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E-M:/ Rouge Power Plant Violations

Title: Rouge Power Plant Violations
Dearborn Industrial Generating(DIG), aka the power natural gas power plant that replaced the Rouge Powerhouse after it blew up, has just been cited for violating their SO2 permit limits.  The proposed remedy is impose a fine of $24,000, redo the permit(increase the limits so there isn't a violation) and make the stacks higher(from 150 to 185 feet).   This is also the power plant which powers the Ford facilities which are part of the "green" Rouge renovation.

From the DEQ fact sheet:   "Dispersion modeling indicates that the previously permitted stack heights do not provide adequate dispersion at the SO2 emission rates to show compliance with National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and PSD requirements."  Apparently soon after the plant started operating in 2000/2001 residents of the South End of Dearborn and Southwest Detroit were subject to ongoing levels of emissions in violation of NAAQS.

This was not a small violation.  Previous permit limit was 206.3 tons per year SO2  and they are now requesting a limit of up to 2995.9 tons per year!  That's 10 times higher then they were originally permitted.  The excuse...they "guessed" wrong about how much sulfur was in the blast furnace gas from Rouge Steel.  The Ecology Center and other community groups questioned the DEQ's reliance on almost no information regarding the chemical composition of blast furnace back in 1999 but were assured the numbers were accurate.

Many of us sat through numerous a meeting with CMS and DEQ where we were assured that these emission numbers were worst case, protective of public health and that this was really going to improve air quality.

My question is has the DEQ contacted anyone in the local community to inquire as to their view of fairness of this settlement?

What is the community getting out of this settlement?

I see there will be a public hearing but was anyone from the community which was actively involved in the original permit asked to give input up front on the settlement of these violations?

What about some sulfur controls as part of the settlement?

This must be yet another example of the new and improved DEQ public participation process?  Seems like more of the same lack of care that we suffered through under Engler.

Public Hearing, 7 pm,  August 6  Henry Ford Library


Jeff Gearhart
Ecology Center
117 N. Division
Ann Arbor, MI  48104
(734)663-2400 x117
(734)663-2414 fx.