While Natural Gas Pipelines Tear through Michigan, MDEQ grants a place to burn– in Dearborn MI

On Friday April 13, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved the permit for DTE Energy to burn “natural gas”, also known as methane gas, in Dearborn Michigan. MDEQ approved the permit, despite the calls from over 100 residents asking MDEQ to deny the permit due to the impact on public health.

In a March community meeting residents, advocates, public health and legal experts met to discuss the permit. University of Michigan scholar Amy Schulz described the health impacts the pollution could have on children, even unborn children, by contaminants coming from the then proposed plant. Dearborn MI is already overburdened by toxic air pollution from dense concentrations of smokestacks and roadway pollution. Nick Leonard of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, described how DTE Energy did NOT explore the best pollution controls for protecting human health. Union of Concerned Scientist’s JC Kibbey described better, cheaper, cleaner solutions for Michigan through renewable energy and storage which can create MORE jobs that fossil fuels, pushing against the “rush to gas” narrative.

While natural gas pipelines tear through Michigan countrysides, new gas plants are the places where this will likely be burnt. In 2013, the NEXUS pipeline began developing plans for a 255-mile interstate natural gas transmission pipeline to deliver natural gas from eastern Ohio to southeastern Michigan.  A 50/50 partnership between DTE Energy and Enbridge, this pipeline will deliver methane gas. The project is expected to be completed in late this year.

Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition will be meeting with the Environmental Justice Liaison for MDEQ, Katie Kruse this Wed. April 18, 4pm-6pm at the Michigan State University Detroit Center, 3408 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201. This event is open to the public.

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