Michigan Chapter

Stop the Michigan Coal Rush

Michigan's capital backed by coal plant plumes.Starting in 2007, Michiganders saw one of the most aggressive efforts to build new coal plants of any state in the nation.  Through the extraordinary hard work of a wide coalition of energy, faith, tribal, health and environmental organizations, by August of 2010 every one of the eight proposed coal plants was canceled, was put on indefinite hold, or had been denied a needed air pollution permit by the state of Michigan.  Michigan's then Governor Jennifer Granholm took visionary steps in demanding that no air permits for coal plants be issued unless there was a demonstrated need, and unless there were no cleaner alternatives that could meet that need better.

However, despite campaign promises of support for the environment and clean energy, within weeks of taking office Governor Rick Snyder reversed Michigan's leadership position in blocking dirty, expensive and unneeded new coal plants in our state.  The Snyder administration issued an air pollution permit to the Holland Board of Public Works (HBPW) in February for a proposed expansion of its downtown coal plant.  HBPW had sued to overturn the permit denial by Granholm’s environmental agency, and the court sent the permit back to the state agency for additional consideration.  Snyder's staff issued the HBPW permit despite its gross deficiencies and an admission by the municipal utility that cleaner alternatives would save Holland’s residents and ratepayers more than $100 million over 20 years.  A speech by Snyder in March confirmed his support for building new coal plants in Michigan.

In June 2011, the Snyder administration reversed the denial of another coal plant permit.  The Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative air permit for a proposed coal plant in Rogers City was denied by Granholm’s Administration in May 2010 because cleaner alternatives are available, the power is unneeded and the plant would boost co-op members’ electric rates by at least 60%. The permit was remanded to the Snyder administration after a court told the state it needed to spell out the reasons for their denial.  Despite extensive documentation by a wide ranging coalition seeking to block the plant showing that the proposed permit would violate the law, in addition to the lack of need and the enormous cost hike, the Snyder administration reversed course and issued this permit as well. 

In addition, the Snyder administration, with virtually no comment, extended the air pollution permit for the proposed expansion of the Consumers Energy Karn Weadock coal-fired power plant in Essexville.  Consumers Energy in May 2010 announced their plan to put this proposed plant on hold because there was no need for the power and the additional cost burden on their customers was unjustified.  Despite that admission by the company, the Snyder administration has kept this plant alive instead of allowing its 18 month permit to expire this summer. Consumers now has an additional 18 months to begin construction on this plant expansion if they wish to proceed.  Additional permissions from the Michigan Public Service Commission would be needed before the plant costs could be charged to Consumers Energy ratepayers.

Sierra Club and our partners, including Natural Resources Defense Council, Great Lakes Environmental Law Center and Environmental Law and Policy Center, have filed lawsuits to stop the Holland BPW and Consumers Energy plant expansions and to kill the proposed new Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative plant.  Michigan has an enormous amount to lose if the proposed coal plants go forward.  More than 150 proposed coal plants have been cancelled around the country since 2001 because coal is dangerous, dirty, expensive, job-killing and out of date.  Your voice is needed in the fight to move the Great Lakes State to a clean energy future and leave coal behind - Join us!  Find out more about what is going on now in Michigan on the Beyond Coal Michigan page, or contact Tiffany HartungAnne Woiwode or Jan O'Connell to learn more.

Beyond Coal Michigan
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Coal News

Sierra Club and partners challenge Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative air pollution permit
Find the September 26, 2011, complaint filed in Ingham County Court here

Sierra Club, et al, in a July 13, 2011 letter to MDEQ urge denial of any request to extend the Karn-Weadock coal plant air permit, since they're not building it anyway.

GO GREEN: Move MSU Beyond Coal! Find out what Students, Faculty, Alumni and Community Members are doing!

Michigan Beyond Coal Campaign Timeline

VICTORY!  Northern Michigan University Cancels Plans to Burn Coal! 5/18/09

VICTORY!  LS Power Suspends Plans for MidMichigan Energy coal plant in Midland! 5/1/09

Governor Granholm Slams Brakes on Coal Plant Proposals; Adopts Aggressive Clean Energy Agenda

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Coal Questions & Answers

The Basics of Carbon Cap-and-Auction

The Basics of Carbon Capture and Sequestration

What is hydrofracking?

The Basics of Nuclear Power

Why Nuclear Power Doesn't Make Sense

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