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E-M:/ lung association announces power plant campaign

Enviro-Mich message from davemec@voyager.net (Dave Dempsey)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                           CONTACT: Elliot Levinsohn

Phone #:800/678-LUNG


        The American Lung Association of Michigan announced today a
campaign to clean up archaic coal-burning and oil-fueled power plants in
Michigan as a way of improving respiratory health in Michigan, especially
among children, the infirm, and the elderly.

        The opportunity presented by the electric utility industry
restructuring and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to conform to
the new global climate change treaty are additional reasons to end a
two-decade-old "dirty air loophole" in the Clean Air Act, stated Elliot
Levinsohn, air quality spokesperson for the American Lung Association of

        "Imagine what it would be like if we relied on 30-year-old computer
technology to run our offices," said Levinsohn. "America wouldn't be
competitive. But that's exactly the kind of archaic technology we're using
to generate the bulk of Michigan's electricity."

        When Congress adopted the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977, Levinsohn
explained, many old, dirty coal-fired power plants that were expected to
close down over time were granted exemptions to the strict air pollution
control requirements that apply to new facilities. But 20 years later,
these "grandfathered" older plants are still operating, spewing out far
more pollution than permitted at modern plants. Many of these dirty plants
are emitting up to four times or greater the smog-forming nitrogen oxides
(NOx) and levels of sulfur dioxide permitted at newer facilities.

        "Once in the atmosphere, sulfur dioxide can be transformed into
tiny soot particles that can lodge deep in the lungs and have been linked
to premature death and a variety of respiratory problems," said Levinsohn.
"NOx-produced ozone smog sends thousands of children and adults to the
emergency room each year, and nearly 5 million people in Michigan
frequently breathe this unhealthy air -- that's over 50 percent of
Michigan's population."

        Sally Billups, a policy specialist for the Michigan Environmental
Council, which supports the American Lung Association of Michigan's
campaign, pointed out that Michigan's Detroit Edison and Consumers Energy
fossil-fueled power plants emitted nearly 68 million tons of carbon
dioxide, a greenhouse gas, in addition to more than 170,000 tons of
nitrogen oxides and 336,000 tons of sulfur dioxide in 1996. The estimated
environmental and health related costs from this pollution is in the

        "Cleaning up these dirty fossil-fueled plants can help Michigan
contribute to the climate change solution and satisfy the consumer demand
in Michigan for clean energy sources and energy efficiency," said Billups.

        According to Levinsohn, the American Lung Association of Michigan
is committed to making 1998 the year that attention is brought to this
pollution problem and will craft community-based programs to inform
Michigan residents on how they can be part of the solution to clean up our

Dave Dempsey
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI  48912
(517) 487-9539
(517) 487-9541 (fax)

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