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E-M:/ 77 percent of Michigan's dirtiest power plants have increased pollution in past decade



------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enviro-Mich message from Jason Barbose ------------------------------------------------------------------------- For immediate release:                                          Contact: Jason Barbose   734.662.6597
January 26, 2004                                                                                              Cell: 734.604.8385
 
 
77 Percent of Michigan’s Dirtiest Power Plants Have Increased Pollution in Past Decade
Bush Plan Will Make Problem Worse
 
Grand Rapids, Michigan—As a key U.S. Senate committee considers the Bush administration’s bill to delay and weaken clean air safeguards, a new Clear the Air report released today by the PIRGIM (Public Interest Research Group in Michigan) finds that 77 percent of Michigan’s oldest and dirtiest power plants are getting dirtier, not cleaner.
 
“When it comes to power plant pollution, many of Michigan’s dirtiest power plants just keep getting dirtier,” said PIRGIM Field Organizer Jason Barbose.  “Pollution from power plants fuels global warming and causes serious health problems, including asthma attacks, heart and lung disease, and even premature deaths.”
 
With research finding adverse health effects from air pollution at levels once considered safe, more people than ever live in areas that fail to meet national health standards.
 
According to the new report, annual soot-forming sulfur dioxide (SO2) and smog-forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions increased at many of Michigan’s oldest and dirtiest power plants from 1995 to 2003, even while the Clean Air Act reduced power plant emissions of the pollutants statewide.  Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased at most Michigan power plants and overall statewide; there are no federal limits on CO2 emissions.
 
“We know how to solve the air pollution problem, but the Bush administration’s air pollution bill will set us back decades,” said Barbose.  “The bill creates a permanent loophole in the law for the dirtiest power plants.”
 
“Pollution on the Rise: Local Trends in Power Plant Pollution” examines U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data on power plant emissions of CO2, SO2, and NOx since 1995, the first year the Clean Air Act’s Acid Rain Program capped SO2 emissions from power plants.  Key findings include:
·        Michigan ranked 12th in the nation for CO2 emissions, 12th for SO2 emissions, and 13th for NOx emissions from power plants in 2003.
·        77 percent of the state’s dirtiest power plants increased their annual CO2 emissions from 1995 to 2003, an emissions increase equivalent to putting 1.8 million more average cars on Michigan’s roads.
·        62 percent of the state’s dirtiest power plants increased their annual soot-forming SO2 emissions from 1995 to 2003, an emissions increase equivalent to building 10 typical new power plants in the state.
·        Michigan’s J H Campbell power plant in Ottawa County ranked 18th in the nation for the largest net increase in annual CO2 emissions from 1995 to 2003.  The plant increased its annual CO2 emissions by the emissions equivalent of putting 600,000 more average cars on Michigan’s roads. 
·        Michigan’s River Rouge power plant in Wayne County increased its annual CO2 emissions by 151 percent from 1995 to 2003, which is the emissions equivalent of putting 309,000 more average cars on Michigan’s roads.
·        Michigan’s Eckert power plant in Ingham County increased its annual CO2 emissions by 181 percent from 1995 to 2003, which is the emissions equivalent of putting 254,000 more average cars on Michigan’s roads.
·        Michigan’s Trenton Channel power plant in Wayne County increased its annual SO2 emissions by 108 percent from 1995 to 2003, an emissions increase equivalent to building 5 typical new power plants in the state.
 
“The past decade shows that pollution trading puts the health of communities near the oldest and dirtiest power plants at risk.  The solution is to couple real pollution caps with stepped up enforcement of current Clean Air Act rules that require each and every power plant to meet modern pollution standards.  We certainly shouldn’t be gutting the law,” said Barbose.
 
The Bush administration’s so-called “Clear Skies” bill would dilute and delay SO2 and NOx reductions called for in the Clean Air Act, repeal New Source Review for power plants, and repeal or significantly weaken other plant-specific clean air programs to rely instead on pollution trading, while ignoring global warming altogether.  Earlier this month, the National Academy of Sciences confirmed that the administration’s bill is weaker than current law for individual power plants. 
 
The Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate Change, and Nuclear Safety is holding on a hearing on the administration’s bill today.
 
Senators Levin and Stabenow should stand with medical and public health advocates who vigorously oppose the Bush administration’s bill and not with big corporate polluters who support it.  “We ask them to do everything in their power to stop the bill,” Barbose concluded.
 
The report recommends that EPA and federal and state lawmakers:
 
  Enforce existing Clean Air Act programs, including New Source Review, designed to ensure that every community has healthy air;
 
  As a first step, pass a national cap that limits CO2 emissions economy-wide to 2000 levels by 2010;
 
  Strengthen and finalize EPA’s proposed Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) to cap SO2 and NOx emissions from power plants in the eastern U.S. at 1.8 million tons and 1 million tons, respectively, by the end of the decade, as the law requires; and
 
  Strengthen the Clean Air Act’s existing programs to further reduce all four major power plant pollutants.
 
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PIRGIM is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest advocacy organization that works to protect our environment, encourage a fair, sustainable economy, and foster responsible, democratic government
-- 
Jason Barbose
PIRGIM Field Organizer

103 E. Liberty St., Suite 202
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734.662.6597
jason@pirgim.org
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