Friday, September 14, 2007

Press Release: Proposed new coal plant would undermine move toward cheaper, cleaner options


Hugh McDiarmid Jr., Michigan Environmental Council: 248-660-4300

Kim Pargoff, Environment Michigan: 310-429-9160

Jan O’Connell, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter: 616-956-6646

September 14, 2007


Proposed new coal plant would undermine ongoing state plan for cleaner, cheaper options. Why?

A new coal-burning power plant proposed today by Consumer’s Energy in Michigan’s Thumb region fits few of the criteria described by Gov. Jennifer Granholm and other key state leaders who’ve vowed a new era of clean energy at stable prices.

“For months the Governor, the Public Service Commission, legislators, businesses, environmentalists and – we thought – utilities, have been working toward an enlightened plan to save money by reducing electricity use through efficiency and to generate more power from clean, job-rich technologies like wind and solar,” said Hugh McDiarmid Jr. of the Michigan Environmental Council.

“Ratepayers should have one question of Consumers Energy’s bid to slow down these cleaner, cheaper options with a new coal plant and its promise of 60 years of polluting Global Warming emissions. That question is, ‘Why?’”

The coal plant would:

Ø Do nothing to move Michigan toward becoming the “epicenter” of alternative energy development envisioned by Governor Granholm.

Ø Decrease Michigan’s percentage of renewable energy generation at the very time state leaders are considering aggressive new renewable power targets.

Ø Discourage efforts to re-establish energy efficiency programs that would provide energy savings at one-third the cost of a new coal plant.

Ø Increase pollution and Global Warming gas emissions at the very moment state and federal leaders are working on plans to curb them.

Ø Saddle ratepayers with continued reliance on expensive out-of-state coal imports, part of $20 billion that Michiganders annually send to other states and countries for imported fuels. This comes at a juncture where consumers are asking for more home-grown power options like wind and solar to provide desperately-needed in-state jobs for contractors, installers and manufacturers.

“Wind, solar, biomass, and cheap and easy energy efficiency programs are on the table. That’s because there’s universal recognition that those options are the smartest, the quickest to implement, and the least dependent on expensive out-of-state fuel imports,” said Kim Pargoff of Environment Michigan. “Trumping them with the latest version of 150-year-old coal technology moves us backward when we need to be moving ahead.”


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