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E-M:/ Detroit Free Press editorial on Conners Creek



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Enviro-Mich message from Joy Strawser <mec@voyager.net>
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Detroit Free Press
Monday, June 1, 1998

Keep an eye on an old coal power plant 

Speaking of Conners Creek ... 

It's unlikely anyone is going to suffer lethal health effects from the
reopening of Detroit Edison's coal-burning plant on the east side of
Detroit for a few peak days this summer. But if deregulation spurs the
restart of a whole slew of dirty coal-burners across the country, there
may be serious problems ahead.  Detroit Edison is bringing Conners Creek
out of mothballs to meet peak demand on the hottest days this summer,
when everybody jacks up the air conditioner to full throttle and the ice
cube machines are working overtime. The plant will go back into
operation with roughly 20-year-old air pollution control technology,
emitting far more pollutants than the utility's cleanest plants.
Nonetheless, Detroit Edison says the plant represents no threat to
health or overall air quality. The regulators say that the utility
appears to be  following the rules for bringing an old plant back
on line. Maybe the federal rules need some revision, though, if this
kind of recommissioning becomes common. Under deregulation, utilities
everywhere will feel pressure to produce the cheapest-cost power they
can. If that means bringing back on line old coal-burners, with
old-fashioned emissions control technology, the impact on air quality
might not be so negligible, after all. 

So Conners Creek bears watching, to see if the plant operates for as few
days as Edison predicts, and with as little impact on air quality.
Meanwhile,while we're pushing for the regulators to do their stuff, it
wouldn't hurt if the rest of us got a little more mindful of energy
conservation. Turn off the lights, buy efficient appliances, don't muse
in front of the open fridge door.

You might just do both your pocketbook and the environment a favor this
summer.

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