Michigan taxpayers are footing the bill for auto-industry cleanup, grantee finds

The contaminated grounds of three former General Motors factories, shown on left, remain vacant and undeveloped along the Lansing and Lansing Township border. Seven miles to the west, a new GM joint venture battery plant rises in rural Delta Township, shown on right. (Bridge photos by David Ruck)

In a multi-part series, Michigan Bridge probed how the auto industry profited in Michigan cities and then moved on – leaving a legacy of contamination, harming communities and sticking taxpayers with the cleanup costs, even as the state subsidizes the auto industry’s electric-vehicle futureWith support from the Fund, reporters Kelly House and Paula Gardner identified $259 million in taxpayer-funded cleanups at more than 100 auto-related propertiesCleanups are technically required, but that, too, can often be done in secret with no regulatory oversight. That means the 26,000 sites in the state database are likely an undercount. But change may be in the offingA growing number of legislators from both parties are questioning the billions of dollars in incentives that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration has steered to automakers and other industries, with little transparency.