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E-M:/ Clean air advocates hail EPA ruling

Enviro-Mich message from Vicki Levengood <vlevengood@voyager.net>

Clean air advocates call EPA plan to clean up dirty power plants a
victory for public health

Groups call for citizen input on final pollution reduction plan.

September 28, 1998		

Elliot Levinsohn, American Lung Association of Michigan -- 517.484.4541
Karen Kendrick-Hands, East Michigan Environmental Action Council --
Jeff Gearhart, Ecology Center of Ann Arbor -- 734.663.2400
David Wright, Michigan Environmental Council -- 517.487.9539
Julie Metty, Michigan United Conservation Clubs -- 517.371.1041
Vicki Levengood, National Environmental Trust, Michigan -- 517.333.5786
Brian Imus, Public Interest Research Group in Michigan -- 734.662.6597 

Lansing, Michigan--Michigan citizen advocates for clean air today hailed
the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision requiring sharp
reductions in smog-forming pollution from power plants throughout
Michigan and 21 Midwestern and Eastern states and the District of
Columbia.  In addition, advocates are calling on the state and utilities
to seek citizen input in the process of determining how the state meets
the EPA-mandated smog reduction goals. 

“We’re pleased that the EPA stood their ground against the intense
lobbying efforts of polluters,” said Michigan Environmental Council
President Lana Pollack. “This ruling will go a long way toward ending
Michigan’s contribution to the dirty air in the northeast and Ontario,
and will dramatically reduce the smog from upwind states that fouls
Michigan’s air.”

Smog is a potent respiratory irritant that causes permanent lung damage
in senior citizens, asthmatics, and children.  The EPA directive is the
first effort to protect public health in downwind states from smog that
crosses their borders from other areas.  The new plan calls for reducing
smog-causing pollution by 30 percent in Michigan, with larger reductions
required from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana, whose power plants
contribute to Michigan’s air pollution problems.

"This rule addresses the regional dynamic of smog  -  it blows across
state lines," said Karen D. Kendrick-Hands, Air Quality Coordinator for
East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC). "We challenge
Michigan's regulators and utilities to join with us and use the required
pollution reductions as an opportunity to invest in clean green power
instead of dirty old coal."

Kendrick-Hands calls the negative response of Michigan's utilities
“disappointing but
predictable.” According to Julie Metty, Resource Policy Specialist for
the Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), “utility companies’ cost
predictions of $800 million for compliance may well prove to be
overstated as they were for acid rain controls, which were achieved for
less than $100 per ton rather than the $1500 originally estimated."
These figures also ignore the substantial financial benefits of
healthier air for all the state’s citizens. 

 “Smog and air pollution sends nearly 3,000 Michigan citizens to the
emergency room each year, especially our children, the elderly and
asthmatics who are most vulnerable to the effects of smog" said Elliot
Levinsohn, Air Quality Specialist for the American Lung Association of
Michigan. “That is a disgrace, and expense, that the citizens of
Michigan can no longer afford.”


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