Mich. AG asked for opinion on Granholm's energy policy

Chris Rizo Feb. 6, 2009, 2:42am

Kevin Elsenheimer (R)

Mike Cox (R)

LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline)-Two Republican state lawmakers have asked Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox for his opinion on a directive issued by Gov. Jennifer Granholm affecting new coal-fired power plants.

House Minority Leader Kevin Elsenheimer, R-Bellaire, and Rep. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, asked the Republican AG to issue opinion on the legality of an executive directive the Democratic governor issued earlier this week.

"The governor's directive goes too far and it violates a law she just signed creating a fair and thorough process for reviewing coal-fired plant applications," Elsenheimer said. "The ironic thing about the governor's directive is that it halts new clean-coal technology power plants that were specifically designed to replace higher polluting plants currently in operation."

As part of her effort to boost renewable energy, Granholm's order calls for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to consider the need for additional electricity generation when evaluating permits for new coal plants.

She specifically wants officials to consider all the "feasible and prudent" energy alternatives than the proposed plant.

Granholm said in her order that the U.S. Clean Air Act gives the state Department of Environmental Quality discretion to consider alternatives to proposed sources of air emissions.

There are five pending permits for coal-fired power plants in Michigan, which are all affected by the governor's directive.

Elsenheimer said the governor's directive will have a chilling effect on Michigan's already struggling economy, noting that each proposed new coal-fired plant provides an estimated 1,500 jobs.

"The governor has taken the approach that coal is a four-letter word that shouldn't be used any more when the reality is that coal remains the current best answer for the reliable, affordable energy Michigan needs now," Elsenheimer said. "New power plants are cleaner, more efficient and mean good-pay jobs at a time when Michigan needs jobs and investment more than anything else."

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

More News