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DTE, EPA, Sierra Club settlement results in cash and closed coal-burning power plants

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

DTE Energy, the EPA, and the Sierra Club have an agreement that ends a ten year old dispute about some changes the power company made to its Monroe power plant. As part of the deal, DTE will give some Wayne County communities $7.5 million dollars.

“This most importantly is going to make a huge difference for the most disproportionately impacted communities in Michigan. And that’s River Rouge, Ecorse, and 48217. For folks who aren’t familiar, this is the third most toxic zip code in the country and it’s the most polluted area in Michigan right now,” said Mike Berkowitz with the Sierra Club.

Some of the money will go to ways to reduce pollution and increase energy efficiency.

“This settlement is going to drive five-and-a-half million dollars towards making school buses in the area electric and more efficient so that there’s less air pollution coming out there. It’s going to drive two million dollars directly toward community environmental pollution mitigation projects in the community,” Berkowitz explained.

In a statement, DTE says those projects will likely be an urban solar array, urban foresting and farming, wildlife restoration, education programs, and energy reduction initiatives.

The agreement also requires DTE to shut down three coal-burning power plants located in River Rouge, St. Clair, and Trenton by the end of 2022.  DTE says it already planned to close those plants.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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