May 18, 2009

VICTORY!! NMU "voids" Air Permit for Proposed Coal Heating Cogeneration Plant

Sierra Club applauds Northern Michigan University's decision to "void" its state-issued air pollution permit for a coal and wood fired heating and cogeneration plant on campus. The decision came after Sierra Club successfully appealed the permit issued a year ago by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The appeal led the USEPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) to remand the permit back to the state agency to correct several deficiencies, most notably the failure to control carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, two potent greenhouse gases.

The NMU decision to drop coal as part of its fuel mix in the heating plant makes it the 97th coal plant canceled in the USA since 2001. The university's decision to abandon coal is much more consistent with their efforts to move the campus forward with green technologies and energy efficiency. NMU became a member of the US Green Building Council in 2004 and in 2006 its Meyland Hall became the first LEED Certified building at any Michigan university as well as the first in the Upper Peninsula. NMU staff began researching possible wind and solar energy applications for the campus following the Sierra Club's successful appeal of the permit. 

May 1, 2009

VICTORY! LS Power Midland Coal Plant Shelved

Sierra Club and Clean Energy Now Allies Cheer Clean Energy Opportunities!

LS Power announced May 1st it is abandoning plans for MidMichigan Energy, a massive coal plant near Midland, Michigan. This plant would have emitted more than 4.4 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent of adding 800,000 cars onto our highways.

The plant is the 97th to be defeated or abandoned since the beginning of the 2001 coal rush, and the third to be dropped by LS Power since the January 2009 dissolution of the company's partnership with Dynegy. Together Dynegy and LS Power were the largest new coal plant developers in the Nation.

Under a year long campaign by the Sierra Club and its allies, Dynegy dropped its plans to develop a host of new coal plants; and without Dynegy's support LS Power has only two coal plants still working through the permitting process, having already abandoned plans for coal plants in Iowa, Virginia, South Carolina and Nevada.

"As LS Power and other companies across the country have realized, with the election of President Obama and his commitment to clean energy and tackling global warming, our energy future is changing," said Bruce Nilles, Director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign. "Clean energy, such as wind, solar and energy efficiency, is where the future lies. The wind industry now employs more workers than coal mining. Clean solutions are the best investment for shareholders, ratepayers and job seekers."

Clean Energy Now, a leading coalition of environmental and watchdog groups, praised Midland area activists for successfully blocking the development of a new dirty coal plant in their community. The suspension of the coal-plant permit application is a boost for clean energy jobs in Michigan.

Due in large part to pressure from members of Midland CARES, Sierra Club and other Clean Energy Now members, Mid-Michigan Energy announced today that it is suspending its efforts to build a 750-megawatt coal-fired plant, the Saginaw News reported. The plant was scheduled to open in 2012.

“This is a great opportunity for new, clean, alternative energy companies to locate in Michigan and our region,” said Midland CARES member Nancy Janoch. “We need Michigan made jobs and Michigan made energy and this victory helps to move us in that direction.”

“It’s critical that local activists like members of Midland CARES continue the fight to protect Michigan families,” said Anne Woiwode of Sierra Club. “With the help and commitment of citizens, we can finally begin phasing out coal-fired power plants and move our state toward clean, renewable sources of energy.”

Through grassroots activism and public pressure, Midland CARES worked around-the-clock to educate their neighbors about the environmental health and economic disadvantages of building new coal plants.

“Nationally, we are moving to a clean energy economy. The plant cancelation offers an opportunity for communities in mid-Michigan to move back into step with the rest of the country rather than being left behind for the next half-century with a reliance on a dirty and antiquated energy source,” Shannon Fisk of the National Resources Defense Council. “Thanks to the efforts of Midland CARES, we are one step closer to realizing that goal.”