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E-M:/ MEC Report - 30 Years of Earth Days: How Far Have We Come?



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Enviro-Mich message from Michele Scarborough <mec@voyager.net>
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For Immediate Release

Contact:
James Clift 517-487-9539


30 Years of Earth Days: How Far Have We Come?


LANSING — The Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) today demanded
Governor
Engler require utility companies to use modern pollution abatement
technology to reduce
pollution from power plants.  MEC’s Policy Director, James Clift, stated
“It’s inexcusable
that we are powering today’s advanced high-tech computers using obsolete
1970s
coal-fired power plants that are polluting our air and poisoning our
lakes.”  MEC released
its Earth Day report that examines the energy and pollution trends of
the last 30 years as
well as possible trends for the next 30 years.

Over the last three decades, increasing environmental awareness and
effective action by
the federal and state governments has resulted in significant strides in
cleaning our air.
However, significant problems remain.  In the summer of 1999, Michigan
experienced
over 30 days when the air was unhealthy to breathe.

Loopholes written into the Clean Air Act provide an incentive for
utilities to continue to
rely on coal – the dirtiest form of energy – to run their power plants.
Currently, 80
percent of Michigan’s electricity comes from coal; less than 3 percent
comes from natural
gas, a cleaner fuel.  This blend contributes to Michigan residents
incurring substantial
health care costs for the treatment of asthma and other respiratory
illnesses.

Reversing this trend means moving away from coal as a primary energy
source to cleaner
fuels such as natural gas.  In addition, renewable energy such as solar
and wind energy
and new technological advances in energy efficiency and fuel cell
development need to
play significantly greater roles in the future.  James Clift noted, “The
technology exists
today for us to meet society’s energy demands without destroying our
natural resources or
compromising our public health.  What’s lacking is the political
leadership and courage of
policy makers to stand up to utilities and make the changes that are
necessary.”

The report is posted on MEC's web site at
http://www.mienv.org/edreport.pdf.

  -30 -


--
Michele Scarborough
Member Services Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste. 2A
Lansing, MI 48917
(517) 487-9539
FAX (517) 487-9541
mec@voyager.net



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