The Health Effects
Consumers Energy's proposed power plant, which the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality recently approved an air permit for, is located within 3 miles of 47 schools and 13,219 children. According to its own Draft Permit to Install, Consumers Energy proposes to emit 64 more pounds of mercury every year for the next 50 years - this is on top of the nearly 2,000 pounds already emitted by coal-fired power plants in the state. This plant will also add 20,437 tons per year (tpy) of particulate matter or soot, 2,152 tpy of sulfur dioxide, 1,820 tpy of nitrous oxides, and more than 4,532 tpy of carbon monoxide to our air each year for 50 years.
Medical studies estimate that existing Michigan coal plant pollution already results in over 850 deaths and more than 18,500 asthma attacks each year.
See video: Dr. Ken Rosenman, Chief of MSU's Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, discusses the health effects of additional coal-fired plants in Michigan
According to a September report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Michigan can meet its energy needs through a combination of wind power, biomass, and other renewable energy sources coupled with aggressive energy efficiency programs. Among the NRDC’s findings:
* Energy efficiency programs could save Michigan $3 billion in electricity costs over the next 20 years.
* Michigan’s previous energy plan, written in 2007, is out of date, with unrealistic projections of future electrical demand, limited implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy, and reliance on outdated 20th century coal technologies.
* Clean renewable energy is less expensive, cleaner, faster, more economically robust, and creates more jobs in Michigan than a 20th century plan based on new but obsolete large power plants driven by fossil fuels.