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E-M:/ DEQ PR spin on Clean Air

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

The Michigan DEQ today is publicizing the release of Michigan's Relative
Risk Task Force Report on Air Quality Issues.  I'll bet you didn't even
know we had a group looking at the Relative Risk of Air Quality Issues.  I
sure didn't!

Highlights from the press release include --

        "The task force found that Michigan has exercised "due diligence"
in air quality matters."

        Michigan has exercised a great deal of legal "due diligence" when
it comes to clean air.  Everytime a significant clean air initiative is
proposed Michigan calls the Attorney General and with "due diligence" they
sue.  Currently Michigan is suing to overturn EPA's smog transport rule.
If Michigan wins -- Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin will be allowed to
continue polluting Michigan.  If Michigan loses Indiana, Illinois, and
Wisconsin will have to clean up.  I sure hope we lose......

        "Numerous counties in southern Michigan do not meet the new, more
stringent 8-hour standard.  In addition, widespread emission reductions
will be necessary for these counties to come into compliance.  However, the
drastic nitrogen oxide reductions mandated by the federal government will
neither bring Michigan into compliance with the new 8-hour National Ambient
Air Quality Standards, nor contribute to measurable reductions of ozone
transported to the northeast United States."

        Those charged with cleaning Michigan's air appear to be more
concerned about the northeast United States.  Michigan is just as polluted
by our upwind neighbors as the northeast U.S. is polluted by its upwind
neighbors.  The federal plan requiring nitrogen oxide reductions recognizes
this and requires Michigan's neighbors to clean up.  In return for Michigan
reducing air pollution by over 80,000 tons, our neighbors that pollute us
will reduce their air emissions by over 250,000 tons.  A win/win situation.

        In addition, a significant portion of this air pollution reduction
will come from grandfathered coal-fired power plants.  These facilities
were built prior to the adoption of the clean air act and have not been
required to meet the more stringent requirements of the clean air act.  In
Michigan, these plants emit nitrogen oxides pollution at rates from 2 to 6
times what would be allowed from a new plant.  These facilities are also
huge.  Detroit Edison's Monroe Plant emitted over 48,000 tons of nitrogen
oxide air pollution in 1996.   For automobiles, it would require over
2,000,000 vehicles to produce the same amount of air pollution (A typical
automobile emits about 39 pounds of nitrogen oxides on an annual basis).

        According to the DEQ even if Michigan did comply with the "drastic
nitrogen oxide reductions mandated by the federal government," Michigan
still will not comply with the new air quality standard.  So, DEQ, what's
the plan?  How will Michigan comply?  Will Michigan comply?  Or, is
Michigan's Air Quality Plan to continue stalling by calling on the Attorney
General to sue the EPA instead of requiring Michigan to clean up.

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

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