Craft beer makers embrace many important tenants — those include entrepreneurial spirit, bold beer products, community support and environmentalism. All of those convictions are at stake for Bell’s Brewery Inc., which filed a lawsuit this week in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court that says a planned dredging in the Kalamazoo River will release pollution and hazardous substances and negatively impact its brewery operations.
According to an article on www.mlive.com, Bell’s Brewery filed the lawsuit against Enbridge and the developer of Comstock Commerce Park over dredging plans that are part of the ongoing cleanup of a Kalamazoo River oil spill.
“The EPA doesn’t know what is in the sediment,” said Larry Bell at July 9 at a township meeting “They don’t know what they are dredging up. They are going to put it next to my brewery and they don’t know what contaminants are there.”
According to the news piece, Enbridge entered a lease agreement with CCP Development Co. and installed a dredge pad and other equipment in preparation for dredging. Alas, that dredge pad is near the Krum Avenue production facility of Bell’s Brewery, which has plans to expand. Since water is the unsung hero of the four main brewing ingredients, Bell’s is right to be concerned — especially since apparently not everyone was notified of the dredging.
Comstock Township wasn’t notified of the current project before preparation work on the dredge pad began, and several residents and business owners have expressed concern over potential pollution. Township Supervisor Anne Nieuwenhuis said she believes Enbridge is placing the dredge pad in the wrong location.
Of note: Enbridge was ordered in March by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to do additional dredging in the Kalamazoo River as part of its cleanup from a massive 2010 oil spill.