The latest filing with the PSC, which clocks in at 158 pages, also includes emission estimates for the new plant, which while 10-15 percent cleaner than existing units will still mean a net increase in pollution to the area. The new estimates are based on the energy output of the coal, and Holyfield didn't have annual tonnage estimates available. But Environment Michigan, a statewide nonprofit in Ann Arbor, says the utility's output estimates indicate the new plant would add thousands of tons of new pollutants to the air, including up to 1,756 tons of sulfur dioxide, 1,463 tons of nitrogen oxide, 732 tons of particulate matter and 52 pounds of mercury. The estimates are similar to earlier ones made by Environment Michigan, and Consumers officials haven't questioned their accuracy.
State Department of Environmental Quality Director Steven E. Chester said he doesn't believe a new plant will have ''any localized impact'' on the Saginaw Bay area, due to stringent standards the facility will have to meet. ''We are not going to permit a facility that we think is going to have an adverse impact on this watershed,'' he said.