Its factory makes a good car, but that same factory smells fishy.
In case you haven't heard, Jeep's new Detroit factory stinks, and that's not a metaphor; the Jeep Grand Cherokee L is actually bolted together properly. There is actually an offensive odor emanating from the facility, and nobody likes it.
Jeep has gone on record saying that it couldn't figure out why its factory reeks of a "persistent and objectionable paint/solvent" smell, but that it would investigate. By early November, it was reported that the factory still stunk. Jeep hired a third party to investigate the matter and promised state officials that the investigation would be completed by January 9, 2022.
This is not good enough for Member of the Michigan Senate Stephanie Chang and Rashida Tlaib, U.S. Representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district. They are joined in their fight with Stellantis by Detroit City Council member Latisha Johnson.
Together, they sent a letter to the Michigan Department of Environment director, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), asking the director of EGLE, Liesl Clark, to issue a stiff fine to Stellantis and fund a relocation program for residents who want to move away from Jeep's stinky factory.
The Detroit Free Press obtained a copy of the letter, which demands a meeting with EGLE officials as soon as possible. An excerpt from it reads as follows:
"As EGLE moves forward, we urge you to hold Stellantis accountable with the heaviest possible fine that has an actual deterring effect and to include a robust Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) in the consent order. This SEP should consist of a voluntary relocation effort funded by Stellantis and a home repair program that would help residents for which the city's home repair program is insufficient."
The letter goes further, calling for a voluntary buyout program that includes the purchase of new properties and addressing the long-term impacts of displacement, which include educational and mental health resources.
The letter also states that the problem dates back years rather than months: "For years, we have heard from residents on Beniteau Street next to the Stellantis Detroit Assembly Complex about the noises, strong odors, vibrations, and most importantly, the impacts changes at the complex have had on their health." According to the letter, EGLE was well aware of these problems when it decided to grant Jeep permission to build a new assembly plant on the site.
"These preexisting burdens are now being exacerbated by the facility, with increasing reports of symptoms including burning eyes, nausea, persistent coughing, tightening of the chest, difficulty breathing, headaches, migraines, and skin conditions," continues the letter.
EGLE confirmed that it had received the letter and that it would have meetings to discuss the issue. "We can't comment on a letter we haven't seen, said Stellantis spokesperson Jodi Tinson. "Our focus continues to be on resolving these issues." To date, EGLE has issued three violation notices against Stellantis' plant.