigan Attorney General Jennifer M. Granholm has announced that the Macomb County Circuit Court has ruled in favor of the state in an illegal dumping case, assessing what is believed to be the largest civil fine ever imposed in the history of Michigan environmental law enforcement. The court order assesses fines of more than $36 million against 16 individuals and businesses for violating the state’s environmental laws at nine different sites in Wayne, Oakland, and Barry Counties.

The state alleged that the defendants illegally dumped insulation, roofing materials, and other construction debris at sites they operated as unlicensed solid waste disposal facilities beginning as early as 1992.

A six-week trial in the spring of 2001 found the defendants liable for operating the illegal dumping facilities and ordered them to clean up the sites. After the defendants failed to comply, Granholm asked the court to enter a final judgment.

Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Deborah A. Servitto issued a final opinion and order assessing each defendant a $250,000 fine for each state law violation at each site. The largest of the sites, an industrial building in Detroit, had, at one point, been so full of construction debris that the walls had buckled.

Granholm stated, “We agree with the judge that a cleanup of these sites is long overdue. Though the defendants have completely ignored their responsibilities, this ruling may give the state the financial ability to make the cleanup a reality.”

Publication date: 06/03/2002