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E-M:/ MDEQ Fails Again to Uphold Clean Air Act

August 29, 2002					

Jeff Gearhart, Ecology Center	(734) 663-2400

Brad Garmon, MEC				(517) 487-9539
Dr. Kenneth Rosenman, MSU	(517) 353-1846
Eliot Levinsohn, ALAM			(517) 484-1179 

MDEQ Re-issues Delta Township Plant Permit
New High-Tech Auto Plant Will Not Have Latest Pollution Controls

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) issued a permit
today allowing the General Motors Corporation (GM) to emit more than 1,200
tons of harmful pollution per year from a new automotive plant near
Lansing--without including cost-effective new equipment that would reduce
tons of paint shop emissions from Lansing area air. 
Environmental watchdog groups reviewing the new Delta Township Plant assert
the permit violates Clean Air Act protections by not requiring the use of
new pollution controls that are affordable based on industry standards.
Controls advocated by environmentalists could have eliminated up to 235 tons
of Volatile Organic Compounds per year from the plant, or approximately 20%
of the pollution permitted by the MDEQ.  
"MDEQ's own research shows that putting better pollution controls on this
plant would cost less than the equipment required at other facilities in the
state," said Jeff Gearhart of the Ecology Center. "This permit isn't fair to
the auto industry, or to the people of Michigan who have to breath the air.
Even the new Grand River facility down the street does a better job of
controlling paint shop emissions."

"Volatile Organic Compounds represent a health risk in a state where nearly
1.5 million children already live with poor air quality, inhibiting lung
development and aggravating pediatric asthma," said Dr. Kenneth D. Rosenman,
Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Occupational and
Environmental Medicine at Michigan State University. "Volatile Organic
Compounds combine with nitrogen oxides to form ground-level ozone, which is
harmful to the 900,000 Michigan residents who suffer from asthma." 

MEC's Brad Garmon said the costs of adding newer technology to eliminate the
pollutants at the Delta Township plant are about the same costs for
pollution controls currently being used at other manufacturing plants in
Michigan. "For approximately $5 per car--well within the range of costs at
other plants--GM could have installed a newer system that would have sharply
reduced air pollution. Particularly at a time when America's corporations
are asking for trust, the decision by our largest corporate resident to put
our kids at risk is disappointing." 

The Ecology Center's Gearhart said the Clean Air Act is designed to ensure
that companies like GM use the best available technology to reduce air
pollution. "Unfortunately, until the leadership of the MDEQ issues permits
consistent with the Clean Air Act, new technology will sit on a shelf
instead of saving kids and communities," said Gearhart.

The permit issued by MDEQ will allow GM to move forward with construction
while environmental groups weigh options for getting the add-on controls

Based in Ann Arbor, the Ecology Center is a regional environmental
organization which works for clean air, safe water, and environmental
justice. The Michigan Environmental Council, based in Lansing, is a
statewide coalition of 64 environmental, public health, and faith-based


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