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E-M:/ Environmentalists Join DEQ, EPA to Block Detroit Edison Coal Plant

Enviro-Mich message from Joy Strawser <mec@pop.voyager.net>


Tuesday, December 1, 1998		      
Lana Pollack, Michigan Environmental Council        517 487-9539	
Julie Metty, Michigan United Conservation Clubs     517 371-1041
Pegg Roberts, Creekside Community Develop. Corp.    313 964-5450 (day)
						    313 822-6118 (eve)
Jim Moore, American Lung Association of Michigan    517 484-4541	Rick
Coronado, Citizens Env. Alliance of SW Ontario 519 973-1116
Susan Hedman, MW Env. Law and Policy Center         312 759-3400					
An international alliance of  U.S. and Canadian environmental,
neighborhood and public health groups are joining forces to keep Detroit
Edison from restarting Conners Creek, because the 48 year-old coal-fired
plant fails to meet healthy air standards.  The alliance is contesting
Edison's claim that this moth-balled plant on the banks of the Detroit
River can be started up using the pollution control equipment last
updated in the 1970's. 

Edison lost the first round in its July attempt to restart the plant
when the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)  and the US
EPA ruled Detroit Edison must update permits and emission controls
before constructing and making modifications to reopen the plant.  MDEQ
and Wayne County are opposing Edison's claim in Federal Court that the
permit denial is illegal.  The alliance of health, neighborhood and
environmental groups are seeking to intervene to force Detroit Edison to
obey the Clean Air Act.

"We felt we had to intervene," Elliot Levinsohn of the American Lung
Association said. "In 1993 there were as many as 3,000 visits to
emergency rooms due to ozone (smog) exceedances in Detroit.  During this
past summer we saw substantial increases in serious air pollution on
both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border.  If Conners Creek is allowed to
reopen, Detroiters will be at even greater risk for respiratory

The fight over the old plant is happening as Michigan utility companies
lobby for legislation in Lansing to eliminate oversight of electricity
generation by the state's Public Service Commission. "If utilities get
the deregulation legislation they want, operating this dirty old
coal-fired plant, could mean new profits for Edison while their
customers are forced to breathe dirtier air," Lana Pollack, President of
the Michigan Environmental Council, said.  "Deregulation should not be a
race to the bottom when it comes to air-pollution and public health, and
Conner's Creek would definetely be adding a heavy load of new
pollution," Pollack added.   

Groups participating  in the Motion to Intervene include The  Citizens
Environment Alliance of SW Ontario, the American Lung Association of
Michigan, Creekside Community Development Corporation and Michigan's two
leading environmental coalitions, the Michigan Environmental Council and
the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.  They are represented by the
Environmental Law and Policy Center of the Midwest.  Environment Canada,
the International Joint Commission and the Ministry of Ontario
Environment, agree with the Environmental Intervenors' concern that the
plant would substantially increase the emissions of smog forming
substances, particulate matter, greenhouse gases and toxic metals, such
as mercury, to the air shed of Windsor and the Detroit River ecosystem. 

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