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Supreme Court Ruling Won't Change Plans for Michigan Power Plants


The US Supreme Court has struck down an EPA rule that was challenged by the state of Michigan. 

The court says the agency has to consider the costs as it develops new energy policies.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for family budgets and job creation across the state of Michigan,”

State Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement released by his office.

“The court agreed that we can and must find a constructive balance in protecting the environment and continuing Michigan's economic comeback.”

Environmental groups blasted the ruling.

"The Supreme Court's decision is based on a technicality and does not change the fact that mercury, acid gases and other toxic hazards cause serious health problems for children, pregnant women and seniors,”

says Chris Kolb, president of the Michigan Environmental Council.

“It also doesn't change the EPA's legal mandate to regulate these dangerous chemicals.”

But utilities and state environmental regulators say the decision won’t change very much. Dan Bishop of Consumers Energy says the utility still plans to retire seven of its oldest coal-fired plants.

“The plants are being retired because of their age, but also because it’s not economic to continue to invest in these facilities,”

he says. Utilities are already converting to cleaner-burning natural gas because it’s cheaper and not so heavily regulated. Michigan also has its own mercury emission rule that’s very similar to the federal rule. Bishop says the debate in the Legislature over re-writing Michigan’s energy policy will have a bigger impact on the cost and availability of electricity.

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