"MONTAGUE, Mich. — For more than 30 years, the beautiful resort community along White Lake near the shore of Lake Michigan has struggled to get out from under the weight of its past. It’s a past that includes growth sparked by the arrival of the chemical industry, and the physical and psychological scars left behind.
This year, the White Lake area — along with Deer Lake in the Upper Peninsula — could become the first of 14 sites in Michigan to get out from under the designation of Area of Concern — a tag for places marked by major environmental contamination. The White Lake area includes the resort towns of Whitehall and Montague and was placed on the list in 1985. In the coming weeks, Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality will be taking public comments prior to beginning the process of removing the White Lake area from the list.
Such delistings are rare. Since the United States and Canada signed the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1978, the two governments have designated 43 AOCs on both sides of the border, and only five have been taken off the list. Shedding the designation will help the White Lake area move on from what was Michigan’s worst environmental disaster at the time of its discovery in the mid-1970s."