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E-M:/ deq redefines dirty as clean

Enviro-Mich message from Dave Dempsey <davemec@voyager.net>

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE	CONTACT:   John Rebers, 906-227-1585
December 1, 1998		Lana Pollack, Dave Dempsey, 517-487-9539


	The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality today designated one of
Michigan's dirtiest coal-fired power plants, famous for the reddish-brown
plume of smoke it sends over Lake Superior, as a "Clean Corporate Citizen."
	In Marquette, the DEQ Director presented the designation to Wisconsin
Electric Power Plant Company's Presque Isle Power Plant, which ranks among
the worst sources in the state of pollutants that contribute to smog,
contaminate sportfish, and harm the respiratory health of children and the
elderly (see attachment).  In 1996 the plant ranked 6th highest among
Michigan's coal-fired power plants for emissions of nitrogen oxides (10,898
tons) and 7th highest for releases of both sulfur dioxide (19,056 tons) and
carbon monoxide (3,778,670 tons), according to DEQ records.
	"This Clean Corporate Citizen designation rewards one of the dirtiest
coal-fired power plants in Michigan," said Lana Pollack, President of the
Michigan Environmental Council.  "It makes no sense to call dirty 'clean.'
If the designation goes unchallenged, it will mislead the public about the
health and environmental risks caused by a major coal-burning facility."
	While Wisconsin Power and Electric has recently said it will install
baghouse controls to limit particulate emissions beginning in 1999, this
control technology is ineffective for nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide,
carbon monoxide, and mercury.  The Clean Corporate Citizen designation is
not linked to any agreement by Wisconsin Power and Electric to control
these emissions.
	"If a new plant were to emit what Presque Isle currently emits it would be
shut down immediately.  Our state is calling this place a Clean Corporate
Citizen, even though the plant is among the top polluters in the state,"
said John Rebers, chair of the Central Upper Peninsula Sierra Club group.
	Clean Corporate Citizens receive tangible regulatory benefits in addition
to public relations.  According to DEQ documents, Clean Corporate Citizens
	* Faster review of permit applications (within 30 days in most cases);
	* Plant-wide air emissions limits for increased operational flexibility;
	* An expanded waiver for construction and operation during permit review.
 	"The mere absence of criminal convictions and large civil fines shouldn't
entitle a company to a special clean designation," said Pollack.  "There
are many far more deserving recipients of this award in the Upper Peninsula
than a coal-fired power plant which ships its pollutants out over the
world's largest freshwater resource."



 In 1995, the Presque Isle plant was the state's 4th leading emitter of
nitrogen oxides (NoX), emitting 17,001 tons of this pollutant. NoX
contributes to the formation of smog, which causes respiratory problems
among the young, the sick, and the elderly.

 In 1995, the plant was the state's 7th largest emitter of sulfur dioxide
(SO2), belching out 16,943 tons. SO2 contributes to acid rain.

 In 1995, the plant was the state's 7th largest emitter of carbon
monoxide, releasing 509 tons.  High levels of carbon monoxide can, under
certain weather conditions, cause respiratory difficulties.

 In 1995, the plant emitted 584 tons of particulates and 134 tons of small
particles, ranking it near the top of the state's list.  Small particles,
or soot, have been associated with premature death among the elderly.

 Coal-burning power plants like the Presque Isle facility also emit toxic
mercury, which has caused a fish consumption advisory on all 11,000 inland
lakes in Michigan.  The DEQ does not collect mercury emissions information
from coal-fired power plants. However, citizens working with the Marquette
Community Mercury Reduction Project estimated that the Presque Isle Power
Plant releases approximately 160 pounds of mercury per year.

 In 1996, among Michigan's coal-fired power plants, Presque Isle was the
6th highest emitter of NOx, releasing 10,898 tons in 1996 and the 7th
highest emitter of both SO2 and CO2, releasing 19,056 tons of SO2 and
3,778,670 tons of CO2 in 1996.

 Presque Isle emits NOx at a rate almost 4 times more than what would be
allowed from a new facility and emits SO2 at rate almost 3.5 times more
than a new facility would be permitted. 

Dave Dempsey
Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
http: www.mienv.org

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