Environmentalists: Carbon dioxide
rules before new coal plants
Oct 10, 2007 - Tim Martin - The Associated
Environmental groups on Wednesday urged
state officials to begin regulating carbon dioxide
emissions from coal-burning power plants before allowing
any new facilities in Michigan.
Discussions about at least six new,
expanded or replacement coal-burning electrical power
plants are in various stages across the state. In
three locations - Midland, Rogers City and Holland
- the application process has begun with the Michigan
Department of Environmental Quality. Other possible
projects in Alma, Bay City and near Manistee have
been discussed. That doesn't mean utilities will follow
through on plans to build the plants; in some cases
they are just options under consideration for more
electrical power production.
Earlier this year, then-Michigan Public
Service Commission Chairman J. Peter Lark said the
state needs a new power plant - likely fueled by coal
- within eight years to meet power demands. He also
urged the state to push for power generated by renewable
A coalition of 10 groups, including
the Sierra Club, met outside the Capitol on Wednesday
and petitioned state regulators, lawmakers and Gov.
Jennifer Granholm to demand carbon dioxide standards
before allowing any new coal-fired power plants or
the expansion of existing facilities.
"They must be sleeping up there. Let's
give them a wake-up call," said Joseph Swallow, a
representative of the Presque Isle County-based Citizens
for Environmental Inquiry, while looking up at the
The Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality, like regulating agencies in many other states,
is waiting for some direction from the federal Environmental
Protection Agency before deciding whether to proceed
with carbon dioxide rules.
"We are looking for guidance from the
EPA on this issue," Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality spokesman Robert McCann said.
The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this
year declared that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse
gases qualify as air pollutants under the Clean Air
Act and thus could be regulated by the EPA.
President Bush soon ordered the EPA
to begin working on proposals related to carbon dioxide,
which could include its finding about whether carbon
dioxide endangers public health.
The environmental groups say it's clear
carbon dioxide contributes to global warming and should