FOXe: New federal plan aims to cut pollution - KMSP-TV

FOXe: New federal plan aims to cut pollution

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RIVER ROUGE, Mich. (WJBK) - A new federal plan to cut pollution from coal-fired power plants could have a big impact here in Michigan.

Mountains of coal seen piled up outside DTE Energy's River Rouge Power Plant will be burned to power your lights, your laptop and even your air conditioner.

It's just one of the energy company's five coal-fired facilities. But a monster document from the Environmental Protection Agency could change the rules dramatically.

It could even force plants like the River Rouge plant to shut down.
     
"EPA's goals for Michigan, given how we generate power now, are fairly aggressive," says environmental attorney Steve Kohl. He says the plan aims to cut carbon emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030 with specific targets for each state.

For Michigan, that could mean cutting levels by about 25 percent from just a few years ago, which may be a tall order.

"The devil is always in the details and the expenses over time will be there. If you shut down existing generation and need to build new generation that's going to cost money," says Kohl.

"Depending on how they do it and what the speed is for all that, it could be costly and that's a concern of ours," says Skiles Boyd.  

He is DTE Energy's vice president for environmental management and resources, and says the power company will work with the state to minimize the impact on customers, and he says plans were already in the works to retire power plants over time.

According to the U.S. Energy Administration, Michigan currently has more than 20 active coal-fired power plants that generate more than half the state's electricity. In recent years we ranked 10th in the nation for carbon dioxide emissions from those plants.

Under the plan states can do several things to cut emissions: improve efficiency of existing plants; move to different power sources, like natural gas; increase renewable energy use like wind power; and reduce consumption, which means using less energy in our homes and businesses.

"I am concerned that much of EPA's plan is premised upon shifting electric generation to gas and natural gas, historically, has had a very variable cost," says Kohl.

While some worry about what this will all mean, environmental groups believe the rule change is a "win" for the state's health, natural resources and economy.

Bottom line?

The way we make electricity in Michigan could start to look a lot different in just five years, and experts say anything you can do to make your home more energy efficient now will only help.

LINKS
DTE's Energy Savings Page: http://bitly.com/1uDrI1X





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