The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, February 11, 2011

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman



New life for Wolverine plant

Construction of a 600 megawatt coal-fired power plant by Wolverine Power Cooperative still may not happen – but last week a judge kept hope alive.

Last May the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment denied a permit application for the $1 billion plant on the grounds that the energy it would create is not necessary and could be obtained by other sources. Higher rates for Wolverine’s electric customers were also cited as a factor, which the utility denied would happen. Tremendous pressure had been put on then-Gov. Granholm to deny the permit by environmentalists concerned about pollution from the plant.

Last week Missaukee County Circuit Court Judge William Fagermann ruled on a petition filed by Wolverine in Missaukee County Circuit Court for reversal of the state’s denial of the air quality permit for the “Wolverine Clean Energy Venture Power Plant.”

Wolverine asked the court to reverse the denial and return the permit application to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment for reconsideration. That’s what the judge did – he said the state’s newly renamed Department of Environmental Quality must reconsider Wolverine’s application and provide a response within 60 days. The judge sent it back to the state on the grounds that the DNRE overstepped its bounds with its finding that there wasn’t sufficient customer demand to justify the new power source.

Wolverine has said it is now reviewing its options, although they said in the past, even with all state approvals, they would still need to study the economic feasibility of constructing the plant.

The original proposal for the plant would have included a unique carbon dioxide sequestration system. The system would have captured polluting greenhouse gases from the plant and enabled the plant to pump and store the gases underground.

Safety classes available in 2011

The Michigan Construction Trades Safety Institute provides initial and refresher first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, automated external defibrillator and blood-borne/airborne pathogens training for building trades workers.

Classes are upcoming. Visit their web site to see the 2011 class schedule at www.mctsi.org. Under “Members,” the site lists local unions and contractors that participate with the MCTSI.