Lawmaker, Nonprofit Urge Reduction in State’s Coal Ash Pollution


tIn a call for stricter environmental regulations at the state and federal levels, the Clean Water Fund released a report today detailing the harmful effects of coal ash pollution in Michigan.

tMore than 1.7 million tons of the toxic byproduct coal ash is generated every year by the largest coal-fired power plants in Michigan, according to the Toxic Trash Exposed: Coal Ash Pollution in Michigan report. State Sen. Steve Bieda (D-Warren) calls the Clean Water Fund’s findings “alarming.” 

t“I call on my colleagues to act on this,” Bieda says. “We must work harder to better protect our communities from harmful toxic coal ash pollution.”

tOut of the 29 known coal ash disposal sites, all are located on or near a body of water, and 19 are directly adjacent to one of the Great Lakes. Of the 14 sites regulated by Michigan, 12 are known to be or are considered “likely contaminated.”

t“That’s 12 more (contaminated sites) than there ever should be,” says Lisa Evans, a senior administrative counsel for Earthjustice, a national nonprofit environmental law organization. “Some states have regulations (for coal ash disposal), but they are largely inadequate to protect the environment. The state of Michigan should close the gaps identified in today’s report as soon as possible.”

tThe plants generating the most coal ash include DTE Energy’s Monroe Plant, which produces 38 percent, followed by Consumers Energy’s J.H. Campbell Generating Complex in Holland at 36 percent, and DTE’s Belle River Plant in St. Clair County at 10 percent, according to the report.

tTo read the full report, click here.