In May of last year, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (MDNRE) denied a permit for the Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc. to build a new coal-fired power plant in Rogers City, Michigan.
Celebrated as a WIN for environmentalists fighting climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions and for those pushing for Michigan to adopt cleaner energy sources, the celebration has now been cut off. Last August, Wolverine Power sued the State over the denial.
The fight against carbon-spewing power plants in Michigan was dealt a blow when, in February, a Circuit Court judge remanded the permit denial back to the DNRE for further consideration. In the ruling the judge said the DNRE (now known as the Department of Environmental Quality, DEQ) failed to base its permit denial on specific air quality concern which it was compelled to do.
DEQ has indicated that it will not appeal the decision so the power plant is now slated to move forward.
"We’re in compliance with the courts at this point; we're not planning to appeal this decision," said DEQ spokesperson Brad Wurfel.
The Department of Environmental quality says they've reviewed the permit application and they're prepared to give the permit to install, which would mean the project could move forward.
"We're waiting to hear back from them and we do plan to work with them as partners," said Wurfel.
In fact, the DEQ says the ball is in Wolverine's court. In a statement from Wolverine, they said this:
"Wolverine has received the opinion from the Missaukee County Circuit Court regarding the air quality permit for the Wolverine Clean Energy Venture power plant development in Rogers City. Our project team is presently reviewing the opinion and working with MDEQ staff to determine our next steps. Wolverine continues to believe the Rogers City location is a world-class site to construct an electric generating facility."
Today the DEQ announced a public hearing on the impending power plant:
Dear Interested Party,
In accordance with the recent Circuit Court remand, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has re-evaluated Permit to Install application No. 317-07 for Wolverine Power’s proposed power plant, taking into account new regulations. Although the application was denied on May 21, 2010, the Court determined that lack of need for the proposed facility was not a legal basis for this denial.
On May 19, 2011, a public hearing on the DEQ’s proposed conditional permit approval will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Rogers City High School Gymnasium, 1033 West Huron Avenue, Rogers City, Michigan. The purpose of the hearing will be to take testimony on the record pertaining to the new regulations which include the Best Available Control Technology demonstration for greenhouse gases and the air quality analysis for the new 1-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standards for nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. Prior to the hearing, an informational session will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. also in the Rogers City High School Gymnasium. Staff will be available to answer questions.
Information regarding the re-evaluation can be found at http://www.deq.state.mi.us/.... Written comments may be sent to Mary Ann Dolehanty, Permit Section Supervisor, DEQ, Air Quality Division, P.O. Box 30260, Lansing, Michigan, 48909-7760, or submitted via the webpage. If you have any questions, please contact us at 517-335-4607.
G. Vinson Hellwig, Chief, Air Quality Division
Given that Republicans control all parts of the government in Michigan, this appears to be a "done deal" and the hearing is little more than a formality.
I'm just sayin'...
Cross-posted at Eclectablog.com.