Rives Twp. residents demand action on zoning ordinance to keep out massive power plant | Michigan Radio
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Rives Twp. residents demand action on zoning ordinance to keep out massive power plant

Jun 25, 2019

Citizens to Keep Rives Rural hopes to keep a proposed gas power plant out by urging its elected leadership to change zoning ordinances
Credit Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Residents are trying to stop a Michigan energy company from building a massive gas plant in Rives Township, a rural area north of Jackson known for its horse farms.

Residents packed a planning commission meeting on Monday. They asked the commission to immediately recommend zoning ordinance changes to the township board to keep Novi Energy from building a 1,800 MW plant.

Meanwhile, the company has asked MISO, Michigan's grid operator, for an interconnection study, one of the first steps in the process of building a new plant.

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Cathy Jehnzen lives near the plant's proposed site.

"It seems like a raw deal," Jehnzen told the commission.  "They're promising a few jobs and a few bucks to pollute our air, and the river that I live on."

"I am 100% against this power plant," Chris Fauser said, "and this board right here has the means to help everybody in the township keep this big power plant out."

Rives Township residents at planning commission meeting to ask for zoning ordinance changes to keep out Novi Energy power plant
Credit Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Residents asked commission members to say whether they support the plant, but Planning Commission Chairman Roger DeCamp said later that the commission's job was to remain neutral.

The commission voted to ask the township's attorney to review a zoning ordinance language change submitted by Citizens to Keep Rives Rural.

Novi Energy did not return Michigan Radio's phone calls and emails. The company's website says the proposed plant will not impact local air quality.

In reality, gas plants emit nitrogen oxides, which can cause respiratory problems, and they also emit carbon dioxide, which causes global warming.

Corrections: The original story mistakenly characterized the size of the proposed plant as 1,400 MW.  It is 1,800 MW.  Also, the MISO study is an interconnection study, not a study to determine the need for the plant.