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E-M:/ Connors Creek and DEQ Director Harding goes to Washington

Enviro-Mich message from David Wright <wrightd@voyager.net>

	Yesterday, Russ Harding, Director of the Michigan Department of
Environmental Quality testified before a Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air.
He was there to "testify on the very important issue of achieving
improvements in the air quality of our states."  His testimony reads more
like a summary of how Michigan uses attorney's to block important air
quality regulations.  

	Director Harding, taking credit for the recent Federal Court decision
temporarily halting the regional ozone smog transport rule, stated,
"..indeed it was Michigan that filed suit against EPA challenging the NOx
controls,..."  While taking credit for the lawsuit and the challenge to
this EPA rule, he also criticized EPA for "setting state against state in a
finger pointing battle."

	Director Harding failed to mention the significant number of exceedances
of the 8-hour ozone smog air quality standard occurring all across
Michigan.  (Southeast Michigan has declared that today is another Ozone
Action Day).  Instead, he commented on how "Michigan also was a party to
the lawsuit that challenged the new national ambient air quality standard
for ground level ozone,..."  He spun this decision as EPA failing to
provide a "sound scientific basis" for the standard.  (Editorial comment --
having read the Federal court's decision, at no point did they claim the
science used by EPA was unsound.)  

	As the DEQ continues to protect Michigan's antiquated grandfathered
coal-fired electric utility industry, it's a good time to look at what's
really happening with air pollution and what can be done.  

	While Director Harding is in Washington saying our air is pure and we
don't pollute our neighbors.  West Michigan is being assaulted by air
pollution from our upwind neighbors.  Our immediate downwind neighbor,
southern Ontario, has the dirtiest air in Canada; and, today is another
ozone action day in southeast Michigan.  These facts don't quite fit the
pretty picture being painted by DEQ.

	On a related front Detroit Edison recently reopened Conners Creek.  What
once was an antiquated, grandfathered coal-fired power plant is now a
natural gas fired power plant.  This plant will cost-effectively produce
electricity and it will MEET the same emission standard that Director
Harding just said is too expensive and will result in blackouts throughout
the midwest.  In addition, by converting to natural gas this plant will not
emit toxic mercury or soot.  Michigan's utilities can quickly and
cost-effectively reduce the air pollution from their coal-fired plants.
Conners Creek is an excellent example of how it is done and also what's
wrong with Director Harding's agenda.

David Wright
Policy Specialist
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, Michigan 48912
(517) 487-9539 phone  (517) 487-9541 fax

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