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E-M:/ Metro Times article on Connors Creek



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Enviro-Mich message from Joy Strawser <mec@voyager.net>
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FIRED UP OVER EDISON PLANT
By Curt Guyette, Metro Times 
5/6-5/12 1998 
www.metrotimes.com 

Environmentalists on both sides of the border are gearing up to make
Detroit's Connors Creek power plant the poster child for what they claim
is poor utility management. 

Detroit Edison, owner of the plant that has been mothballed for a
decade, recently received permission from the Michigan Public Service
Commission to bring Connors Creek back on-line to meet an expected
increase in demand.

"This is one step we're taking to make sure there's an adequate supply
of power this summer," says Edison spokesperson Lewis Layton. 

If the plant were to remain closed, Edison would have to buy electricity
from other utilities, explains Layton. The 50-year-old plant along the
Detroit River can produce power for about one-fourth of what it would
cost if bought elsewhere. 

Opponents contend that Edison could have postponed bringing the
coal-burning plant back on-line if it had put more effort into reducing
demand.

In 1993 the PSC reported that a small investment in promoting
energy-efficiency programs would move the "restart of three units
(Marysville, Connors Creek and River Rouge) beyond 2000."

Edison eliminated its conservation programs in 1996, even though
independent evaluations documented that they were highly cost-effective,
say environmentalists.

"This is definitely a major concern of ours," says Juli Metty of the
Michigan United Conservation Clubs. Metty and other environmentalists
complain that utilities such as Edison are motivated to sell
electricity, not reduce consumption.

Layton says that even if conservation programs were continued, they
would have saved only about one-half to one-third the amount of power
Connors Creek will produce this summer. 

Because of a regulatory loophole, older plants such as Connors Creek are
not required to meet the same strict pollution controls as newly
constructed plants.

However, it does meet the same standard of other Edison facilities
currently on-line, says Layton.

That fact does little to comfort environmentalists.

"There is sufficient scientific and medical evidence available to
suggest that burning coal in a human-populated area is crazy," says Rick
Coronado of the Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwest Ontario. "The
air quality in the transboundary area of Detroit and Windsor cannot
stand further stress. The health of citizens in the area cannot afford
another impact."

--Curt Guyette  


********************
For more information or to get involved in the Michigan Clean Power
Initiative, please contact Sally Billups, Michigan Environmental
Council, at (517) 487-9539 or billupss@pilot.msu.edu

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