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Trenton Plant Shows Unhealthy, Poorly Controlled Levels of Ozone Pollution

Sierra Club calls on EPA to redesignate and protect Michigan counties from unhealthy levels of ozone pollution under the federal Clean Air Act.

Trenton Channel Power Plant
Trenton Channel Power Plant

The Sierra Club is petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency to revisit and protect 12 Michigan counties from dangerous levels of ozone pollution, the organization said Monday.

Wayne County is home to three coal-burning plants: River Rouge, Trenton Channel and Wyandotte. The Trenton and River Rouge plants are owned and operated by DTE Energy Co.  

The Nov.14 petition, filed jointly by Earthjustice, a non-profit environmental organization, stems from the EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ground-level ozone, which sets the maximum level of ozone pollution safe for human health.

The EPA’s 2012 data, released in July, shows that levels of ozone pollution in Wayne County exceed the air quality standards.

“The agency must… bring ozone pollution in these counties down from levels it has found to be dangerous to human health and welfare,” Tiffany Hartung, senior campaign representative with Sierra Club Michigan Beyond Coal said Tuesday.

“If these counties were properly listed, big polluters, such as coal-burning plants, would have to take steps to control their emissions,” Hartung said.

Ground-level ozone, or smog, pollution is known to contribute to asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, and even premature death, according to the EPA.  

DTE is heavily invested in coal with about 75 percent of its power coming from coal-fired plants, according to a Michigan Public Service Commission filing.

“DTE needs a timetable for setting cleanup plans for plants or beginning to phase them out and invest in additional renewable energy,” Hartung said. “It’s time for DTE to make a decision about these plants.”

The Sierra Club Michigan Beyond Coal faction has consistently pressured DTE to move away from coal-fired plants.

In recent years, however, DTE has invested more than $550 million in additional nitrogen oxide control technology across all six of its coal-fire power plants. From 2008-2012, NOx emissions declined 44 percent across the energy company's fleet, Randi Berris, a DTE spokeswoman, said.  

“We are in compliance with all regulations and will continue to work with the state to make sure all emission standards are met in a cost effective manner that protects the environment while keeping rates affordable for our customers,” Berris said. 

Last year, coal was responsible for about 37 percent of all power generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Web site.

Wyandotte Municipal Power Plant, which is owned by the city, could not be reached for comment.

waterboy November 27, 2013 at 11:42 AM
so will sierra club re-employ all the workers that lose tier jobs? will they credit my utility increase?
sine-of-the-times November 27, 2013 at 03:42 PM
terrible analogy waterboy...we still need energy regardless,right? Employ them in a fashion that is environmentally worthy = there will still be plenty of jobs.
Les November 27, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Sounds like another group (The Sierra Club) jumping on Obama's war on coal. It is time to get off of this "green environment". Not only would there be a local loss of jobs here in Michigan, but thousands of jobs eliminated in the coal fields of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Obama needs to learn what it is like to work for a living - remember he has never had any job other than a community organizer. He needs to mine coal in this country and drill here and drill now
Amy Lutz-Mathias November 28, 2013 at 08:19 AM
DTE is in compliance with the federal regulations. What do you want? Million dollar utility bills? Or just shut them down, who needs power anyways. Morons.
sine-of-the-times November 28, 2013 at 07:16 PM
people are shopping right now at walmart, of course we don't care to spend money on clean energy...priorities.
waterboy November 29, 2013 at 11:13 AM
sin of the times love the wal mart analogy wt...?
Amy Lutz-Mathias November 29, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Skwjejsnn
Amy Lutz-Mathias November 29, 2013 at 02:44 PM
Ndksjebsjsbd z z z , disown....snsjdiy !
Les November 29, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Amy ---speak English!!!!!!!
Amy Lutz-Mathias November 30, 2013 at 09:05 AM
Sorry, grand daughter got my phone.

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