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E-M:/ National groups release new mercury report

Enviro-Mich message from James Clift <jamesmec@voyager.net>

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, November 17, 1999

James Clift, Michigan Environmental Council
(517) 487-9539

Michigan’s Coal-fired Power Plants are Poisoning our Lakes

The Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) called today for state
government to take action against several coal-fired power plants that
are the state’s largest remaining uncontrolled source of mercury, a
poison which is polluting waters and contaminating Michigan fish.
Citing a national report that documents Michigan’s dirty old coal-fired
plant emit 4669 pounds of mercury each year, MEC noted that this
pollution contributes to Michigan sportfish being contaminated in
amounts that make eating large quantities a threat to human health.

James Clift, MEC Policy Director stated, “Michigan officials could
protect the public’s health by eliminating the special treatment given
to coal-fired power plants that allows them to avoid installing modern
pollution control equipment”.  This special treatment allows them to
emit a host of pollutants at levels 3 to 7 times higher than new
facilities would emit producing the same amount of energy.

MEC points out that the legislature will have at least two opportunities
in the near future to address this issue.  There is currently an
amendment pending to HB 4651 on the House calendar that eliminates the
special treatment and require plants to upgrade their equipment by
2005.  There will also be an opportunity in the upcoming deregulation
debate to do the same.

In 1992, Governor Engler had conducted the Michigan Relative Risk
Analysis Project to rate environmental problems in the state.  Energy
production and consumption was rated in the highest risk category
recognizing its threat to Michigan’s environmental health. The report
noted that “the inefficient use of energy and the deleterious
by-products of production and consumption threaten the economic security
and environmental quality of the state”.

James Clift, Policy Director at MEC stated, “Environmental groups in the
state are disappointed that Governor Engler is ignoring his own panel’s
recommendation and has begun to implement a deregulation scheme for the
electrical power industry that includes no provisions designed to
protect Michigan’s environment”.   The Governor has asked the
legislature to codify the Public Service Commission’s orders on
deregulation.  MEC will be asking the legislators to include provisions
that will result in cleaner energy for Michigan future.

The report was a joint effort of the Environmental Working Group, Clean
Air Network and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Complete report
materials are available at: www.cleanair.net or www.ewg.net.


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