Public comment opens for Gordie Howe Bridge air permit

Hani Barghouthi
The Detroit News

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy is seeking public comment for an air permit requested by Bridging North America to allow it to install equipment for the proposed Gordie Howe International Bridge.

The public comment period, during which residents can offer input on a new natural gas- and diesel-fired combustion unit, new emergency engines and other equipment, will be open until March 14, with a virtual public hearing March 1. 

The Gordie Howe International Bridge during construction, on the Detroit side, November 1, 2021.

Residents may comment on any aspect of the proposed permit, and comments often prompt changes in the final permit according to EGLE spokeswoman Jill Greenberg. 

"Comments that typically have an impact include requests for changes in testing and recordkeeping, technical mistakes in the review, grammar and spelling mistakes, other rules we should consider and why the permit will not comply with the rules," said Greenberg. 

The bridge is slated to open to traffic by the end of 2024.  

BNA, the private-sector entity responsible for construction, operation and maintenance of the bridge and the United States and Canadian ports of entry, needs an air permit "to limit the emissions of air pollutants and to ensure the request will meet air quality standards, including health-based standards," according to an EGLE release. 

Permits come with conditions such as limited air emissions and regulations designed to protect public health and the environment, according to the release, and include testing equipment to make sure requirements are met. 

Computer modeling of the proposed project showed that its emissions would meet health-protective standards for air pollutants, according to the proposed project summary

Three outcomes are possible after the comment period: the permit can issued as drafted, issued with changes based on comments from the public or denied, Greenberg said. 

The process could take a couple of weeks or more, she added, depending on the number and complexity of the comments received. 

Comments may be given at any time before the end of the comment period on March 14, and members of the public are encouraged to review information about the proposed changes and draft air permit.

Comments can be made at the virtual public hearing, via voicemail at (517) 284-0900, email at EGLE-AQD-PTIPubliccomments@Michigan.gov or via U.S. mail to:

Annette Switzer, Permit Section Manager,

EGLE, AQD, P.O. Box 30260

Lansing, MI 48909-7760

An example of what a public comment could like can be found here