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Re: E-M:/ deq proposes new breaks for "clean corporate citizens"

Enviro-Mich message from wrightd@voyager.net (David Wright)

David and Enviro-Mich subscribers,

        Due to a loophole in the Clean Air Act grandfathered coal-fired
power plants like the WEPCO Presque Isle plant are plant are allowed to
emit significantly more air pollution than new facilities.  This loophole
needs to closed.  Presque Isle emits sulfur dioxide (SO2) at a rate that is
3.5 times greater than what would be emitted from a new facility.  Presque
Isle emits nitrogen oxides (NOx) at a rate approximately 4 times greater
than what would be emitted from a new facility.  As you point out this
facility also emits mercury and other toxic metals into the environment.
Finally, coal fired power plants produce significantly more carbon dioxide
emissions that gas fired power plants, contibuting to global warming

        No matter what WEPCO does to the plant, no matter if DEQ considers
them to be a clean corporate citizen -- burning coal to produce electricity
in a grandfathered power plant is not and will not be a clean method for
producing electricity.  ISO 14001 registration will do nothing to clean the
plant as this is a voluntary activity.  It is up to WEPCO to decide their
environmental goals as long as they comply with the law.  Since coal fired
power plants are the largest source of mercury emissions in Michigan the
ISO plan should have the goal of eliminating their mercury emissions.  Due
to the voluntary nature of ISO14001 it's doubtful that this will be
included because mercury is not a "regulated" pollutant.

        Finally, with respect to air emissions, permit requirements should
not be relaxed since the permit determines the amount of pollution allowed
to be emitted.  And, for grandfathered coal fired power plants the
regulations need to be changed so that in time these sources will have to
meet the same emission limits required for new sources.

>Enviro-Mich message from David Allen <dallen@nmu.edu>
>I feel I must rise (slightly) in defense of (urk) C^3.  WEPCO is well on
>its way towards being ISO 14000 certified (they are completing their
>internal review - no outside review yet).  But in my opinion they are
>getting the procedures in place that will allow assessment by others as to
>whether they are in compliance with their environmental management plan.
>And they have taken steps in the past two years (1997 and 1998) to change
>operating practices on their units - with salutary, if not perfectly clean,
>results.  They are in the process of installing bag houses for their four
>oldest, and dirtiest, units.  Preliminary results give some indication that
>an equipment modification is having very good results in mercury reduction.
> WEPCO is spending big bucks in an attempt to clean up the plant.  They
>easily comply with the C^3 program.
>In other words, lets remember who to beat up on when a WEPCO gets approved
>- namely, those who call a program CLEAN Corporate Citizen when CLEAN is
>NOT part of the requirement - other than in the street sense of not being
>caught for a crime.  While WEPCO should be embarrassed by the pollution
>results of the Presque Isle plant, it is the Engler administration (DEQ)
>that should be pilloried for calling the program Clean Corporate Citizen.
>I personally think that relaxation of permitting requirements should be
>based on a) ISO 14000 certification and b) DEQ approval of the firms Env.
>Mgt. Plan., rather than having a separate, woefully weak, and mis-named C^3
>program.  Other than pillorying WEPCO, I generally agree with Dave Dempsey.
>Dave A.
>At 03:58 PM 1/7/99 -0500, Dave Dempsey wrote:
>>Enviro-Mich message from Dave Dempsey <davemec@voyager.net>
>>Do you think Michigan's DEQ is too aggressive in monitoring Michigan's
>>lakes, streams and groundwater?
>>Do you think Michigan's DEQ is too tough in enforcing water quality laws?
>>Do you think it would be better to let companies that say they are doing a
>>good job of preventing pollution, and haven't been recently penalized by
>>the state, police themselves?
>>If so, you'll love the new rules DEQ has proposed for expansion of the
>>so-called Clean Corporate Citizen program. A hearing on the rules is
>>scheduled for Wednesday, January 13 at 3 p.m. in DEQ's Storage Tank
>>Division conference room in Lansing.  A copy of the rules and hearing
>>notice can be viewed at:
>>The program already gives preferential treatment to C3s for air permitting;
>> the new rules would expand this to surface water and groundwater programs.
>> C3s could use their own best professional judgement in determining permit
>>standards, get permission for reduced monitoring, and get a virtual
>>guarantee of no more than 1 inspection every five years.
>>A proud example of Clean Corporate Citizenship is the designation given by
>>DEQ last month to the Presque Isle Power Plant operated by Wisconsin
>>Electric Power Company in Marquette.  This facility 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.  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.  Before granting extraordinary permit benefits to
>>companies, DEQ should determine the applicants are exemplary in pollution
>>prevention and are going beyond mere compliance with environmental laws to
>>demonstrate stewardship.  These rules won't do that.
>>Citizens interested in making written comments by the January 15 deadline
>>or appearing at the hearing are encouraged to contact MEC if they would
>>like further information.
>>Dave Dempsey
>>Policy Director
>>Michigan Environmental Council
>>119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
>>Lansing, MI 48912
>>ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
>>and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
>>Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
>>majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info
>ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
>and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
>Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
>majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"

David Wright
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette Dr., Suite 2A
Lansing, MI  48912
(517) 487-9539* FAX: (517) 487-9541

ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"