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Re: E-M:/ TRI Data - Utilities top the list



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Enviro-Mich message from "Bryan Harrison" <HARRISOB@exec.state.mi.us>
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Folks,

I think we all can agree that working for more efficient production and manufacturing methods and cleaner, greener generation of energy is a admirable and ultimate goal.  In fact, we give credit to pollution prevention practices and regulation as being responsible for the DECREASE in our release. 

While I know there is an innate inclination to shoot off a negative press release every time DEQ tells a little good news - please try to resist.  After all, isn't the whole point of having a Toxic Release Inventory being able to determine if trends of yucky stuff are increasing or decreasing?  Well, they are DECREASING.  Come on people now, smile on your brother...........

But wait, you retort, "its only an insignificant ten-percent reduction!!"  I calmly reply, "If it were a ten percent increase, would that be insignificant as well?"  

So here is the story.  The economy is growing yet nasty stuff being spewed is DECREASING.  Only a pessimist (or an organized group of pessimists) would frown upon hearing such news.  

Viva La Resistance

Bryan Harrison


>>> James Clift <jamesmec@voyager.net> 03/22 12:32 PM >>>
Bryan Harrison wrote:

> Could you please provide an estimate of the cost of replacing 80% of our electricity generating sources?  Over what period of time is replacement advocated vs. what is practical?

First, I like to point out that 80% of our energy comes from old, dirty coal plants because they have not had to update their pollution control equipment and because our current
system makes no distinction between dirty power and cleaner forms of energy.

The Michigan Environmental Council has advocated that old, dirty coal-fired power plants should be required to meet modern pollution emission standards (those required by new plants
built today). Our initial proposal was to phase-in the requirements over the next seven years.

The key is that 80% of our plants do not need to be replaced.  We envisioned a scenario under which utilities would meet the standards through conversion of boilers to natural gas,
the addition of pollution control equipment and replacement of some of their oldest facilities with new combined-cycle natural gas plants.

You must also understand that many of our coal plants have already been paid for by the ratepayers.  And companies are lining up to build new natural gas plants that they believe can
supply electricity at the same costs as the coal plant.  Under that scenario, the total costs to Michigan ratepayers would be zero. The key is creating a competive market for new
power.

The EPA, when it proposed the reduction in nitrogen oxides emissions estimated that addition pollution control equipment could result in residential rates increases in the 2-4%
range.

This amount is low, especially when you take into consideration that the cost of electric generation goes beyond what a customer pays in their bill.  The pollution from electric
generation imposes substantial health care costs on Michigan's residents that are not included in a customer's bill.  These costs fall heaviest on families with members that suffer
from asthma, other respiratory illnesses or cardiovascular disease.

In 1990, a study of these costs was conducted by Pace University Center for Environmental Studies for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the U.S.
Department of Energy.   The study reviewed all the research conducted before 1990 that attempted to put a price tag on the environmental and health-related costs from the pollution
generated from power plants.  The authors admit that this is not an exact science, but an attempt to quantify the magnitude of the problem that is currently being ignored.  Their
figures when applied to Michigan's emission were over $1.5 billion annually.

So I think it is important to look at costs, but to also look at benefits.  We think it makes sense from both an economic and environmental point of view.

I note that in Governor Engler's Michigan Relative Risk Analysis Project (1992), that
"Energy Production and Consumption: Practices and Consequences" * was rated in the highest category of environment risk by the State Agency Committee, the Citizen Committee and the
Scientist Committee.  The reason given for high rating was 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".

 The section on energy concludes by stating:

 "It is particularly important that state and federal energy policies appropriately consider environmental effects of energy production and consumption".

The administration might want to dust off this report.

James Clift, Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste. 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 487-9539


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