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EPA Could Require Michigan Power Plants To Reduce Carbon Emissions More Than 30 Percent

DETROIT (WWJ) - The Environmental Protection Agency has announced a proposal that would set the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants. The plan would require Michigan to reduce carbon output by 31.5 percent from 2012 levels.

Local utility providers are reacting to the plan. DTE Energy spokesman Alejandro Bodipo-Memba said that they know there's a need to reduce greenhouse gases and they've been doing a lot of work in that area to date.

"Some of the plants that we're looking at retiring represent about a third of our coal-fired capacity in Michigan, in terms of our company, DTE," Bodipo-Memba said. "We expect to retire about a third of those -- that capacity -- by about 2025 and that capacity is going to be filled by additional wind investments and new natural gas-fired plants."

Bodipo-Memba said with all the investments they'll be making to cut emissions, they want to make sure all their customers still receive affordable bills.

"Last year, our absolute greenhouse emissions from fossil fuel were down about 14 percent from 2000," Bodipo-Memba said. "We continue to spend about $2 billion in emissions control equipment at our Monroe power plant, which is our largest generation facility in our fleet."

In Michigan, a group of health experts, business people and sportsmen gathered to discuss a more wide use of renewable energy to make the state more energy-efficient.

Brian Kozminski of Trout Unlimited believes carbon emissions have a direct impact on revenue in Michigan.

"Not only does carbon pollution directly damage our natural resources, it's also the leading cause of climate change," Kozminski said. "The warming temperatures cause damage to our forests, water shortages and other significant negative impacts on the natural environment.

"This means a devastating economic loss for tourism in many parts of the state."

Kozminski said that some fishing streams have dried up and disappeared in northern Michigan.

Registered nurse Peggy Coyle believes carbon pollution is dangerous to the public's health on several levels.

"Pollution from coal-fired power plants contaminates our air and water which puts the health of Michiganders at risk," Coyle said. "Breathing polluted air makes people sick. Carbon pollution is also the leading cause of climate change, which brings a host of additional dangers and health risks."

Existing State law requires that Michigan produce 10 percent of its power from wind and other renewable sources by the end of next year.

Under the EPA's proposed plan, carbon emissions would be reduced 30 percent overall by 2030.

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