Monroe, Michigan's Detroit Edison Power Plant  Visited By President George Bush September 15. 2003


President Bush Standing by Old Turbine Rotor

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Evening News photo by VALERIE TOBIAS


Evening News staff writer

President Bush visited Detroit Edison Co.'s massive Monroe Power Plant today to bolster his case for changing federal pollution rules.

After briefly touring the coal-burning plant on Lake Erie's shores, the president told a cheering throng of mainly utility workers that the plant's past struggles with federal rules while making improvements to the plant spurred his decision to streamline the regulations.

"The Monroe Power Plant is a living example of why we acted," he said.

He described how the utility first proposed modifying plant turbines in 1999 so they'd generate more power without increasing air pollution.

"Yet, when the company took the plan to the EPA, the first thing was they had to wait for a year for an answer. Then, when the answer did come, it was so complicated, Detroit Edison decided to delay part of the project to get further interpretation."

He said the company finally got the federal approval for the project five years after it was proposed. "That's inefficient," he said. "It doesn't make any sense."

President Bush was speaking specifically about a concept called "new source review," part of the federal Clean Air Act that requires old plants making large equipment changes to install new pollution controls unless they prove the change won't add to emissions.

"We've now simplified the rule, made it easier to understand and we trust the people in this plant to make the right decisions," he said to resounding applause.

"It makes sense to change these regulations - it makes sense for the workplace environment and to protect our air," he said.

The EPA decided to streamline the new source review rule about three weeks ago. The revision is expected to be published later this month and go into effect in some states, including Michigan, 60 days later.

But environmentalists contended the Bush Administration's changes involving new source review are a license for utilities to pollute.

"The changes are absolutely for the worst," said John Walke, director of the Clean Air Project for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "The only thing the Bush Administration has done is facilitate the ability of Detroit Edison to increase pollution by tens of thousands of tons without putting on new controls."

He said the use of the Monroe Power Plant as an example for easing federal clean air rules is "grossly misleading. Detroit Edison's Monroe plant is the ultimate red herring," Mr. Walke said. The EPA found that additional pollution controls were not required for that project."

Mr. Walke said the delay in the federal decision on the Monroe project was due, in part, because the utility did not provide the information the EPA needed in a timely fashion.

Two of the four turbines at the 3,000-megawatt power plant have been improved. The company said it expects to upgrade the other two soon.


President Bush Parses Detroit Edison and its Employees for Plant Improvements that Produces more Power with Less Fuel and Pollution

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Evening News photo by VALERIE TOBIAS


Edison Employees Share a Proud Moment

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Evening News photo by VALERIE TOBIAS



Photos Courtesy of The Monroe Evening News

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Evening News photo by VALERIE TOBIAS

Edison Plant Viewed from Lotus Island in Plumb Creek

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