Comments on Michigan Air Contaminants, Updates on Renewable Energy

For Feb. 17, 2017

1 – All of Michigan’s electric providers met or exceeded the 10 percent renewable energy standard in 2015.

Michigan’s new renewable standard will increase to 12.5 percent in 2019 and 2020 and 15 percent in 2021.

A Michigan Public Service Commission annual report says meeting the 2015 standard can be credited with the development of more than 1,670 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy projects.

The average price of existing renewable energy contracts also is considerably less than was forecast in initial renewable energy plans.

The report notes that wind energy has been the primary source of new renewable energy in Michigan and about $3.3 billion has been invested to bring new renewable energy projects online through 2016.

The average cost per megawatt hour for renewable energy also has been substantially lower than the cost of a new coal-fired plant.

2 – The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is taking comments through April 14 for more than 1,200 health-based screening levels used in its Permit to Install Air Permitting Program.

The public comment period is the result of rule revisions that took effect in December and require all screening levels and their origins be posted for public review with comments accepted for 60 days.

The state’s air program aims to protect public health by regulating toxic chemicals in industrial air emissions.

michigan tree snow wind

Credit: GollyGforce

Under the new rules, the emission of a toxic air contaminant cannot result in a maximum ambient air concentration that exceeds a health-based screening level.

Previously, memos describing the reasons behind screening levels were only available upon request. Now they’re open for review and public comment through April 14.

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– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

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Relaxing Michigan Air Quality Rules, and Breathing in Saginaw Bay

The Environment Report, with Mr. Great Lakes (Jeff Kart). As heard in Bay City, Michigan, at 9 a.m. Fridays on Delta College Q-90.1 FM. The report for Oct. 11, 2013 —

1 – Michigan regulates more chemicals in its air than most other states.

snyder chamber mackinac

Gov. Snyder speaks at the 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference. Via Detroit Regional Chamber.

But that may change, under recommendations from an air quality committee. The proposal is being considered by Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration.

The move could save money, lure businesses, and has the support of industry groups. But some environmental groups are concerned about potential health impacts, according to The Detroit News.

The Final Report of the Michigan Air Toxics Workgroup recommends cutting the number of toxic air contaminants covered by emission rules by 37 percent, from more than 1,200 to 756.

Right now, Michigan air quality standards are stricter than federal standards, and those of nearby states.

The nine-person Workgroup included people from the Michigan Environmental Council, along with the Midland-based Dow Chemical Co. and DTE Energy.

Some members of the Workgroup say they don’t agree with all the recommendations.

The proposal wouldn’t remove any cancer-causing chemicals from the state regulatory list. But chemicals considered to be in the bottom quarter of toxicity levels would no longer be regulated.

— Read more at the DEQ website.

2 – What’s the quality of air in the Saginaw Bay region?

On Thursday morning, it was Moderate, or 74 on an Air Quality Index scale of 50-100.

A Moderate condition means that the air quality is “acceptable.”

But, “for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.”

Air quality in the Saginaw Bay region is negatively affected by fine particulates in the air, which can be inhaled deeply into people’s lungs and cause a variety of serious health problems.

These particles are produced when fuels such as coal, oil, diesel or wood are burned, in power plants, wood stoves and motor vehicles.

You can find air quality readings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at AirNow.gov.

Via AirNow, for Saginaw, Michigan.

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