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DTE, state regulators ask for reconsideration in permit issuance lawsuit

DTE Energy

DTE Energy and state regulators have asked the Court of Appeals to reconsider a decision affecting a permit for the utility's new gas plant.

The company is building a billion gas plant in St. Clair County.

Nick Leonard is the executive director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center. He says the Court of Appeals rightly decided that state regulators ignored their own permitting process.

Leonard says regulators did not require DTE to study pre-existing ozone levels before they issued a permit.

Ozone can hurt people with lung problems as well as young children and even healthy people who exercise outdoors.

"This area where the plant is to be located is already violating two ambient air quality standards," says Leonard. "They're violating the standard for ozone, and for sulfur dioxide. That means our state regulators aren't taking a close look to make sure that the public health is being protected."

In a statement, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy says it "requested reconsideration of the Court of Appeals decision believing it erred in its interpretation of Michigan’s air pollution rules as they apply to the DTE gas plant. If uncorrected, the court’s opinion will require the collection and analysis of data that is both unnecessary and not legally required.”

DTE says it supplied sufficient and accurate data and analysis that supports the appropriate issuance of the permit. 

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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