DTE Energy Official: Lawsuit is 'Strategy to Generate Headlines'
John Austerberry, internal communication consultant for DTE Energy, responded Tuesday to a lawsuit filed by The Sierra Club last week accusing the energy company of about 1,400 violations of the federal Clean Air Act.
The Sierra Club filed a lawsuit against DTE Energy last Tuesday accusing the energy utility company of at least 1,400 violations of the federal Clean Air Act, according to the Huffington Post Detroit.
The lawsuit is directed towards DTE Energy's four southeast Michigan coal-fired power plants including the Trenton Channel Plant, 4695 West Jefferson.
John Austerberry, internal communication consultant for DTE Energy, told Patch Tuesday all four plants meet the opacity standard—the subject of the lawsuit—99 percent of the time.
The opacity standard is the measurement of the opacity of emissions from stationary sources by continuous opacity monitoring systems (COMS), in order to determine compliance with an emissions standard, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
"All of our plants operate in compliance with state and federal emissions regulations and those regulations are designed to protect the environment and public health," Austerberry said.
Emily Rosenwasser, press secretary for The Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, said utility companies should be hitting compliance 100 percent of the time.
"When they play a numbers game they don't take into consideration the well-documented health concerns of the community," Rosenwasser said. "It's no mystery that pollution of coal plants affect peoples' health."
Austerberry said DTE invested $2 billion over the past 10 years to install emissions controls to ensure compliance with current and future regulations, and plan to spend an additional $1 to $2 billion to meet new regulations.
"The Sierra Club’s announcement is clearly a strategy to generate headlines and is part of their crusade to end the use of coal."
The Sierra Club is an organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the quality of the natural and human environment, according to the organization's website.