Update: DEQ Grants Air Permit for Proposed Coal-FIred Plant in Bay City

Over the holiday break, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) granted an air permit for the controversial proposed coal-fired power plant in Bay City. This decision comes in direct contrast to the findings of the Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) who stated in 2009 that there is not enough demand for energy in Michigan to justify the construction of a new baseload plant for at least another decade.

Groups supporting the coal plant have been quick to highlight that the permit is conditional on three other older coal plants being shut down. However, this is an empty gesture, because these plants were likely to be shut down in the coming years regardless.

Fortunately, even though the DEQ granted an air permit, it does not mean that the project will definitely go forward. Environmental and public health groups continue to explore other avenues to ensure that this unnecessary plant (that will be paid for by the citizens of Michigan) is not built. In addition, the PSC still has to grant a "certificate of need" for this proposed plant before it can go forward. Finally, outdated forms of energy production – like coal-fired power – are very expensive and have been encountering serious problems securing funding. One can only hope that in the worst case scenario and the plant gets full approval, that it will not have the funding to proceed.

While the DEQ’s decision does not come directly from the Governor's office, it is certainly an indication that her administration is not as concerned with clean energy as they claim to be. Call the Governor's office today, 517-335-7858. Remind the Governor of the PSC's report - that there is no need for a new coal-fired power plant and encourage her to ask the PSC to uphold their report findings.

To view the 2009 Michigan Public Service Commission Report, click here.