June 12, 2008

NMU’s Dirty Coal Plant Wrong for U.P., Michigan Group files appeal today to fight tooth and nail to stop backward coal plant, which puts U.P., Michigan at risk

LANSING – Sierra Club today announced that it will fight every step of the way to stop the construction of an outdated coal plant to be built at Northern Michigan University by calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to overturn an earlier decision approving the project.

“Universities should lead into the future, not cling to the past, and Northern Michigan should embrace clean, 21st-Century energy technology, not dirty coal plants from the 19th Century,” Michigan Sierra Club State Director Anne Woiwode said. “We urge Northern Michigan University to abandon this wrong-headed plan to build an outdated dirty coal plant that will threaten our ability to attract jobs of the future. We urge Northern Michigan to lead by example and prepare our students for a 21st-Century economy.”

An official appeal was filed today with the Environmental Protection Agency seeking to overturn the decision by Governor Granholm’s Department of Environmental Quality to approve a permit for NMU. Sierra Club also said it will reach out to NMU President Leslie Wong and University leaders to abandon the coal plant.

“NMU should look to the future, not the past, and more coal plants send the wrong signal to our students and to job providers,” Progress Michigan Executive Director Dan Farough said. “NMU should invest in renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass, not fossil fuels like coal. We need to create jobs in renewable energy and break our dependence on imported fossil fuels. Clean Michigan energy equals good-paying Michigan jobs today and into the future.”

The Northern Michigan proposal is part of an unprecedented blitz of up to eight coal plants seeking to locate in Michigan. Over 60 other coal plant proposals have been turned down across the nation as states turn away from outdated energy sources and invest in cutting-edge clean energy technology.

Sierra Club, along with a statewide coalition, Clean Energy Now, recently unveiled an online petition calling on Gov. Jennifer Granholm to use her executive authority to stop the construction of more outdated coal plants, until Michigan has established a clean energy plan that prioritizes 21st century energy like wind, solar and biomass. To sign the petition, go to michigancleanenergynow.com.

“Governor Granholm is talking about Michigan doing its fair share to cut global warming and invest in clean energy jobs – but her rhetoric is not matched by her actions,” said Woiwode. “Her Administration is proposing to approve more dirty coal plants and more new sources of global warming pollution than any other state in the Nation. Governor Granholm should follow the courageous lead of Governors Sebelius (D-KS), Schwarzenegger (R-CA) and Crist (R-FL) and say dirty coal has no place in her state.”