February 10, 2011

DEQ Urged to Reject Holland Coal Plant Permit: Health, Ratepayer Costs Too High

february 10, 2011

DEQ Urged to Reject Holland Coal Plant Permit:
Health, Ratepayer Costs Too High

Clean Energy Now – Citizens groups today called on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to reject a permit that would open the door to the unnecessary expansion of a Holland coal plant. Although the permit is back in front of the Department of Environmental Quality because of an Ottawa County Circuit Court decision, the groups point to severe flaws that require it to be denied. The groups said the Holland Board of Public Works coal plant expansion, if approved, will saddle ratepayers with higher costs, endanger public health and put the Great Lakes, land and air at risk.

“The Department of Environmental Quality should reject this dangerous and unnecessary coal plant that Holland BPW’s own studies show would cost its ratepayers $106 million more than other cleaner alternatives over the course of 20 years,” said Nicholas Schroeck,executive director, Great Lakes Environmental Law Center . “Michigan is just beginning to move out of the dark ages and into a new, clean energy future and citizens cannot afford to open the door to more dirty coal plants that can derail our efforts. We must take a stand to protect the future of Holland and all of Michigan from more polluting coal fired power plants.”

"Many Holland and Michigan citizens urge the DEQ to stand up for Michigan’s future and reject this permit, which will put people’s health at risk,” said Sara E. Leeland, PhD,  Holland resident who has been active in opposing the large-sized coal-plant.  "In fact, NEED for a double-sized coal plant is a big issue for many of us.  We expect the world-class 40-year sustainable energy plan now underway to show that Holland's long-term need will be for up to 50% less electricity than now used, not double the amount.   A larger plant would likely be used to make profits by feeding electricity into the grid.  Since the pollution created drifts directly across the population center of the city that would be choosing city profit over health." 

The citizens groups said the DEQ must reject the permit on the following grounds:
  • Cleaner, feasible and more prudent energy alternatives to the coal plant expansion requires the DEQ to reject the permit in light of the risk to air quality that a coal plant expansion will pose. 
  • Citizens have identified many problems related to the coal plant expansion that the Holland BPW must address and comply with by the time a decision is made on the permit.
  • The DEQ must substantially re-draft the terms and conditions of the permit, re-publicize the revised permit draft and give the public an opportunity to comment on it if the DEQ moves forward and issues a permit for the expansion.
 NOTE: Documents submitted to the Michigan DEQ calling for the denial of the Holland Board of Public Works proposed coal plant permit can be found here: